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- Friday, March 8, 2019, is International Women’s Day.
- Among the many ways to support and lift women up today (and every other day of the year), you can shop at female-founded retail companies.
- The 23 startups below make products that are designed to improve the lives of women.
- On International Women’s Day, many are donating a portion of proceeds to non-profits dedicated to advancing the social and economic positions of women.
Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), a day to both celebrate the social, economic, political, and cultural achievements of women and continue the push towards women’s equality. In the business world, women are founding companies at record rates. According to the National Women’s Business Council, their businesses employ over 8 million workers and generate over $1.4 trillion in revenue.
They still only comprise 36% of the country’s businesses and there’s a lot of progress to be made. However, as part of a team that has its finger on the pulse of up-and-coming consumer brands, I have to say we’re certainly witnessing a wave of female entrepreneurship that provides inspiration and hope for the road ahead.
These female-founded startups should always be on your radar for the innovative products and services they offer, but especially today on IWD as many of these brands are putting forth powerful initiatives and campaigns to empower and support other women.
Learn more about the 23 female-centric companies and their International Women’s Day promotions below.
Find more International Women’s Day retail coverage here:
- 46 female-founded retail startups to support on International Women’s Day – plus our favorite products from each
- 19 feminist gifts that give back to empower women and children around the world
- 9 incredibly inspiring memoirs written by women to add to your reading list
Bra company ThirdLove offers a Try Before Buying program that lets customers try out bras for 30 days. When these gently worn bras are returned, they’re hand-sorted and then donated. In 2018 alone, the company donated more than $4 million worth of bras, including to victims of the recent California wildfires.
It also expanded its bra sizing and now carries 70 bra sizes, compared to the industry average of 30. You might’ve also heard about the company when CEO Heidi Zak took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to critique comments made by the CMO of Victoria’s Secret about plus-size and transgender models.
Conscious shoppers love ADAY because of its seasonless, technical apparel that looks great, feels great, and is made from sustainable materials.
On International Women’s Day, you have another reason to support ADAY: 100% of the proceeds from sales of its limited-edition #Future is Feminine Tank will go to the Stonewall Community Foundation in support of numerous LGBTQ+ projects and funds.
Before co-founding Sugarfina, Rosie O’Neill started her career at Barbie, the iconic doll brand that is now celebrating its 60th anniversary. To celebrate 60 years of Barbie careers, including astronaut, firefighter, and news anchor, Sugarfina has created a collection of themed candies. 100% of net proceeds from this limited-edition series will go to Step Up.
The fine jewelry brand is revolutionizing the industry by keeping costs low and encouraging women to buy jewelry for themselves instead of waiting for someone else to buy it for them – and they are finding success, with a repeat purchase rate of 25%. Mejuri says that 87% of its community members are women, and if they’re not gifting themselves, they’re overwhelmingly gifting other women.
Today, beauty subscription box company Birchbox is launching its second The Future Starts Now Fund, which gives women throughout the year $5,000 each towards any enrichment program that supports their career goals.
10% of the sales Birchbox makes on International Women’s Day from customers who shop its Female Founded Beauty Brands category, featuring brands like OUAI, Benefit, and Real Chemistry, will go towards the Future Starts Now Fund.
- Universal Standard
Plus-size inclusive fashion brand Universal Standard has a unique policy that reduces the anxiety of shopping: its Universal Fit Liberty (UFL) allows shoppers to exchange pieces from its core collection if their size fluctuates within a year of purchase. All gently worn clothing returned through UFL will be laundered and donated to charities like Dress for Success that support women trying to return to the workforce.
Ritual is most known for its Essential for Women multivitamin, which fills in the gaps of women’s diets and was inspired by founder Katerina Schneider’s own experience of shopping for vitamins while she was pregnant. Earlier this year, it dug deeper into its original prenatal health roots with the launch of its second product, a prenatal vitamin. Regardless of where you are in your life, Ritual is here to support your health with cleaner, more efficient vitamins.
Vrai & Oro
- Vrai & Oro
Vrai & Oro is where you can find simple, timeless, and beautiful fine jewelry – no vermeil, only 14-karat and 18-karat gold here – at a better price and through a less stressful shopping process than traditional fine jewelry retailers. It also uses above-ground diamonds made from 100% solar energy.
Today, the jewelry company is offering a tapered baguette stud earring set called “Her Earring.” 15% of sales proceeds will go to Girls, Inc.
- MZ Wallace/Instagram
MZ Wallace’s bags meet the needs of busy, modern women who seek fashion, function, and value. The female-founded company has an initiative called MZW Gives Back, developed to support social causes on the national and international level. As part of this initiative, 10% of all full-price purchases on the site today will go to Girls Who Code.
Frilly is a women’s custom clothing brand that makes individuality its core business. Cofounder Jeni Ni says, “As a woman, I like to be in control of the decisions I make throughout my life. Fashion is a huge part of the way that we present ourselves to the world, and it should be an inherently personal and dialed-in experience.”
Frilly’s ethically and sustainably produced clothing is completely customizable (every pair of pants you see above comes from the same core style, each with custom touches), and helps women express themselves and feel more confident.
The Better Skin Co.
- The Better Skin Co.
The co-founder of The Better Skin Co. started the company with this moisturizing and smoothing cream as a way to support her family after emigrating to the US from Uzbekistan. Today, it’s donating 100% of sales from its Mirakle Cream to the ACLU to help ensure economic opportunities and educational equity, and to end gender-based violence.
- Thistle Farms/Instagram
Thistle Farms’ natural body and home products are crafted by women survivors of prostitution, trafficking, and addiction. Employing over 1,800 women worldwide and part of a network of over 40 sister communities, it has a unique two-year residential program that provides housing, medical care, therapy, education, and job training to survivors for free.
Its mission of healing and care runs through its product line of soothing essential and healing oils, candles, lotions, and shaving gels.
Wildfang was founded by a woman and continues to be run by women. The brand’s offerings include cool basics, suiting, and gender-neutral apparel, as well as feminist clothing and accessories. We really love the The Feminist Collection, which includes T-shirts, beanies, button-up shirts, sweatshirts, and accessories. Wildfang makes a donation to select charities with every single purchase. This month, 1% of your purchases go to Black Girls Code.
The Lip Bar
- The Lip Bar/Instagram
Research has found that black women spend 80% more on cosmetics and twice as much on skin care as other consumers because it’s harder to find effective products for their skin. The Lip Bar’s Melissa Butler wanted to make products that are not only better for your body but also aim to empower women with diverse representations of beauty.
- Banana Republic
In honor of International Women’s Day, Banana Republic has launched a limited-edition Equality Collection of T-shirts and accessories that carry messages of empowerment. It’s available in stores and online, through April 25, while supplies last. $5 from the sale of each item will go to non-profit CARE, which focuses on fighting poverty and the advancement of women and girls around the world.
By making lingerie that’s beautiful and comfortable, Lively aims to make women feel confident in their own bodies all year long. Its #livingLIVELY movement provides a community of support among fans, and on International Women’s Day, it’s selling a T-shirt to further unite them. 100% of the profits from T-shirt sales will be donated to I Support The Girls.
By getting rid of brand markups, Brandless is able to offer high-quality essentials, like pads and tampons, at prices accessible to everyone. Today, in addition to 10,000 boxes upfront, Brandless is donating a 100% organic cotton menstrual care product for every use of the promo code “WOMENSDAY” at checkout. These tampons and pads will be donated to Feeding America for distribution to food banks, agencies, and shelters.
Bellabeat makes smart tech that doesn’t compromise on aesthetics and encourages women to take control of their health. The wearable piece, which can be worn as a bracelet, necklace, or clip, helps you track your steps, sleep, and menstrual cycle. It can also predict and manage your stress. The company says it’s dedicated to helping women achieve and maintain a healthy mind and body so that they can focus on unlocking their full potential.
Shop the Jen Gotch x Iconery necklaces for $48 at Ban.do: Anxiety Necklace, Resilience Necklace, Depression Necklace
Reducing the stigma of mental health issues is a cause near and dear to the heart of Jen Gotch, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Ban.do. This series of necklaces is a step towards opening up the conversation about mental health. 100% of net proceeds from sales of the necklaces will go to Bring Change to Mind, a non-profit dedicated to ending the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. You can also find a variety of female-empowering products, like the Resilience series above, on its site.
- State Bags
State Bags is a backpack and bag company that gives a backpack filled with supplies to students in need whenever you buy one of its products. For this special Feminist Toile collection, it’s giving a backpack, plus donating proceeds of sales to Time’s Up. The backpack and fanny pack feature a hand-drawn toile print sprinkled with historical feminist moments.
Sparkle Hustle Grow
- Sparkle Hustle Grow
Sparkle Hustle Grow is a monthly subscription box for female entrepreneurs. Each box features a different theme and contains resources like discounted business training classes, books, and other tools to help women in their journeys as founders. For example, February’s was “money management” and included a budgeting book and a “Be Your Own CFO” course and March’s is “confidence.”
With Lola’s 100%-organic cotton pads and tampons, cramp-care products, and sexual-wellness products (all available in kits and subscriptions), Jordana Kier and Alex Friedman are opening up the conversation about women’s health. It’s making periods better for everyone, not only those with privileged access, and has donated 1 million tampons to women in need since 2015.
When you scratch off a card from LottoLove, you won’t win any money. Instead, you “win” a charitable prize that’s donated to someone in need. There are four possible prizes, which help provide clean water, solar light, nutritious meals, or literacy tools. Each card costs just $4.95, but gives back in invaluable ways. To date, LottoLove and its charitable partners have impacted lives in over 60 countries.