Special S/O to all of y’all that identify as ladies! In case you don’t have your calendar marked from last year (you should), today is International Women’s Day. And as a female-founded and operated business, the team at Wit & Delight is celebrating by sharing a few inspiring women and business owners that are making waves in their industries and leading by example. From fashion to fitness these female founders set the standard for what it means to be an entrepreneur, building businesses that not only offer great products and services but that also actively support the growth and livelihood of women around the world.
Scroll down to learn a little more about the faces and stories behind a few brands you might recognize such as Barre3 and Lunya.
As Beyonce once said, “Who run the world? Girls.”
What are some of your favorite female-led businesses? We want to know.
Naomi Mdudu, the founder of The Lifestyle Edit, sets the perfect example of how powerful women can be when we join forces and share our insights and ideas with one another. The Lifestyle Edit, Naomi’s female-centric company, is an online community that connects businesswomen, providing a platform for us to share insights and learnings with one another as we navigate our lives and careers.
In addition to their online presence, The Lifestyle Edit hosts a weekly podcast that shares candid conversations with female entrepreneurs dominating their industries, such as Snowe Home founder, Rachel Cohen (Episode 68. What Your Business Can Learn From Snowe’s Killer Brand Strategy & Customer Experience), and jewelry designer Ariel Gordon (Episode 40. Growing A Product Based Business – What’s Working Now with Ariel Gordon). I, too, was recently fortunate enough to have the opportunity to talk with Naomi and she is an absolute delight. Psst! Be sure to subscribe to the podcast; you might catch me in an upcoming episode! (It went live this week!)
On a mission to close the growing gender gap in technology and computer science, Reshma Saujani launched Girls Who Code (GWC) a non-profit organization that provides resources and education to young girls interested in coding. Offering free summer camps and clubs, building the largest pipeline of future female engineers, Girls Who Code is on track to achieve gender parity in computer science by 2027. In just six years of business, GWC has served over 90,00 girls to date, across all 50 states. Learn how you can get involved and where to donate here to help GWC reach more girls, grow their curriculum, develop new programs, and find and train more program facilitators and teachers.
5 years ago, Jordan Kier and Alexandra Friedman sought out on a mission to answer one question: “What’s in our tampons?” Feeling lost in the dark, wondering what the foreign phrases found on the outside of tampon boxes actually meant, the duo became quickly fixated on finding the solution and sharing it with others. Then came LOLA, Kier and Friedman’s female-focused business that offers trusted feminine products (they’re 100% organic!) and candid information in hopes of empowering women to make deliberate decisions about their reproductive health. They even offer subscription services, sending all your feminine care essentials right to your doorstep every time you need it. Learn more about their customizable subscriptions here.
Described as a “real life unicorn”, Sadie Lincoln founded her business, Barre3, with a mission to reinvent the one-size-fits-all approach to exercise. 130+ studio openings later (and zero closings), it’s safe to say Lincoln has met her goal. At Barre3, instructors encourage individuals to modify postures throughout class, developing body awareness in hopes of fostering long time growth and development. Last spring, Minnesota welcomed its first-ever Barre3 studio in Edina and I can tell you it’s worth the visit. Studio owners and boss-ladies Lucy Gardiner and Morgan Wolfe have fully embraced Lincoln’s philosophy. With a deep emphasis on community and meaningful design, you sense the warmth and good juju the second you walk in the door. Plus, they have childcare so you don’t have to worry about finding a sitter when you’re looking for a sweat! Check them out here.
With a deep passion for equality, feminism, and access to brave spaces for all, Seena Hodges founded The Woke Coach in hopes of helping people realize the American dream of being seen, heard and validated every day. Seena is a trained equity, diversity and inclusion facilitator of The Intercultural Development Inventory® – the premier cross-cultural assessment of intercultural competence. The Woke Coach offers organizational partnerships, coaching sessions, workshops, and presentations. To learn more about the different services offered and how The Woke Coach can help you be a better you, click here. Minneapolis is lucky to have her with us!
After undergoing her own complications during childbirth, Christy Turlington Burns was introduced and exposed to the disheartening realities of today’s maternal care. She learned about the hundreds of thousands of women that die every year as a result of inadequate medical care. Committed to raising awareness about this global tragedy affecting women around the world, Christy launched Every Mother Counts. Every Mother Counts is an organization that educates individuals and invests in programs that help provide women access to quality maternal health care. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can be about of the solution Christy is fighting for, see Every Mother Counts’ recommended list of actionable items to get you started.
After co-founding Sirius XM in 1990 and shortly leaving thereafter, Martine Rothblatt made the shift into biotech after her daughter was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension, a diagnosis with a life expectancy of two years at the time. In 1996, Martine founded United Therapeutics, her publicly-traded company that now sells five FDA-approved pills to help individuals diagnosed with the same disease as her daughter. As someone who has undergone the gender transformation process herself, Martine has instilled longstanding policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, race and sexual orientation.
Ashley Merrill, the founder of Lunya, understands life as a woman can be complicated and has dedicated her business to simplifying one of its most important aspects – sleep. With a core mission of improving women’s lives through product, experience, and example, Lunya continues to reinvent sleepwear for the modern woman. In addition to offering beautifully-designed pajamas and intimates, Lunya leverages their business to do good and actively supports reputable organizations such as Girls Inc., Fuck Cancer, and Girls Build LA, all of which are worth checking out.
After spending years as the president of the Global Wealth & Investment Management division at Bank of America, Sallie Krawcheck realized the historical skew of the investing industry, keeping women from achieving their financial goals. Since then, she’s made it her life’s mission to liberate women’s financial power through her company Ellevest. Built with women in mind, Ellevest’s online platform gathers information on you and your life goals, suggesting personalized investment portfolios for each goal. Complete their survey here and get started investing in your future today.
Referred to as one of tech’s most influential women, Kathryn Finney founded digitalundivided, a social enterprise that helps Black and Latinx female founders grow their big ideas, turning an idea into a reality. With an understanding that every successful entrepreneur is and has been supported by networks of advisors, experts, and personal friends, digitalundivided profits entrepreneurs with a vast network of 100+ mentors committed to helping them succeed. In addition, digitalundivided leads the BIG incubator/accelerator program, designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs bring their idea to life offering intensive training, mentorship and co-working space. Help support these high-potential Black and Latinx women founders now by donating here.
Making history as the Twin Cities first-ever nonprofit merger, two female-centric organizations, launched by a small group of progressive businesswomen, joined forces in 1989 becoming WomenVenture. Since then, WomenVenture has been helping women in the Twin Cities achieve economic success through their career development programs and services, providing women with training, advice, loans and job opportunities. As a Minnesota nonprofit organization, WomenVenture relies on generous donations in order to continue providing women with their training, tools and financial resources. To help keep their efforts alive, make a donation here today.
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Kate is currently learning to play the Ukulele, much to the despair of her husband, kids, and dogs. Follow her on Instagram at @witanddelight_.
BY Kate Arends - March 8, 2019
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Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.
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