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Women's History Month: 250+ women-owned brands to support

We spoke to female business owners about the last year — and highlighted notable products and brands we think you should know about.
Get to know women-owned brands to check out across shopping categories, from fashion and beauty to food and fitness.
Get to know women-owned brands to check out across shopping categories, from fashion and beauty to food and fitness.Here Here Market; Carribrew; Saalt

When you walk into Saalt’s office in Boise, Idaho, you’ll likely see children sitting on their parents' laps or playing at their feet. Cherie Hoeger, CEO and co-founder of the period care purveyor, who has six children of her own, designed her business with families — specifically working mothers — in mind.

Hoeger knew that a 40-hour work week has rarely been viable for women who want to have a career and a family. Since 80% of Saalt’s workforce is made up of women, many of whom are mothers, she wanted to make support and flexibility a priority. Hoeger decided to dedicate 10% of Saalt’s office space to a free, in-office preschool for employees’ children and offer paid personal and sick leave to attend to family needs. “Children are just a regular part of our office environment,” Hoeger said, noting that she brings her own 7-month-old son to the office.

SKIP AHEAD Notable products from women-owned businesses | Barriers for women-owned businesses | Women-owned brands

“Being a mother and having a career does not have to be mutually exclusive,” Hoeger said. But to make it work, she added, women founders need to “ditch antiquated work models and support working mothers.”

Research shows that mothers typically face the so-called “Maternal Wall” that views them as less competent and less committed to their jobs, in addition to other sexist stereotypes. Hoeger told us that since women understand these obstacles firsthand, she sees them as uniquely positioned to change the narrative. Creating this type of culture has attracted female talent to Saalt that may not otherwise be in the workplace.

The maternal wall is one of many obstacles women-owned businesses continue to face, many of which were only exacerbated due to the pandemic. Business owners told us some of the biggest challenges they’re currently grappling with center on gender stereotypes, difficulty securing funding and a lack of access to child care. Instead of waiting for these and tangential circumstances to change, however, women business owners are at the forefront of creating change themselves.

“We have such power as female founders and leaders to break barriers and empower the women we lead,” Hoeger said. “If the world’s biggest problems are really going to get solved, it’ll be by businesses that create innovation. If not us, then who?”

To understand the realities women face in running their businesses, we spoke to more than a dozen business owners about the challenges and successes they’ve experienced, and we connected with more than 200 women-owned businesses to recommend ones we think you should know about across categories like apparel, skin care, home goods and more.

What is a women-owned business?

The terms “women-owned” and “female-founded” aren’t interchangeable, explained Pam Prince-Eason, CEO of nonprofit Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, which certifies women-owned businesses in the U.S. after they meet a set of eligibility standards.

Female-founded means the business was created by a woman or a majority of women founders. Women-owned means the business is majority-owned, controlled and operated by women (where majority simply means 51% or more) — the same applies to businesses that are Black-owned, AAPI-owned and Latino-owned. For example, Proactiv was founded by two female dermatologists, but is now owned by Nestlé.

The Small Business Administration (as well as the Census Bureau) uses the 51% requirement when brands apply to its Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program, which offers government contracts for small businesses known as "set-asides" — the SBA implemented these to help guarantee at least 5% of federal contracting budgets go to women-owned businesses.

15 notable products from women-owned businesses in 2023

After asking more than 200 businesses about their ownership stakes, we narrowed down some notable products from 15 women-owned brands across major categories we think Select readers should know about, including homewares, apparel and skin care. Following this list, we share more than 100 other women-owned businesses that confirmed to us their status aligns with the definition of a women-owned business.

AnaOno Rora Pocketed Front Closure Bra

Dana Donofree, AnaOno’s founder and CEO, was diagnosed with breast cancer in her mid-20s and felt like she lost her identity after treatment. This experience led her to create a line of what she called “boob-inclusive lingerie” designed for women who’d undergone breast surgery. “One breast, two breasts, no breasts or new breasts, everyone deserves to be supported,” Donofree said. AnaOno also partnered with Pink Warrior Advocates for its Bra Assistance Program, which provides up to ​​25 post-surgery and mastectomy bras per month to people in financial need who apply to the program. The brand also runs its Natrelle Inspires Bra program — for every Natrelle Inspires Bra purchased, one bra is donated to a breast cancer patient diagnosed within the last 12 months.

AnaOno’s Rora Pocketed Closure Bra offers a front-closure design that the brand says makes it convenient to wear with post-surgery dressing, and it has pockets that can accommodate modesty pads, prosthesis or lightweight breast forms. The bra also features convertible, adjustable straps. It’s available in multiple colors and sizes ranging from XS to 3XL.

Bonita Fierce Como La Flor Candle

Melissa Gallardo, founder of Bonita Fierce, said she started a candle company after noticing the scents she grew up with were underrepresented in the home fragrance industry. “I set out to create a collection of Latina-inspired candles to share la cultura with the rest of the world,” Gallardo told us. After launching Bonita Fierce in 2020, the brand became the first Latina-owned candle brand sold at Nordstrom and formed part of the inaugural cohort for the Ulta Beauty MUSE Accelerator program last year, which provides financial support for BIPOC-owned beauty brands.

In honor of Women’s History Month, Bonita Fierce recently launched a line of candles dedicated to celebrating Latina trailblazers. The Como La Flor candle highlights Selena Quintanilla, the “Queen of Tejano” — the coconut soy wax candle comes in a 13-ounce reusable glass vessel, has a burn time of up to 60 hours and includes floral notes like jasmine, rose and lilac, according to the brand. The collection also includes the brand’s Azúcar candle, which is dedicated to Celia Cruz — the “Queen of Salsa” — that offers hints of cinnamon, sugar, buttercream, honey and vanilla, Bonita Fierce says.

Caribbrew Medium Roast Haitian Coffee

When she moved to the U.S. in 2009, Beverly Malbranche, founder and CEO of Caribbrew, said she realized there was an unfulfilled market for Haitian coffee, which she “fell in love with” while growing up in the country. Establishing a Black-owned coffee company not only allowed her to expose customers to new roasts, but also gave her the opportunity to economically support farms in Haiti by purchasing their beans. Malbranche is specifically passionate about buying from women-owned farms and helping them make sure they get paid equally compared to their male counterparts.

Caribbrew’s Medium Roast Haitian Coffee features notes of chocolate and has a nutty, full-bodied flavor, the brand says. It’s made from Arabica beans and has a low acidity level, according to Caribbrew. You can purchase a 12-ounce bag of coffee as beans or ground. Caribbrew also offers K-Cups if you own a single-serve coffee machine.

Cocokind Resurrection Polypeptide Cream

Priscilla Tsai, co-founder and CEO of Cocokind, said she never left the house without a full face of makeup in her early 20s due to severe acne and skin sensitivities. Tsai started Cocokind to provide shoppers with skin care made with gentle yet effective ingredients, unlike what she had access to when she was younger. To promote transparency about how the brand formulates each product, Cocokind products feature a Formula Facts panel on their packaging detailing exactly what’s inside each bottle. The brand also added a Sustainability Facts panel to its packaging that shares details on its materials, carbon emissions, production information and more.

One of Cocokind’s newest products is the Resurrection Polypeptide Cream. The fragrance-free cream is ideal for dry, sensitive skin, according to the brand. It can be used during the winter as a deep moisturizer or daily as a rich night cream. The cream keeps skin hydrated and plump while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, Cocokind said. Additionally, Tsai said Cocokind recently started selling its products through Ulta. She called this “a dream come true” as the team worked for years to expand into the retailer.

Eberjey Gisele TENCEL Modal Relaxed Short PJ Set

Ali Mejia and Mariela Rovito, co-founders of Eberjey, said they began the company in 1996 and aimed to design pajamas and lingerie that were both “sensual and comfortable” in our guide to Latino-owned businesses. Today, the founders told us Eberjey’s team is 95% women, many of whom are mothers, including themselves. Because of this, they were conscious about providing employees the flexibility and resources they needed to balance work and motherhood during the pandemic as many adjusted to kids taking classes online and a lack of child care. Eberjey now offers optional remote work that’s permanently available at the company.

Eberjey’s Gisele TENCEL Modal Short PJ Set is both soft and breathable, according to the brand. The set comes with a short sleeve button front top and a mid-rise short with an elastic waistband. The pajama set is available in 10 different colors and sizes ranging from XS to XL. You can also get the pajamas monogrammed for an additional fee.

Ettitude Signature Sateen Sheet Set

After seeing the fashion industry use more environmentally friendly textiles in clothing, Phoebe Yu, Ettitude’s founder and CEO, wanted to do the same for the bedding industry. Using her experience working in textile supply chain management and merchandising, Yu said she spent years creating the brand’s proprietary CleanBamboo fabric before launching Ettitude, which she runs alongside co-founder and president Kat Dey.

Ettitude’s Signature Sateen Sheet Set comes with a fitted sheet, flat sheet and pillowcases, all of which are made from the brand’s CleanBamboo fabric — the brand describes the material as a silky soft and says it's made from bamboo lyocell. Ettitude says the sheet set offers a cooling effect and is hypoallergenic as well as ideal for sensitive skin. The sheet set comes in multiple colors and is available in sizes ranging from Twin to California King

Gr8nola The Original

Erica Liu Williams first started making granola at home while doing a cleanse with her husband and began selling her granola at farmers’ markets. Ultimately, she expanded the businesses by stocking office pantries at tech companies. Though the pandemic severely disrupted operations, Gr8nola shifted its focus to building its direct-to-consumer sales, a pivot that taught Williams how to adapt in unexpected scenarios and still be successful. Now, with the push to return to work, Williams said people returning to offices has been increasingly positive for the brand.

All of Gr8nola’s flavors are made without soy, dairy and refined sugars. The Original flavor is sweetened with honey and includes cinnamon, coconut oil, almonds and flaxseeds. It’s available in standard, bulk and mini size options.

Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch Original

When she co-founded Hero Cosmetics, Ju Rhyu said, “I wanted to build a brand that was empowering and empathetic, and helped people reclaim skin confidence.” She specifically focused on acne care products like post-blemish cream, acne patches and brightening serum. Hero Cosmetics also offers body care products such as body wash and moisturizer, as well as face cleanser, sunscreen and serums.

Hero Cosmetics sells a variety of pimple patches, including the Mighty Patch, which we feature in our guide to pimple patches. The hydrocolloid patch visibly flattens and extracts impurities overnight, according to the brand. Hero Cosmetics says the Might Patch prevents scabs and scarring often caused by popping pimples and helps remind you not to pick them. They’re available in packs of 36 and 72.

Lil Bucks Coconut Maple Clusterbucks

Lil Bucks founder Emily Griffith first stumbled upon sprouted buckwheat seeds as a grain-free granola replacement in Australia. She wanted to bring buckwheat, a fruit seed that comes from the buckwheat flower, to the U.S. and did so by establishing her company in 2018. Lil Bucks debuted its first product line at a fitness festival in Chicago, and the brand now offers three product lines — Lil Bucks, Clusterbucks and SZN-ing.

All of Lil Buck’s products are centered around buckwheat and many items are free from the top 8 food allergens, including peanuts, wheat, soybeans and milk. Recently, Lil Bucks launched new flavors of its Clusterbucks, which the brand describes as crunchy grain-free granola: Coconut Maple and Snickerdoodle. Both flavors are gluten-free and are free from processed sugars.

Megababe Thigh Rescue

When Katie Sturino first launched Megababe, she said many people in the beauty industry didn't understand the issues she was trying to solve: Products for thigh chafe, for example, were made for men or athletes — and Sturino said they felt sub-par. “Women deserved a clean, effective product that we wouldn't be embarrassed to pull out of a handbag,” she said. Now, Megababe offers a variety of items the founder said solves body issues from sweat to foot odor.

“I could barely get retailers to say the words ‘thigh chafe’ in a meeting,” Sturino said. Five years later, Megababe’s Thigh Rescue is one of its bestselling products and is sold at retailers like Target and Ulta. Featured in our guide to anti-chafing products, Thigh Rescue is an anti-friction stick made with ingredients like aloe, which offers anti-inflammatory and cooling properties to soothe skin, according to Megababe. It also contains pomegranate seed and ginger root extract, in addition to grapeseed and orange oil. You can purchase a full-size or mini version.

Mrs. Bakewell’s Just Scones: Classic Plain

Two main factors inspired Rose Bakewell to launch Mrs. Bakewell’s — which sells boxes of cream tea scones — in September 2022: Her love of baking and British history. “I decided I wanted to offer a quintessentially English tradition to America to enjoy in the comfort of their own homes,” she said.

Bakewell is a mother of three and said she would “never produce a product that I wouldn't feed to my own children.” She told us that her scones are made without preservatives, artificial colors and artificial flavors. “We even hand-zest our oranges and lemons for our Blueberry-Lemon and Cranberry-Orange scones as opposed to using flavor essence,” Bakewell said. You can purchase boxes that contain one dozen scones in Classic Plain, Cranberry-Orange, Blueberry-Lemon and Zante Currants flavors, or opt for gift boxes with six scones plus clotted cream, tea, preserves and more.

Parachute Organic Cotton Duvet Cover

Ariel Kaye, founder and CEO of Parachute, previously ran an interior design blog and often helped her friends and family design their homes. Finding dependable bedding was challenging. “I couldn’t find a single brand that was high quality, affordable or easy to buy,” she said. After launching in 2014, Parachute offers items like sheets, pillows, sleepwear and more.

During the pandemic, Kaye said the brand saw “rapid growth” as more people spent time at home — it also recently expanded into new product categories like furniture. We recently covered the launch of Parachute’s Organic Collection, which offers 22 products made from ethically harvested cotton, according to the brand. Its Organic Cotton Duvet Cover features twill ties in all four corners and is available in three sizes: Twin/Twin XL, Full/Queen and King/California King. You can choose from Bisque, Willow and White colors, and the duvet cover is machine-washable.

Partake Foods Soft Baked Lemon Cookies

Denise Woodard founded Partake after struggling to find allergy-friendly snacks for her daughter. The company has rapidly expanded since its 2016 launch: In addition to selling its products online, Woodard said Partake grew from being carried in 350 stores across the country in Dec. 2019 to 5,000 in Dec. 2020. And today, Partake can be found in 8,000 stores nationwide, including Target, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Kroger.

Partake’s gluten-free, vegan Soft Baked Lemon Cookies are free from the top 9 allergens, like all the brand’s products. The cookies come in a box of 15. In addition to cookies in flavors like Birthday Cake, Pumpkin Spice, Chocolate Chip and more, Partake also offers breakfast mixes and baking mixes.

Posh Peanut Natalie Footie Ruffled Zippered One Piece

Fiona Sahakian founded Posh Peanut in 2011 after years of working as a hairdresser. She said the 2008 recession jeopardized her ability to provide for her family, so she took a leap and embarked on a new business venture. “I used that moment as an opportunity to create something that was mine, and that I was passionate about,” Sahakian said. Posh Peanut sells clothing and accessories for children, as well as apparel for adults and items for nurseries like changing pad covers, crib sheets and more.

Available in sizes ranging from newborn to 18-24 months, this machine-washable onesie is made from viscose from bamboo, a material Posh Peanut says is lightweight, breathable and soft. The one-piece features non-slip grips on the feet and the brand says the reversible zipper allows you to change a child’s diaper without having to completely undress them. It also has ruffle details on the bodice and back, and newborn and 0-3 months sizes come with built-in fold-over mittens.

Saalt Disc

After hearing that her family in Venezuela did not have access to period care products for months while the country grappled with political instability, Hoeger started looking into reusable options, leading her to create a collection of menstrual cups and period underwear. Part of Saalt’s mission is to provide reusable period care products to those experiencing period poverty — a lack of access to menstrual products — across the world. Hoeger said Saalt is a certified B Corp and commits 2% of revenue to donate its products to communities in need.

The Saalt Disc is a menstrual disc that the brand said can be used for up to 12 hours during the day or at night. It’s reusable for up to 10 years, according to Saalt, and comes in regular and small sizes.

Barriers for women-owned businesses in 2023

Women have always faced numerous hurdles in business, like gender bias from investors and difficulties accessing capital, as well as struggles with managing child care and pregnancy discrimination — and the pandemic exacerbated many of these issues. Predominantly, women- and minority-owned small businesses and startups continue to face barriers with access to funding: In 2022, women-run startups received less than 2% in venture capital funding, one of the lowest percentages in the past decade.

“Addressing women’s issues, especially women’s health and wellness, continues to struggle in this space, so we have to engage and educate more female founders on the barriers and how to do their best to get beyond them,” said Dana Donofree, founder of AnaOno, which makes post-surgery bras for those affected by breast cancer.

Despite that, there are roughly 12 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. employing over 10 million people, according to the SBA’s latest Annual Business Survey. In fact, women made up approximately 49% of new business owners in 2021, according to a 2022 survey by human resources platform Gusto.

And yet, research shows women business owners are still underrepresented in all demographic groups compared to their male counterparts. Being taken seriously in primarily male-dominated industries is one of the biggest challenges — “women are seen as ‘soft’ or ‘emotional’” compared to men, said gr8nola’s Erica Liu Williams. Mrs. Bakewell’s Rose Bakewell also noted that when she works with “heavily male-oriented departments, such as logistics, warehouse or manufacturing,” she finds herself “putting on a different persona to appear more strong-willed and tough when I correspond with them.”

It was only about 30 years ago that women were no longer required to have a male relative cosign a business loan — former President Ronald Regan signed the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988 into federal law, eliminating that requirement.

“For me, being a female founder is a way to prove to myself that we, like our male counterparts, can achieve success on our own terms,” Williams told us.

Businesses majority-owned by women of color in the U.S. face even greater hardships as business owners, despite making up approximately 5.4 million firms. During the pandemic, 47% of businesses started by women were minority-owned, yet many started out of necessity: Women of color were more than twice as likely to start a new business out of financial need, according to the National Association of Women Businesses Owners.

  • Twice as many Latina-led companies experienced pandemic-related closures compared to male-Latino-led businesses, a gap that remains consistent among women business owners of color.
  • Black women were disproportionately laid off or left their jobs during the pandemic.
  • And nearly half of unemployed Asian American women were out of work for at least six months in 2021.

Whitney White, co-founder of Melanin Haircare, shared with us the pressures faced by business owners of color: "We are always held to the highest standards of perfection because of the stigma of our race.” You can learn more about White and Melanin in our guide to Black-owned businesses.

Women-owned brands: Beauty, wellness, apparel and more

We reached out to over 200 businesses nationwide to compile some standout women-owned companies in beauty, apparel, food, wellness and more that we think are worth checking out. Each of the following businesses confirmed that they are at least 51% women-owned.

To make your browsing easier, we separated these brands into the following 10 shopping categories:

Women-owned clothing and apparel brands

Women-owned accessories and jewelry brands

Women-owned beauty and skin care brands

Women-owned hair care brands

Women-owned bookstores and education brands

Women-owned children and family brands

Women-owned home and kitchen brands

Women-owned food and beverage brands

Women-owned wellness and fitness brands

Women-owned pet care brands

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