In celebration of International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8, we’ve curated a list of some of our favorite female-founded brands to shop. Started by women, their products and services include everything from beauty and skin care to feminine hygiene products and sustainable fashion.
Gregg Renfrew, one of the founders of The Wedding List, launched this chemical-free beauty brand in 2013. The entrepreneur helped establish a list of 1,500 potentially harmful ingredients that the company avoids using in its personal care products—known as the “Never List”—and actively advocates for stricter guidelines and regulations in the cosmetics industry.
Founded in 1962 by 23-year-olds Carole and Gordon Segal, the concept for furniture and housewares store Crate and Barrel was originally inspired by the inexpensive, simple and beautiful European products for sale they came across during their honeymoon in the Caribbean. They became interested in providing durable yet aesthetically-pleasing products at a reasonable price to young couples and began importing products to Chicago directly from Europe.
Co-founded by actress Kate Hudson, activewear brand Fabletics emerged in 2013 as a response to a lack of stylish, high-quality gear at an accessible price point. The subscription-based company creates personalized outfits based on lifestyle and fashion preferences for a wide range of sizes and strives to spread body-positive messaging.
Starting her career as an intern at Teen Vouge, Emily Weiss first became known for her popular blog, Into the Gloss. In 2014, she turned her beauty website into Glossier, a beauty and skin care company that creates products based on feedback of what women really want.
Actress and mom Jessica Alba founded this wellness brand in 2012 after finding a lack of “clean” household products and baby items that were safe for both her and her children. The company, which has four GH Seals and many products with a USDA Bio Preferred certification and EPA Safer Choice label, is focused on developing new formulas and high-performance products that are safe for everyone.
Designer Kate Spade started her fashion career while working for Mademoiselle, where she noticed that the market lacked practical, stylish and affordable handbags—and decided to create her own. In 1992, she brought six prototypes made with Scotch Tape and paper to a New York manufacturer, and the rest is handbag history.
At just 25, Parsons School of Design graduate Tyler “Ty” Haney founded the athleisure company Outdoor Voices. The company’s guiding mission to “Get the World Moving” suggests using exercise and movement to help generate endorphins and make you happy—no matter your body type or fitness level.
Parachute founder and CEO Ariel Kaye wanted quality home goods at an affordable price, yet couldn’t find any on the market. Enter Parachute, a brand that is focused on creating impeccable, quality bedding and home goods at an accessible price point. In addition, the socially responsible brand is part of the United Nations Nothing But Nets campaign, which sends malaria-prevention bed nets to those in need.
Frustrated with finding products for her “difficult” skin, founder Ming Zhao teamed up with Dr. Amy Yuan to develop a personalized line of skin care that’s backed by scientific data. Together they created The Skin Genome Project—the world’s largest skin care database and winner of MIT’s 2018 Artificial Intelligence Award—to analyze the effectiveness of skin care ingredients, environment, scientific publications and other factors to select the best ingredients for your skin.
After a visit to China motivated her to research the environmental impact of the fashion industry (one of the top polluters in the world), founder and CEO Yael Aflalo was inspired to start her (now incredibly successful) sustainable clothing brand, Reformation. The company, whose clothes are made in Los Angeles, has since taken off with fashionable clientele that includes celebrities, models and “It” girls.
In 2009, Jennifer Hyman co-founded Rent the Runway with her Harvard Business School classmate Jennifer Fleiss with the genius idea to offer women rentable gowns and dresses for events so they didn’t have to buy them.
Initially invented when she cut the legs off of her control-top pantyhose, SPANX founder Sara Blakely has since revolutionized the world of intimate apparel.
What began as a cheek stain in 1999 has since turned into one of the most successful cruelty-free, natural beauty brands. Pursuing a PhD in psychology at Columbia University, founder and CEO Maureen Kelly dropped out of the program to follow her true passion, creating beauty products with natural ingredients for real, everyday women.
Co-founded by Miki Agrawal in 2013 after a successful Kickstarter campaign raised $65,000 to make “a more thoughtful pair of underwear,” underwear brand Thinx initially became popular due to its edgy, taboo and feminist advertising campaigns. With Maria Molland now at the helm, the company specializes in “period panties,” a feminine hygiene alternative. The company also donates menstrual products to those in need, including young women, underprivileged communities and the homeless.
Frustrated with a lousy, ill-fitting selection of bras, Heidi Zak decided to make her own bra. Teaming up with designer Ra’el Cohen, ThirdLove was born. The company—whose products also include underwear and sleepwear—was the first bra brand to offer half cup sizing.
A fashion designer, businesswoman and philanthropist, Tory Burch launched her fashion line and first retail store in 2004. Now with 250 stores worldwide, the company has grown into a fashion powerhouse with a portfolio that includes shoes, handbags, jewelry, watches, clothing, home goods and more.
New York–based Universal Standard was founded by Polina Veksler and Alex Waldman with the mission to disrupt the clothing industry by taking size out of the equation.
Founded in 2010 by Emma Mcilroy and Julia Parsley, who previously worked at Nike, Wildfang specializes in gender-neutral apparel, suits, feminist accessories and basics. The company makes a donation to select charities with every single purchase, and in 2018 helped raise over $400,000 for organizations that support reproductive, immigrant, women’s and human rights