In Her Words: Laura Clise of Intentionalist

The In Her Words Series is meant to celebrate the fortitude and dedication shown by BIWOC and WOC entrepreneurs through a series of interviews.

Laura Clise is the founder of Intentionalist.

Laura Clise, founder of Intentionalist, believes that where we spend our money matters (check out her recommended five ways to help small businesses here). Laura and her team have been doing incredible work to increase transparency, awareness of, and support for small businesses, encouraging us to #spendlikeitmatters.

Using, you can search up businesses (Black-owned, Minority-owned, Native-owned, LGBTQ-owned, and more) across the US to suit your small-business needs (bakeries, restaurants, catering, spas, shopping, you name it!) Shop small and support the businesses that make your community unique!

1. Please introduce yourself. Who is the real Laura? What is the mission behind Intentionalist?

Hi there, I’m Laura Clise, my pronouns are she/her, and I’m a passionate, goofy, driven, big-hearted, sensitive, persistent (my wife might say “stubborn”), extroverted, and punny social impact instigator. At Intentionalist we believe that where we spend our money matters, and that everyday decisions about where we eat, drink, and shop are an opportunity to connect with and support the small businesses at the heart of our communities. 

2. Talk us through your journey in creating Intentionalist. What have you learned? What keeps you motivated to continue doing the work?

The idea for Intentionalist was first sparked back in 2012 when I was traveling in Southeast Asia and wanted to be intentional about supporting local businesses. In the years that followed I grew increasingly frustrated by how hard it was to find information about small businesses that focused on the people and stories behind them.

Since founding Intentionalist, I have learned and experienced the many ways that small businesses are so much more than the products and services they sell. Throughout 2020, I have been inspired by small business owners who have prioritized serving members of the community most in need, even as their businesses have faced unprecedented challenges and an uncertain future. I am motivated by the fact that small business owners and community members alike want a future where brick and mortar small businesses thrive as part of a more connected, equitable economy. We just need the tools and information at our fingertips – that’s where Intentionalist comes in! 

3. What are the key gaps that you see in the small business market? How can people help support small businesses and purchase with intention?

While so many small businesses have already shuttered due to the pandemic and many more hang in the balance, we as consumers are part of the solution. If everyone, nationally, who participated in small business spent an additional $100 over the course of 2021, our cumulative impact would be more than fifty billion dollars.

Our culture seems to perpetuate a hurried existence, where we often find ourselves on autopilot, hurrying from here to there. Despite the challenges of juggling “all the things” I would encourage folks to periodically take a moment to #BeIntentional and #SpendLikeItMatters, because the small businesses we love won’t survive without our support.

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