In honor of National Woman’s History Month, we are featuring the Best Women Run businesses across the country. According to the Guidant Financial report on Women in Business Trends 2018, there’s been an 18 percent increase in female-owned businesses since 2017. That’s a leap. It’s not surprising female-led businesses are thriving — 56% of women go into entrepreneurship because they are passionate about their product and strategy. According to the report, women were also 16% more likely than male respondents to have earned a post-high school education. For a more in depth look at the (female-led) numbers, check out this Fortune article.
Considering these facts, it’s no wonder that women are opening their own businesses (get it, WOMEN!) and doing a kick-ass job at it. From food to fine jewelry to designer clothing and handmade textiles, these female business owners are killing it. And we, as the saying goes, are loving it.
Run This Town
Check out a few of our national local finds — and prepare to be blown away.
Block Shop– An entirely female-run textile studio with locations in LA and Jaipur, this company is run by two sisters, Hopie and Lily Stockman. After receiving their prestigious educations in fine art and business and working as professionals for a while, they set out to create an entirely female-run, sustainable business that had a solid social impact and a low carbon footprint. Their goal was to create heirloom textiles and custom design projects while also benefiting the women of Bagru, India. Their wares (all handmade) include notecards, scarves, woodblock paper prints, quilts, pillows, table linens and rugs. Oh, and check this out: 5 percent of all annual revenue goes directly to the Bagru Women’s Empowerment Program — which focuses on education, healthcare and skills training for the local female population. Now that’s some fine art.
Avenue Boutique in Tucson is owned by Alexis Mosij, and just about epitomizes the word ‘cool’. Filled with vintage finds (labeled, simply ‘found’), antique furniture, handmade jewelry and known clothing brands such as Ace and Jig, it’s clear that Mosij puts much time, effort and talent into hand picking her wares, creating an aesthetic so perfectly in tune with itself that the whole thing looks like an effortlessly curated fashion exhibit. Just go.
Bona Drag, based in Milwaukee, opened its doors in 2006 with Heather Wojner leading the way. Soon after came Hannah Baird, Traci Bunkelman and Sarah Wojner. From their website:
“The term Bona Drag means “nice outfit” in polari, a secret language used by the gay culture in London during the 1960’s. The phrase was introduced to us by Morrissey and encapsulates the
intention of the store. A shared camaraderie for those of us who seek out unique aesthetics and are fascinated by the secret language of style.” We’d visit the store based on that quote alone, but if you’re on a hunt for clothing and not just ambience and spirit, you’re in luck. Bona Drag carries labels like Mara Hoffman, Apiece Apart (swoon!), and Zimmermann. On Black Friday, they donate 5 percent of each sale to a nonprofit of the customer’s choice, either the Jane Goodall Institute or Planned Parenthood.
Dinette, now a Pittsburgh fine (but never stodgy) dining staple, began its journey in 2008 and has, according to Thrillist, put the town of East Liberty “back on Pittsburgh’s culinary map”. Since then, there has been a complete revival of the area, and a number of lofts, restaurants and businesses have popped up. Sonja Finn, Dinette owner and chef, has since opened a restaurant at the Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History and was voted in as a semi-finalist two years running for the James Beard “Rising Star” award (in 2009 and 2010), among other nominations. Casual yet elegant, the food is excellent — thoughtfully and sustainably prepared (Finn uses a rooftop garden to grow many of her ingredients), making this a neighborhood (and citywide) delight.
Glossier, the beauty brand created and lead by Emily Weiss, has quickly gained cult status. Although they began all of their marketing and product sales online and via social media, they now have a flagship showroom in Manhattan with all of the products right there to see, feel and try. With a host of one-step, easy-to-use products and a fantastic (and we mean truly fabulous) blog called Into the Gloss, Weiss is changing the face of product marketing, one IG post at a time. And we couldn’t be more thrilled. Their Milky Jelly Cleanser will remove every single bit of eye makeup while staying gentle, and the cloud paints (blush) will give you a dewy and rosy glow (youth, anyone?).
Female Owned Businesses: A Growing Trend
Seems as though females become empowered by other females, based on the number of companies we came across that were either co-owned (with other females) or co-run. And these aren’t just brick and mortar shops with a few racks of clothing in them — they are well thought-out, contemplative, effective and sustainable business models with a penchant for giving back to causes and the female community at large. The best we consumers can do is to support female-run businesses in every way — spreading the good word by mouth, shopping in their online stores, or visiting their boutiques, showrooms and restaurants when we’re in the neighborhood. Do good. Shop (Female)Hood. It’s that simple.