Patrice Banks is disrupting the automotive industry with her business, Girls Auto Clinic. It is a one-stop-shop where customers can get their car fixed, receive quality education on what it needs, and get a manicure while they wait. Eight years ago, Banks was inspired to create a change in the automotive industry after facing years of uncertainty and disrespect when dealing with her car. She called herself an “auto airhead” with no clue how cars work.
One day she made a joke on social media that confirmed her beliefs that the auto world wasn’t a safe space for women.
“My car needs an oil change, but I am going to get a mani-pedi instead,” she wrote on her social media, and with it came attacks from men. They commented that she would break down on the side of the road and said other disparaging things about women and cars. However, women came to her defense, reminding her if she did break down, at least she’d look good with her hands and feet done.
At that point, she decided to find a woman mechanic, but she couldn’t find anyone. The engineer chose to go back to school in 2012 for automotive technology. Now, her vision is to educate and empower women about cars.
Girls Auto Clinic opened in 2017 and has been providing women with the technical skills they need and the peace of mind they craved when getting their car serviced. Banks also helps women buy cars. That same year, Banks published the Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide, a book that educated and encouraged woman about whats happening under the hood of their cars. She said her customers often felt “misunderstood, mistreated, disrespected” during their car search, so she began consulting women in new and used car buying.
At the Girls Auto Clinic, 75 percent of the clients and the majority of the workers are women. Their paid services include free monthly workshops to the public, where anyone can park their cars in the garage and learn how to check and maintain everything from oil to brakes to tires by themselves. Banks teaches in red, grease-stained heels – the shop’s logo – and finds fun ways to remember essential maintenance tips such as friction is bad and lubrication is good. The engineer turned auto mechanic’s vision of woman empowerment is displayed every day at work.
News Source: BOTWC / Written Credits: BOTWC