I remember my interview with designer Rebecca Minkoff, a few years ago. We spoke about how “a candle doesn’t lose its flame by lighting another” and how that trickles down into supporting woman owned businesses. Because, why not?
I guarantee that more heart, grit, sweat and tears went, and continue to go, into female-owned businesses. Because most women owners are in business for more than just making a buck (or several bucks, as the case may be!). Every time I sit down for a coffee meet-up or toast bubbly with a female owner the message is usually the same; service. Providing a solution and wanting to help others and/or provide for a greater cause that’s bigger than us.
Below are just a few businesses and brands that should be on your radar. Their stories of perseverance, overcoming doubt, or being first-generation business owners may make you want to grab a box of tissues for all the good feels. You should definitely support these women owned businesses!
You might also like:
- Setting Intentions as a High-Impact Leader
- The Top 20 Business Podcasts for Women
- Women to Watch Spotlights
Wood Underwear is the only men’s underwear and lounge brand founded and owned by a woman. Meet Terresa Zimmerman who knows how hard it is (pun intended) and that it takes serious balls to launch a brand in a male-dominated industry. But, that hasn’t stopped her! In 2022, Wood Underwear celebrated their 10 year anniversary and we don’t see them stopping any time soon.
Tayo Ishola of I Am Eido and The Wonder Woman Initiative is a Fashion & Social Entrepreneur. Nigerian-born and raised, Tayo got introduced to the fashion industry through pageantry in her early teens. She was scouted by a modeling agency based in South Africa at age 16. From Nigeria to South Africa to China to New York and eventually to Miami, fashion was an open door that birthed a renewed sense of purpose for her. This new sense of purpose enabled her to grow with an intense passion for creativity and a heart that seeks to marry the arts with humanitarianism.
In 2015, Tayo founded the swim and resort wear brand called Eido Swimwear (now I Am Eido). ‘Eido’ is an ancient Greek word that means to be aware, discerning or perceptive. The inspiration for the name came as a result of her encounters with people she believes were discerning enough to help her pivot through challenges at specific make-or-break moments. The brand opened doors to various avenues for life-changing conversations to happen, which inspired the humanitarian efforts of the brand.
Amanda B. Coleman-Phelps is the first female owner and CEO at Nelson Coleman Jewelers, a sixth-generation family-owned jewelry store. She wears lots of hats at Nelson Coleman, including chief of sales, chief team officer, chief accountability strategist and is also in charge of communication. Amanda knows the jewelry business well, having started with the company at age 23, she is also a graduate gemologist and certified gemologist appraiser. With retail locations in Maryland and Virginia, Nelson Coleman Jewelers specializes in bridal, estate and vintage jewelry, diamond and color stone fashion, sterling silver, and more. In 2019, they created The Chris Coleman Enrichment Program, donating up to 10% of the retail purchase towards an organization or charity of each customer’s choice.
Amy Tang, owner of Sir Owlverick’s Coffee, is a third-generation coffee roaster and the first female business owner in her family. After spending 12 years in the tech industry, Amy Tang left her corporate life to pursue her family roasting legacy. In 2017, Amy started Sir Owlverick’s to make the smoothest coffee possible, regardless of whether it was a light, medium or dark roast. Amy conceptualized the word “Owlverick” as a combination of two symbolic animals including a thoughtful Owl and a passionate and driven Maverick horse. The company motto is “Think like an Owl, Move like a Maverick.” It serves as a reminder to stay driven to achieve lofty goals but also to be thoughtful along the way.
Dr. Stefani Kappel is a board-certified and double fellowship-trained cosmetic dermatologist, laser specialist and a Mohs Micrographic dermatological surgeon. She was a professor of dermatology at UCLA where she completed her dermatology residency and graduated top of her class. With over 15 years practicing cosmetic dermatology and laser surgery, she owns a successful cosmetic dermatology clinic, Stefani Kappel MD, Inc. in Newport Beach, CA. Stefani is also the founder of her skincare line MDAiRE, which recently launched in 2022. She is a mother of two sons and resides in Southern California with her family. Dr. Kappel provides free dermatological answers and medical industry news, as well as free insightsto her 23,700 YouTube channel subscribers. She is leading the latest trend in skincare technology with microcoring versus microneedling and facelifts.
Michelle Scheumeister of PhilanthroBee passion for animals and the environment started as a young woman. She found love in experimenting with old recipes handed down from generation to generation. “I used these recipes to heal our animals’ ailments, my own ailments, as well as others’ ailments; from creating drawing salves to pull abscessed splinters from our farm animals’ extremities to using a bee’s propolis spray on my chickens’ legs when they got mites; I crafted natural recipes that were potent and effective.” There are zero “nasties” in PhilanthroBee®️ products—no synthetic additives, no nasty preservatives, toxins, or pesticides. You can feel at peace about your skincare, knowing there is absolutely nothing but powerful RAW goodness inside.
Founded by Alisha Navarro, 2 Hounds Designs is made in the USA. Their biggest seller is the Freedom No-Pull harness which is a patented harness design that helps dogs and their humans enjoy their walks together. The harness has two points of contact for better communication with your dog. It also includes a Swiss Velvet lining to help protect the dog’s skin and prevent rubbing and chafing.
“2 Hounds Design was started in 2003 in my spare bedroom. At the time, I had 2 retired racing greyhounds, named Iceman and Paradise. I had made a few collars for my own dogs – people liked them and wanted to buy them, so I made a few and put them up on eBay. Shortly after, we moved into our first small dedicated manufacturing space in 2009. Then we went on to grow into a multi-million dollar company with around 50 employees. We are currently working from our custom built 20,000 square foot manufacturing facility.”
Vienne Cheung Brown is the founder of VienneMilano, a luxury hosiery brand dedicated to thigh-high stockings made in Italy. Founded in 2011, Vienne transitioned her previous work in high-tech product management to designing, distributing, and managing a fashion e-commerce brand. Today, VienneMilano has helped redefine thigh highs as a fashion category. Her hosiery collection offers one of the world’s most extensive varieties of thigh-high stockings consisting of classic styles, fashion-forward pieces, skin tone-matching sheers, eco-friendly stockings, plus sizes, and much more. The brand has expanded from being sold exclusively from VienneMilano.com to distributing to many online distribution channels and brick-and-mortar outlets. VienneMilano has also been featured in Vogue, Marie Claire, Elle, FOX, NBC. Her products have been a popular accessory for celebrities and magazines in photo shoots across the world.
Jennifer Berson is the President & Founder of Jeneration PR, an award-winning Public Relations & Social Media Marketing firm specializing in promoting beauty, baby & lifestyle brands. Jen’s retainer clients range from small and mid-sized brands to multi-billion dollar publicly traded companies, and everything in between. “I’ve built a career I love where I work with clients who inspire me while also being a present and involved mother to my two sons. With Jeneration Academy, I want to help other ambitious women achieve this for themselves. It’s possible to build a satisfying, high-powered career that doesn’t require the sacrifice of personal and family time — I’ve done it!”
Vee Rivera, Teen Mom regular and Founder of Vivid Belleza, is a proud Latina from Delaware. She embarked on her entertainment journey via MTV’s Teen Mom 2, co-starring alongside her husband Jo Rivera. In 2017 Vee began her influencer career as a beauty guru quickly growing her community of glam-loving fans. She started Vivid Belleza and has continued to inspire women, particularly moms, in helping tackle their goals with style and passion, showing women they can truly have it all.
Here at Sass, we love to support women owned business as much as possible and we hope you do too! Are you a female founder with an inspiring story? Let us know! Or, submit a Woman to Watch nomination.
Thinking about starting your own company? What are you waiting for? If you want to start your own business; take Nike’s advice and just do it. No, it’s not going to be easy and yes, it’ll challenge you. But in the end, it’ll all all worth it knowing that you did something you love! Need some advice on starting a business? Check out all our female entrepreneur resources here!
Serial entrepreneur, celebrity publicist, published author, swimwear designer, and creative director. Currently resides in the Queen City with her two rescue fur babies indulging in coffee, a good book, and Marvel movies.