Why does it matter if we seek out and buy from women-owned businesses? Well, for one, women are reimaging the world in a way that works for all of us…um, well, women. Women are creating the products and services that meet our needs because they are filling gaps in their own day-to-day lives. That’s why we often marvel at a new discovery thinking ‘how does this brand just get me?” Well it’s because intrepid female entrepreneurs are creating what they need and we benefit. Unfortunately, it’s often an uphill battle to get the funding required to bring an idea to the masses and that’s where we need to help one another.
Last week we attended an event with a panel discussion hosted by LLShe; an initiative teaming up Refinery29 with advertising agency Berlin Cameron. The objective of LLShe is to bring to light and support women-owned businesses. And why? Well it’s good business. According to LLShe, 83% of women want to buy products from companies that are founded by women but 62% don’t know where to find them.
It’s really that simple, we know women create kick ass products but are often underfunded with little opportunity for discovery via expensive marketing channels. According to 2018 study commissioned by American Express (‘State of Women-Owned Businesses’ Report), women started an average of 1,821 new businesses per day in the U.S. between 2017 and 2018.
Here are ways you can help and some of our favorite women-owned brands to get you started:
How to Help: Spread the Word
It’s often these women-owned businesses that have us squealing for joy and telling ten friends about when we find them. But know that this tell-a-friend power that we have is more potent than just fun banter. We forget that crowd-sourcing influence is the way that most successful brands grow; and by spreading the word you are flexing a valuable muscle. So use that power…
Informally, you could gather friends for an event and offer to each bring a business owner to highlight/sell/talk about her business. Imagine if we all brought one business owner and five friends to an event with five others. You can do the math and see how it works. And even more formally, you can support organizations such as SheEO (which we wrote about recently) who financially support female entrepreneurs.
How to Help: Get Searching for Female Entrepreneurs
There are increasingly sites that support women-owned businesses. Content sites (like us!), news outlets, women’s content portals such as refinery29 or Popsugar and so on. Take the time to read, search, make note of what piques your interest and get shopping.
Getting Started: Our Favorite Women-Owned Businesses
We’ll help you out by getting started with a few of our favorite women-owned businesses. It’s also one of the reason that we started FromAtoSHE. There are so many ideas; and overflowing innovation. There is so much to celebrate and enjoy and we need each other to bring it to light. So take a look at the below to get started on your shopping; email us your suggestions; and come back frequently to our site to explore more companies in different industries and all run by female entrepreneurs.
As is often our path to discovery, we see a product (in this case the most versatile, fun bags) we buy, we buy more, we seek out owner, we spread the word! ANDI founder Andrea Weinberg has one of those stories that sounds straight-forward: woman living her life sees gap in market for a versatile bag and creates something that goes viral. But Andrea’s story is so much more and it’s the genius, craftmanship, hard-work, commitment to community and to the planet (Andi participates in the 1% for the planet initiative). And she’s an awesome person to boot as well.
Loskey founder Lori Cunningham is also a women-owned business leader who saw an opportunity to close gap that she saw in the market; and did it after and long and impressive career in digital marketing. Loskey-brand tee shirts are made from GOTS-certified organic cotton; and packaged sustainably & beautifully. Loskey’s mission is the empowerment of women to eradicate poverty and drive gender equality & inclusive economic growth. While sounding very lofty and ambitious Lori has seamlessly created a business that supports at-risk women living in Delhi & handloom artisans in rural India. She ensures workers are treated with respect, paid a living wage and work standard hours in safe environment. And you know what – the tee shirts are perfect. You can look good and feel good as a result.
For Sawako, running a helmet company is not about telling you to wear a helmet. It’s about empowering you to make choices and stay true to yourself. Sawako helmets make you feel capable—a confidence that is not rooted in fear, but based on fashion, style and beauty. A trained architect, Sawako Furuno, shows her passion for detail and structure in every helmet she sells. Sawako was a first mover in the market for fashion helmets and you an see her designs worn by celebrities (and even members of the British Royal Family). She’s also another women we have gotten to know and continue to cheer on.
When we attended the LLShe ‘Shopsgiving’ event (again a fantastic way to spread the news about women-owned brands) we met Erin Carpenter, founder of Nude Barre. The brand are eco-friendly intimates made in 12 shades of nude to match every skin tone. The products are durable enough for active women (and many professional dancers will tell you so) & stylish enough for everyday fashion. Erin’s business is a good reminder of how female entrepreneurs are breaking the bold and reimaging the world.
At the SheLLC event we also met Ariane Gold; owner and designer of goldno.8. Ariane has worked for some of the biggest names in the fashion industry for over 20 years including Ralph Lauren, TSE, Catherine Malandrino and Isaac Mizrahi – and the experience shows. Going back to the idea that products can produce squeals of glee we were so excited about Ariane’s products. The bags are reversible and customizable. There are buttons, snaps, inserts to keep it fresh season after season. You can use for yourself and change and share with your kids. The bags are AMAZING. See for yourself here.