Image Credit: Our Place
Today, we’ll spare you. Unlike the dozen plus other publications writing pieces on “female founders you should support today and always” this International Women’s Day, we walk the walk. No shade, but we talk about female founders all year long (and have here) because, despite women coming up with just as many business ideas as men, all-women teams received only 1.9% of all venture capital available last year. Something’s gotta give.
But hey, it’s a holiday meant to empower women, so we’ll share the love rather than the frustrating inequality in the brand space. We’re always discovering new #girlbosses to support—and yes, we mean #girlboss genuinely—but here are some of our newest favorite women to champion across style, tech, home, food & beverage, and more.
This hair care brand is both female- and immigrant-owned (and celeb-loved to boot.) Scalp care as an industry has grown exponentially in the past year or so as beauty brands realized that it served as the foundation for healthy, shining hair—and who knows that better than women? As an adventurer myself, I find that a hair mask is the best way to fix my dry, damaged strands after days of sun and ocean damage (and helmet hair.) As “skincare for your scalp,” Act+Acre disrupted the hair care industry with the world’s first patented Cold Processed® and plant-based formulas.
After suffering from traction alopecia, founder Lulu Cordero turned to her Dominican roots in 2019 to create an all natural hair care line with ingredients exclusive to Dominican Republic to help hair growth and curl pattern revival. This growth-focused line is all-natural, nontoxic, and made to celebrate natural hair. It’s also clean, vegan, and cruelty-free, available at Target, Nordstrom, and Thirteen Lune.
You may recognize this AAPI-founded California-made pantry brand thanks to its *bright* and attractive branding. It’s a cult-favorite for honeys, vinegars, and olive oils—and was founded by Aishwarya Iyer. We can def see these fitting into our après snacks and sips, and impressing just about everyone at the table.
Frankly, a lot of beauty brands still have a long way to go to accommodate BIPOC in their products, so it’s refreshing to see founders from those cultures pave the way for inclusion long-denied to them. CEO Jenn Harper founded Cheekbone Beauty in 2016 based on her dream of seeing young girls playing with her lip gloss. Cheekbone Beauty honors her Anishinaabe roots to create a space in the beauty industry where every Indigenous youth feels represented and empowered—and yes, the line is entirely sustainable and B Corp Certified. Cheekbone combines Indigenous roots with westernized science to craft the best product they can for people and the planet following the Biinad Beauty Standards and the Seventh Generation Principle. Jenn personally also works to educate others about the impact that the Residential School System has had on her family and culture over the generations.
Ever heard of Meghan Markle’s go-to latte brand? Focused on adaptogens and *good for you* ingredients, Clevr launched its line of SuperLattes in 2019 and has since sold over six million beverages. After one year of formulation and sourcing the best ingredients on the planet, Clevr launched its line of SuperLattes in 2019. Better yet, the ingredients are all organic, non-GMO, and ethically sourced. Keep an eye out for limited edition flavors, which launch often.
Coalition Snow is a women-founded ski and snowboard company. Sick, right? Coalition Snow doesn’t shy away from personality on its site, going so far as to say they’re building “a community that values camaraderie over competition, solidarity over sending, and compassion over cuntery.” With collections called things like “Shred the Patriarchy” and “Dangerously Good Pussy,” the brand leans wholeheartedly into shock factor to create an aura of general female-forward positivity. Founders Jen Gurecki and Lauren Bello Okerman were never sponsored athletes or industry insiders, but wanted to share the joy and love of nature as “two women who love playing in the mountains.” Amen.
Need some new bedding? Try bamboo sheets—a lane which home goods brand Ettitude dominates. The female and Asian-owned brand was founded by Phoebe Yu in 2014 after emigrating from China to Australia and struggling to find affordable home goods that were sustainable and comfortable. Nowadays, Ettitude is thee bamboo bedding brand, both certified Climate Neutral and B-Corp.
At the beginning of ski season, I was on a mission to discover which brands had the best base layers. Nowadays, I find myself reaching for my Kari Traa ones more often than not. The patterns are adorable, and the merino wool is warm, sweat-wicking, and odor-free even after a bunch of difficult runs. The brand’s beanie also took me by surprise; it’s so flattering and cozy, and I’m not normally a huge beanie person. Developed by former Olympic champion Kari Traa, I shouldn’t be surprised! As the weather warms, I’m itching to try the hiking and summertime apparel.
Kitsch is known as a sort of all-in-one beauty and wellness brand. Colombian-American founder Cassandra Morales Thurswell launched Kitsch first in Wisconsin, going door-to-door and self-funding her first product: a hair tie. Nowadays, it’s expanded into other intentional hair products and essential basics. I recently tried their Perfect Glide Safety Razor, and it’s absolutely awesome—and affordable, as refills are only $0.50.I’m no longer throwing away plastic razors!
“In 2021, I finally applied for Kitsch to be certified as a women-owned business. It took me 11 years to do this…the application process is very time-consuming and rigorous. I found myself saying other things were more important. I’m sure many can relate to dismissing their gender as a strength or something to be celebrated because there are ‘more important things to do.’ Not today. Today, I want to celebrate not only the women in our team (Kitsch’s employee force is 98% women!!), but also the women in our community, who are making a positive impact in their own way.” —Cassandra Morales Thurswell.
Tea or coffee? This female-founded luxury herbal tea and botanicals brand—in addition to having adorable packaging you’ll want to display on your countertops—is all caffeine-free, making it an excellent choice if you’re trying to cut down without losing the *ritual* of a beverage. The founder, Allie, aimed to create a beverage that allowed women to participate in morning moments and happy hours in a way that felt authentic without the added substances, when she realized caffeine was causing her mood swings. I love their mission statement, that Leaves of Leisure “brings a sense of nostalgia to the everyday moments of your life by infusing memories of the relaxation and creativity you find on the weekend or on vacation.” Sign us up!
I’m personally a geek about the link between scent and memory, so I love that Moodeaux founder Brianna "B.A." Arps used that connection to create a fragrance brand that accompanies our moods. Arps is a former Refinery29 editor-turned-marketing expert whose passion for people, storytelling and all things beauty led her to notice and close the gap in the industry of Black-owned fragrance brands. Focused on clean scents, the brand’s earned 6 figures in funding, launched on Credo shelves as the first black owned fragrance brand, and has received multiple awards all since 2021.
Speaking of, you’ve definitely seen this gorgeous colored cookware all across Instagram. I own the Always Pan myself, and it has that kind of 8-in-1 functionality I crave from just about everything I own—and once had a 30,000 person waitlist. Shiza Shahid knows how to gather family and friends over the power of a home-cooked meal, and her brand is constantly innovating in the kitchen space. I’m obsessed with everything they come out with.
Focused on the link between skincare and mental health (the connection’s really interesting and TBH, a little confusing until it—and their products—really *sink in*), Selfmade was founded by Stephanie Lee, a first-generation Vietnamese-Chinese-American inspired by healing her own mental health crisis. After traveling the globe to talk to women and non-binary folks, she created Selfmade for clean, community-powered products that elevate skincare rituals as a form of self-care and emotional well-being. Nowadays, the brand is a 100% female and non-binary run business prioritizing people of color. My personal favorite? The hydrating Selfmade Corrective Experience Comfort Cream, which soothed my dry, bleeding hands from the Utah winter.
In her childhood experiencing her mother’s *own* entrepreneurial streak, founder Lola Banjo quickly learned how important it was to give back to the community in any way she could. Her stylish leather handbag and travel accessory brand, Silver & Riley (highly rec if you need a do-it-all luxury purse), has a Buy1Give5 program that promises 5% of all total sales to a grant program to help support other female entrepreneurs.
You’ve probably heard of Skida—a Vermont-founded line of colorful *fleece-lined* ski accessories all locally made in small batches. Founder Corinne Prevot started the line somewhat accidentally when she picked up patterned stretch fabrics to make hats for her cross-country ski team at school—and demand quickly picked up across New England. Nowadays, the line also includes neckwarmers, balaclavas, mittens, and more.
Co-founders Bridget Kilgallon, Olivia Martens, and Lauren Breitenbach bonded over climbing and discovered a mutual hatred for ill-fitting, uncomfortable apparel not designed for women. Têra Kaia focuses on technical and comfortable base layers, especially for adventurers and those who reject “traditional bras.” The brand’s basewear is designed in Bishop, CA by a team of all outdoor women, fit-tested on tons of body types, and wear-tested in the Eastern Sierra across skiers, hikers, climbers, and more. And obviously it’s sustainable.
I recently tried Tower 28’s famous silky cream contour, and it blended so gracefully with my skin and makeup that I’ll never look back. This TikTok and Instagram favorite makeup brand is all about “good clean fun,” vowing to avoid any and all harmful ingredients. As for the name? Tower 28 gets its branding from a lifeguard tower in Santa Monica, California, the crossroads between Venice Beach and Santa Monica to symbolize the melting pot of communities and “healthy fun” the brand believes in. Founder Amy Liu brings 15+ years of expertise as a beauty executive at brands like Smashbox, Kate Somerville and Josie Maran Cosmetics to the table.
With code IWD2023, customers who shop from Tower 28, L’Appartement 4F, Táche, OffLimits, and HBFIT on 3/8 will receive a 17% off discount, that will then be donated back to the community's future leaders and entrepreneurs at the Lower East Side Girls Club.
Ever done a trampoline workout? This fitness method founded by former professional dancers Aly Giampolo and Colette Dong is all the rage. The mini-trampoline used for classes frankly channels the unadulterated joy of being a kid again, while the class itself is strenuous enough to work up a sweat. It’s bounce- and beat-based, which reminds you of your favorite dance cardio, while the trampoline aspect provides plenty of health benefits to your body that make it a more low-impact activity.
Have a favorite we missed? Email Inquiries@intopleinair.com to get yours added to the list.