Women’s History Month may only last for thirty days, but at The Tempest, it’s part of our ethos 24/7/365, celebrating incredible, underrated, and underappreciated women who deserve more recognition, whether past, present or future.
Despite the frequent interchangeability of phrases like “women-owned” and “female-founded,” the two terms aren’t always related — a female-founded brand might not be owned by a woman anymore and a currently-women-owned business might not have been founded by a woman. During times like Women’s History Month, understanding what each label denotes could mean the difference between supporting a brand that’s actually run by women, or one that happens to have women working within it, for example, Proactiv was founded by two female dermatologists and is now owned by Nestlé.
We spoke to some incredible founders and CEOs of sustainable companies we want to celebrate, and while this list only touches the tip of the iceberg, don’t worry: The Tempest is always about highlighting badasses doing amazing things. Without further ado, here are 12 female founders and entrepreneurs who are shaping the future of business, paving the way for the next generation of aspiring entrepreneurs as role models and mentors.
1. Beth Cleavy, Founder of Frida
Beth Cleavy is a writer and entrepreneur who wanted to create a free space for women to connect to each other and form a community. Do you miss sorority? Moving to a new place, for personal, professional, or academic reasons can be quite haunting, and finding people to connect with has been made harder by the lockdown. Frida is an app designed to help women feel less lonely and form new friendships. It matches people based on their interests instead of their looks.
Think of Tinder, but for platonic friends. The name, of course, is inspired by the artist Frida Kahlo, who always refused to stay silent.
“My favorite part of Frida is receiving very moving messages from women who have started using the app telling me that they feel less alone because of it,” Cleavy said in an interview with The Tempest. She is also the founder of several other companies, including a dog walking app and a self-publishing firm.
2. Rosie Rees, Founder and CEO of Yoni Pleasure Palace
If you’ve never heard of a yoni egg, brace yourself. After experiencing a burn-out from her corporate job in 2012, Rosie Rees healed herself by going to India and Bali to learn the ancient practices of yoga, meditation, and a sacred Taoist modality known as the ‘Jade Egg practice’, which led her down the path of sexual healing and awakening.
Back in Australia, she founded her company Yoni Pleasure Palace where she spreads the joy of exquisite glass and crystal tools designed to awaken your pelvic floor, pleasure, and pussy power.
Rosie carefully designs and selects only the best gemstones, herbs, and menstrual products from all over the world and is deeply passionate about sexual empowerment and women connecting to their Yoni – the source of their power.
Rosie shared with The Tempest that, “my favorite product I’ve created and designed is the Sacred Squirter. With its curled tentacle handle, tongue-like shape and pleasure bumps, The Sacred Squirter™ has made thousands of women learn how to ejaculate, squirt and gush. The Sacred Squirter has just the right amount of girth, width, and curve to help engorge the G-Spot, which facilitates the art of squirting. Best accompanied with our Waterproof Squirt Blanket, which is both soft and plush and totally waterproof.”
Editor’s favorite pick: Amethyst Yoni Egg.
3. Kirsten Quigley, Founder and CEO of Lunchskins
It all started around a kitchen table in 2008 for Kirsten Quigley. While raising her young family, she noticed how much waste was generated on a daily basis packing 20+ lunches a week and countless snacks on the go for classes, teams, and camps.
Lunchskins was born out of her need for a planet-friendly and stylish alternative to disposable plastic bags. From the beginning, she knew that whatever she created had to be easy, affordable, and fun so people would make it part of their daily routine, and collectively have a much bigger positive impact on our environment. For the past 12+ years, Lunchskins, a woman-owned brand has been helping families and communities think and act greener by replacing 2.8 billion plastic bags with Lunchskins bags + over 2.6 million plastic straws.
With a background in environmental sciences, Kirsten’s produced the world’s first patent-pending, self-sealing, disposable paper bag, and the first dishwasher-safe reusable fabric bag. All Lunchskins products give back to the planet with every sale and every time you use them. Her favorite product is the Bags+Straws plastic-free starter kit.
4. Chloe Drimal, CEO and Founder of Yoni Circle
Chloë Drimal is the founder and CEO of Yoni Circle, a one-of-a-kind social app and membership-based community that supports deeper connections between womxn through storytelling. Chloë started her career at Snapchat in 2013 as its fourteenth employee, where she helped create the internal women’s group for Snapchat, which quickly became her passion and led to her interest in creating Yoni Circle.
The app allows groups of women to join a virtual circle, each telling a story based on a specific theme, prompted by a Salonniere, the person leading the group. As Chloe explained to The Tempest, “Not only did building the ‘Our Stories’ product at Snapchat show me how to create a successful user-generated content product at scale, but it opened my eyes to how connected we are as humans and how stories help us feel this connection.
After two years of growing and running the ‘Our Stories’ product, I was replaced by a man and this left me feeling alone. Conversations with inspiring female strangers healed me, supported me in finding the strength to rewrite my own story. Now, it is my mission to bring that connection and healing to the world with Yoni Circle.”
5. Tanaïs, Founder of Hi Wildflower
Tanaïs (formerly Tanwi Nandini Islam) is the founder of Hi Wildflower, a beauty and fragrance brand that describes itself as “dynamic, intersectional, inclusive and feminist.” Her name is derived from the first two letters from each part of her birth name, as she stated that she did not want to be pigeonholed into a set of stereotypes and wanted to amalgamate all aspects of her identity: queer, femme, Bangladeshi, Muslim, Bengali, Hindu, and diaspora.
As a novelist, she started Hi Wildflower as a blog with content that focused on culture, feminism, and flowers, after which she began to create botanical perfumes that would tell stories in their own ways.
Hi Wildflower has since then helped organizations such as Black Lives Matter, Girls Write Now, and the Arte and Resistance Education. All products are created from ethically and sustainably sourced botanical ingredients. The brand is run by queer femmes of color and has also worked with incarcerated women in creating perfumes that tell their stories.
Editor’s favorite pick: Night Blossom Extrait de Parfum.
6. Kiran Jade, Founder and CEO of Wolven
Kiran is the founder and CEO of Wolven, an eco-friendly and sustainable athleisure brand that creates its products out of recycled ocean plastics. Her interest in fabrics and textiles arose through her Pakistani Muslim mother, who wears exclusively eastern clothing. Together with her partner, she wanted to create a brand that empowered differences (shapes, sizes, identities, and cultures) as sustainably as possible, for “everyone to feel confident and empowered while respecting the planet.”
Wolven has celebrities such as Lucy Hale, Miley Cyrus, and Sophie Turner as customers. The company has successfully incorporated the idea of giving back to the planet in its business model. Wolven has also partnered with Climate Neutral to monitor their greenhouse gas emissions and 1% For The Planet to make their products carbon-neutral to address climate change and the carbon footprint.
Editor’s favorite pick: Aquarius Keyhole Top.
7. Amanda Chantal Bacon, Founder of Moon Juice
Amanda is a wellness guru, and the CEO and founder of Moon Juice. She founded the company in 2011 for her own experience of putting an autoimmune condition into remission despite being told it was impossible. She then educated herself on lifestyle, diet, and wisdom; traveling to bring to healthy food “a precision that did not previously exist.” She stated that she wanted to create “clean, potent, and simple formulas that would encourage people to get adaptogens daily.”
Moon Juice sells adaptogenic products such as juices, supplements, and skincare that aim to promote “intelligent self-care, inside and out.” Their “Moon Dusts” attracted a lot of celebrity attention, and the SuperYou capsules for stress management are among the most popular products. The adaptogens in their products are for physical, mental, beauty, and even sexual well-being. Other products to watch out for are the Cosmic Cocoa adaptogenic hot chocolate and the Dream Dust adaptogens for sleep.
Editor’s favorite pick: Magnesi-Om.
8. Michelle Cordeiro Grant, Founder of Lively
Founded by Michelle Cordeiro Grant, Lively has become one of the most popular new lingerie companies on the web, and the hype is well deserved. Since its launch in 2016, Lively has been shaking up both the lingerie industry and our underwear drawers, thanks to their commitment to creating “Leisurée” (aka beautiful undergarments that are comfortable enough to be lounge-worthy) sold at decently affordable prices.
Their most popular item today is the lightly padded, nylon and spandex All Day bra. Lauded for its comfortability, it’s also pretty versatile – a few simple adjustments and you can turn it into a racerback bra.
Editor’s favorite pick: Flex No Wire bra.
9. Adriana Herrera, Founder of PayDestiny
Adriana Herrera noticed how many women have been laid off because of the pandemic and decided to do something about it. She founded PayDestiny, a one-of-a-kind “bank” to help women and underrepresented individuals in the workplace. By encouraging users to make “deposits” and noting their daily and weekly achievements, PayDestiny helps people quantify the quality of their work and provides them with the metrics-focused data that they need to do better during job interviews, successful promotion conversations, and pay negotiations.
Adriana’s goal is to help women build skills and self-confidence to have those conversations that we are often afraid to start and to give them the tools to increase work promotions and negotiating raises. “With our achievement bank everyday small and big achievements are not forgotten but deposited, quantified, and leveraged to return value and increase pay over time,” she said to The Tempest.
10. Salone Monet, Founder of Salone Monet
When you think “nude heels,” what comes to mind? If the first image that pops into your head is a pair of light beige pumps that look nothing like your own skin color, we’re happy to introduce this inclusive nude shoe brand. Named for its founder and shoe designer, Salone Monet reduces waste by hand-dying each pair of shoes to order.
The entire process of making a pair of Salone Monet shoes is cool. The fabric begins as 100% white silk and there are six different shades from which to choose.
If you’re having trouble selecting the pair closest to your skin tone online, you can request an appointment with a virtual consultant.
Editor’s favorite pick: Anita Kyle.
11. Sidra Qasim, Co-founder & COO of Atoms
“Just two kids from a small town in Pakistan, who escaped their conservative families,” is how Sidra Qasim describes herself and her husband, Waqas Ali. The power couple behind Atoms – a New York-based footwear brand known for its quarter sizes and comfortable sneakers. Coming from humble beginnings, Sidra’s journey is one of ambition, resilience, and determination. She initially started a traditional Pakistani footwear company in Pakistan, but Sidra’s entrepreneurial journey took a different turn when they were accepted into Y-Combinator. That’s where she and Waqas came up with the concept for Atoms.
After two years of extensive research on how they could make the perfect everyday shoes, they finally came up with their first sneakers: Model 000.
Since then, Atoms has grown to become a familiar household name, sported by everyone from Alexis Ohanian to Brandon Stanton of HONY.
Editor’s favorite pick: Model 000 in all white
12. Kailey Bradt, Founder & CEO of Susteau
Kailey Bradt is the creator of the world’s first-ever waterless shampoo. Recognizing the inconvenience of traveling with shampoos and other hair products, Kailey sought out alternative options, leading her to develop a water-free shampoo that has revolutionized the sustainable beauty world. A chemical engineer turned entrepreneur, Kailey set out to research and develop this product line when she realized the amount of water used in products.
“What we’re doing in haircare hasn’t been done in this format before,” Bradt explained in an interview with Forbes. “There are solid shampoo and conditioner bars, but that’s where the lines stop.” Liquid shampoo is typically 80% water, but Susteau’s products are completely water-free. These products are great to use and are saving the planet.
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