When Glossier founder Emily Weiss set out to raise money to launch the cult beauty brand, only one venture capitalist was interested: Kirsten Green of Forerunner Ventures. You could say it was a coincidence, but really, it’s that women instinctively know what women want.
For years, we’ve had to buy products and use services that have been created for us by men. Times are changing – women now make up 40% of new entrepreneurs in the United States, while in Australia, one in four startups is founded by a woman – but there’s still plenty of room for growth. Especially when you consider statistics that suggest women represent the second largest economy in the world.
So today – in our first annual Powered by Women list – we celebrate ten companies created by women, for women. These creative and disruptive startups are shaking up industries long overdue for a women-powered shakeup and creating must-have products along the way. Take it from us.
Powered by: Katrina Lake
Harvard Business School graduate Katrina Lake launched Stitch Fix, a subscription-based fashion startup, in 2011. When customers sign up to Stitch Fix, they are asked to fill out a questionnaire about their style and pay a $20 styling fee upfront. This is where Stitch Fix’s magic begins. The customer will receive an outfit that has been picked specially for them by human stylists with the help of data science. (Think machine learning, artificial intelligence, and so on.) If a customer likes their outfit enough to keep it, they pay for the clothes – and clearly, many do. Last year, when the company went public, it was valued at $1.4 billion.
Powered by: Emily Weiss
In 2007, Emily Weiss was the Teen Vogue super-intern who showed up Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port on MTV’s The Hills. Fast forward ten years, Weiss is at the helm of Glossier, the $34 million cult beauty brand worn by Beyoncé and beloved by women everywhere. But how do you disrupt an industry long dominated by big companies such as Estée Lauder and L’Oréal? Easy. You don’t just put the customer first; you also bring the customer in. Everything Glossier does is built on consumer feedback, which Weiss first mined using Into the Gloss, the beauty blog she built back in 2010. This innovative two-way conversation between brand and buyer has given the world such gems as Boy Brow, Balm Dotcom lip balm, and most recently, Glossier You, a fragrance.
Powered by: Ty Haney
Growing up in beautiful Boulder, Colorado, gave Ty Haney, a self-described tomboy, plenty of space to be active; she ran, played basketball, rode horses. She did things. And now #doingthings is the hashtag and unofficial mantra of her technical apparel company Outdoor Voices. But what is technical apparel, exactly? What it’s not is your average activewear. Outdoor Voices creates clothing – leggings, hoodies, sports bras – designed for active, everyday lives. For people who are human, not superhuman, as the OV website states. And Outdoor Voices doesn’t just talk the talk. The company hosts regular events across America that give customers the chance to get moving, have some fun with friends, and do some things.
Powered by: Ariel Kaye
Ariel Kaye was shopping for bedding in 2012 when she cast her mind back. A few years earlier, she had checked into a hotel on the Amalfi Coast in Italy and sunk into the “softest, most comfortable bedding.” When she couldn’t find a similar product in America, she decided to create it for herself. Parachute Home was born. While the brand wasn’t built specifically with women in mind, Kaye’s mission is to inspire a community around sleep and wellness. Given that studies have shown 18% of women suffer from poor sleep compared to 8% of men, a community built around sleep is just what women need.
Leandra Medine (left) and Elaine Welteroth (right) speaking at the Girlboss Rally.
Powered by: Sophia Amoruso
Back in 2006, Sophia Amoruso grew her small eBay store into the retail behemoth Nasty Gal, which became an $85 million company before collapsing amid financial issues in 2016. But by then, Amoruso was no stranger to hustling. She quickly turned around to launch her next startup, Girlboss, which was born from her best-selling book of the same name. Girlboss is a multimedia company and community rallying women to redefine success on their terms. With events, podcasts, content, video, and products to its name, Girlboss is quickly figuring out how to capture the attention of young, entrepreneurial women.
Powered by: Georgina Gooley and Jason Bravman
We all know about the “pink tax,” the extra amount women are charged for products, even when said products are nearly identical to those made for men. The pink tax often applies to women’s personal care items such as razors. And Billie, a relatively new startup, is not having a bar of it. Billie uses a subscription model to sell shaving products to women at steep discounts. The products are priced in line with men’s razor subscriptions, and you could see a discount of up to 50% off regular women’s shaving products. If Billie’s female-first ethos isn’t already obvious, put this in your pipe and smoke it: the company has pledged to donate 1% of all revenue to women’s causes around the world.
Powered by: Kat Schneider
In one way, Kat Schneider is your typical entrepreneur. When she couldn’t find the product she wanted – a prenatal vitamin with ingredients she could trust – she decided to build her own. In many other ways, Schneider is not your typical entrepreneur. With Ritual, which has raised more than $15 million in funding, Schneider has turned the vitamin industry on its head. The company ships a supply of Essential for Women, a daily vitamin, to your doorstep. The product’s promise is simple: it contains the nine essential ingredients most women don’t get enough of, and every ingredient can be traced back to its source. Ritual’s transparency sets it apart as a company, and Schneider apart as an entrepreneur, in an industry often cloaked in mystery.
Powered by: Christina Mercando d’Avignon
When Christina Mercando d’Avignon realised the wearable tech industry was about to hit the bigtime, she couldn’t shake the feeling she needed to be part of it. So, she created Ringly, a smart jewellery startup. Ringly makes glam bracelets and rings that do everything from help women stay active to help women stay mindful. Your Ringly product can guide you through a meditation, prompt you to practice breathing exercises, notify you when you have a meeting, send text alerts, and track your daily steps. Even better, Ringly allows you to stash your phone in your handbag and focus only on what matters through the day.
The Flex Company
Powered by: Lauren Schulte
If ever there was an industry that needed to be powered by women, it would be feminine hygiene. Thankfully, Lauren Schulte is helping to turn the industry on its head. The Flex Company offers women a body-safe tampon alternative that can last up to 12 hours. The company’s first product is Flex, a flexible disc that comfortably forms to the shape of your body. This means you can go to meetings, swim, do yoga, sleep – in fact, the idea of Flex is to stop letting your period get in the way of your life. The disc can even alleviate cramping. For now, Flex can be shipped to the United States and the United Kingdom, but more destinations are coming soon.
Powered by: Zoe Balaconis, Marybeth Campeau, Jessica C. Malordy and Sarah Connette
At most newsstands, you’ll find the outdoor magazines in the men’s section. But Zoe Balaconis, Marybeth Campeau and Jessica C. Malordy knew there was a market for outdoor and adventure content for women, so they launched a magazine of their own: Misadventures. Produced twice-yearly, Misadventures “champions women who embrace creativity, take risks, and go out and beyond.” In the latest issue, readers were treated to an interview with conservationist and wildlife photographer Cristina Mittermeier, a photo essay on the women’s surf community in Northern Canada, and camping recipes. Good news: Misadventures is just getting started.
Get the scoop, straight from Stylish 365: