In honor of International Women’s Day, I wanted to showcase some female-founded brands. I’ve tried to take you along with me as I build Corporate Catwalk whether it was our crowdfunding campaign or sharing the normal day to day stuff. Starting and running a company has always been a dream of mine. I not only wanted to make my mark but I also wanted to empower other women to make theirs too. Everyone talks about the hurdles (I’ve had my own fair share) but I want to show you the bigger picture too.
According to the 2019 State of Women-Owned Businesses report, women-owned businesses increased by 21% in the last 5 years while all businesses only saw an increase of 9%. Women-owned businesses also saw a total employment increase of 8% with the number for all businesses at just 1.8%. Here are just some of the female-founded brands making a difference in the marketplace.
Founders: Sarah LaFleur, Miyako Nakamura, and Narie Foster
What do you get when you combine a background in private equities with the former head designer for Zac Posen along with a would-be engineer? M.M. LaFleur launched in 2011 with the mission to “take the work out of dressing for work.” The brand has flourished and become the go-to for those seeking quality, sophisticated, stylish workwear. You can see how I styled some of their pieces here. The brand has also made waves with huge initiatives such as Ready to Run. It’s a complimentary clothing loan program for women running for office at federal, state or local levels.
Founder: Ariel Kaye
Considering we spend close to one-third of the day in our beds what we put on them is pretty important. Ariel Kaye understood this and saw a gap in the market for quality, affordable, easy to shop options. Out of an adorable sunny bungalow in Venice Beach, CA Parachute was born. Since it’s launch in 2014, Parachute now offers more items for the home and has a few brick and mortar locations. I was first introduced to Parachute after staying the night at a friend’s. The next day I made my first purchase.
Founders: Karla Gallardo and Shilpa Shah
If you’re drawn to the idea of intentional buying and timeless go with everything pieces for years to come, then Cuyana is the brand you need to know. It was founded in 2011 with the intention of selling direct to consumer handmade luxury goods using a sustainable supply chain. Their philosophy centers around owning “fewer, better things.” Shilpa met Karla when she was applying to business school. Together they went on to form a company that would change the way women view luxury and the way we cultivate our closets.
Founder: Kendra Scott
Kendra Scott designed her first collection 18 years ago. She started with a $500 project based out of a spare bedroom and her company is now valued at more than $1 billion. There is a huge emphasis on philanthropy. Through the Kendra Gives Back program, they were able to partner with over 6,800 local causes in 2019. They also donated more than 84,000 pieces of jewelry to organizations and individuals in need. The company is committed to female empowerment with the launch of Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute in partnership with UT Austin. The jewelry is beautiful as you can see here and the mission is powerful.
Founder: Kathleen Pagan
Endlessly Elated, a self-described speakeasy of homewares is a brand you need to keep on your radar. Kathleen believes in providing products where your design and ethical standards can align. Living in NYC, Matt and I are very aware of what we bring home. Space is at a premium. We want to feel good about the products that come through the door. If you’re looking for thoughtful, curated, handcrafted products for your home, then sign up here for updates.
What are some of the female-founded brands you support?