8 Inspiring Female Entrepreneurs That Should Be On Your Radar
March is Women’s History Month, which means it’s time to highlight 8 inspiring female entrepreneurs that have been change makers and culture shapers.
More women are turning to entrepreneurship than ever before! Women now own 36% of small businesses and the number of businesses owned by women of color is growing at a rate of 163% in the last 45 years! This growth is extremely noteworthy, considering all of the barriers women continue to overcome. Although there is still a lot of work to be done, it is important to pause and acknowledge the trailblazers and other successful female entrepreneurs who have made a significant impact in the business world, and will be a role model for other young female entrepreneurs to look up to for years to come!
Some of these women are just starting their entrepreneurial journey, while others are the founders or CEO’s of established multi-million dollar companies.
Here are 8 female entrepreneurs to celebrate and keep your eye on this month:
Sarah Blakely is the founder and owner of Spanx, a shapewear brand that sells leggings, activewear, and undergarments to over 50 countries around the world. Blakely had her “aha” moment for Spanx when she needed something to wear underneath a pair of white pants. So, she decided to cut the feet out of her pantyhose, and voila! This was the start of her now billion-dollar shapewear brand, Spanx!
Blakely’s net worth is $610 million dollars. In 2006, she established the Sara Blakely Foundation, which is committed to helping women locally and globally with education and entrepreneurship.
Tory Burch is the founder, former CEO, and current Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Tory Burch. Before building her fashion empire, Burch was a writer and worked for other fashion labels such as Vera Wang, Ralph Lauren, and Harper’s Bazaar. In 2004, she launched her flagship boutique in New York City, a year later she received an endorsement from Oprah, and the rest is history!
In 2011, Burch made her New York Fashion Week debut and has been at every Spring and Summer show since. Burch’s designs have even been featured in Vogue. Burch has 49 free-standing stores across the U.S., and 24 international stores. In 2009, she launched the Tory Burch Foundation, to help advance women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship by providing access to capital, education, and digital resources.
Burch’s net worth is $750 million dollars.
Rihanna, who is primarily known for her pop-music hits, is now making headway within the business world. Rihanna was inspired to create Fenty Beauty, a makeup and beauty line, as she recognized there were not enough products for women with darker skin tones, making it hard to match makeup to their natural beauty. She also started a lingerie line: Savage x Fenty, which is co-owned by online fashion firm, TechStyle Fashion Group. Both lines have been immensely successful, bringing in millions of dollars of revenue.
Rihanna also started the Clara Lionel Foundation, a charitable organization, which advocates for children’s education all over the world.
Rihanna’s net worth is $600 million dollars.
Whitney Wolfe Herd
Whitney Wolfe Herd is the co-founder and CEO of Bumble Inc., an online dating app where women make the first move! She founded Bumble with Russian billionaire Andrey Andreev in 2014, after leaving Tinder, a rival dating app, for facing sexual harassment. She was then inspired to create a dating app where women have the power. She became the youngest self-made billionaire when she took Bumble Inc. public on February 11, 2021.
Bumble has 100 million registered users and 42 million monthly active users.
Wolfe Herd’s net worth is currently $1.3 billion dollars.
Emily Weiss is the founder of Glossier, a luxurious and affordable cosmetics company. Weiss was a Vogue fashion assistant, and also wrote a beauty blog “Into The Gloss,” where the inspiration for Glossier began! After interviewing celebrities about beauty products and fashion tips for her job, she discovered that there was a gap between luxurious products and affordable pricing.
Weiss launched Glossier in 2015 and was backed by Kirsten Green, an investor from an all-women Venture Capitalist firm, Forerunner Ventures. Glossier is now worth over $1 billion dollars, and some of its success can be attributed to the company's direct-to-consumer line, as the brand remains open to consumer feedback.
Weiss also embodies female empowerment, Glossier is run and staffed completely by women.
Weiss’s net worth is estimated between $100,000-$1 million dollars.
Toni Ko is the founder of NYX Cosmetics, which is both an affordable and high-quality brand. Ko grew up on drugstore makeup and was disappointed by the products available for those who could not afford the more expensive brands. So, with a 250,000 dollar investment from her parents, she launched NYX at just 25 years old, targeting quality makeup products at prices teenagers can afford.
In her first year, NYX made $2 million in retail sales. In 2014, after years of growth, she sold the company to L’Oreal for $500 million. After selling her company, in 2016, she started Thomas James LA, a stylish and budget-friendly sunglasses company.
Ko also owns Butter Ventures and invests in women-owned businesses.
Ko’s net worth is $255 million dollars.
Kendra Scott is the founder, CEO, and chairman of Kendra Scott LLC., well-known fashionable jewelry, and accessories company! Kendra founded her company in 2002, in Austin, Texas when she could not find any affordable gemstone jewelry. Scott then began making her own jewelry in the spare bedroom of her home.
She began to grow her business by selling to local boutiques in Austin, and later became recognized on the international fashion level as her pieces were chosen in Oscar de la Renta’s Spring 2006 fashion show. Scott began to open retail stores, and now has over 100 stores open, and the brand is also sold at department stores such as Nordstrom and Bloomingdales.
Scott is also a philanthropist and donates a portion of the brand’s proceeds to help women and children around the world unlock different opportunities.
Scott’s net worth is $510 million dollars.
Sheila Johnson is the co-founder of the cable TV channel, Black Entertainment Television (BET), which is targeted at African American audiences. She founded it in 1979 with her then-husband Robert. Media mogul Viacom bought their channel in 2001 for $2.9 billion dollars, and Johnson has then used her money to invest in hotels, planes, and real estate.
Johnson has also engaged in other personal projects such as purchasing the Washington Mystics within the WNBA franchise, the Washington Capitals (NHL), and the Washington Wizards (NBA). She is the first woman to be a stakeholder in three professional sports. Johnson also produced the critically acclaimed film, “The Butler.”
Johnson’s net worth is $770 million dollars.
Lessons from Female Entrepreneurs
If you haven’t noticed a theme from these 8 inspiring girl bosses, here’s the secret: do it yourself. If you find yourself thinking of a business idea that could make a difference, or bridge a gap in the marketplace, don’t wait around for someone else to do it -- you are more than capable! Just think, most of these women started with a little bit of money and a big idea. Their first office or studio was in the garage or spare guest bedroom. When you believe in yourself, anything is possible. So whatever your crazy idea might be, don’t give up on it. You never know, you could be on a list like this someday!
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