on the Rise
This month we’ve featured a lot of legends—founders of billion dollar empires like Jessica Alba of the Honest Company, Joan Barnes of Gymboree and Net-a-Porter’s Natalie Massanet. These women have proven the sky’s the limit, holding the door open for a powerful generation that grows stronger everyday. Women now control 31% of the world’s wealth—51% in the United States—and our businesses are continuing to grow at faster rates than men’s.
Entrepreneurship has been a major factor, as women recreate the world to their own liking. In the past five years, we’ve been busy innovating across all industries, particularly when it comes to designing products for each other. Here at Divine Living, we are always thrilled to support a woman-owned business that offers something chic, thoughtful and conscious. Ahead, we’re introducing you to some of the successful female-founded businesses that have caught our attention.
Some women have taken to utilitarian-chic dressing to sidestep the inevitable work that goes into shopping and planning outfits. Others have a personal stylist on retainer. Somewhere in between, a certain set of successful women have turned to Stitch Fix, the $250 million dollar startup founded by Katrina Lake. Stitch Fix uses a mix of in-depth data and real human stylists to offer clients a fully personalized look, charging a $20 styling fee per box of items. Available on demand or by subscription, the budget for each look is up to you, and there’s a 25% discount for keeping it all. Women are loving it so much that the company has nearly tripled over the past several years, landing Lake on Forbes’ list of richest self-made women last year alongside Sara Blakely, Beyonce Knowles, Oprah Winfrey and Taylor Swift.
Alli Webb’s mission? The democratization of good hair. After years of styling in the top salons in NYC, Alli moved to LA to start a family, and ended up founding an empire, too. It all began with a mobile blow dry service called Straight at Home. When she suddenly had more clients than she could get to, she suspected there was demand of a blowouts-only salon in Los Angeles. Now in 67 locations across North America, chances are you’ve stumbled across a Dry Bar if not treated yourself to one of its signature looks. At $45 a blowout, the whole experience is an affordable luxury, complete with a complimentary glass of champagne, coffee or tea and subtitled rom-coms to watch as your locks are perfected. With a coveted product line and most recently, a New York Times bestselling how-to guide, the company brought in $100 million in revenue in 2016. We’re thrilled to see where Webb takes the Dry Bar brand next.
If there’s any arena that’s been longing for women’s innovation, it’s menstrual products. These days, we have more options than ever, and finally, it’s becoming okay to talk about an experience all of us are going through. Enter Lauren Schulte, who had a great marketing career in Silicon Valley, but was suffering in silence with issues she believes were brought on by tampons. So she started doing research, testing every product on the market, reaching out to manufacturers and designers, and determining what the best thing for women would be. One year later she cofounded Flex with e-commerce specialist Erika Jensen, raising one million dollars to begin development of her patented menstrual disc, a 12-hour product that alleviates cramping and can even be worn during sex. Already gathering rave reviews from its first 100,000 customers, the future of Flex is looking very bright.
After working all day as a fashion assistant at Vogue, Emily Weiss would stay up late into the night producing content for her beloved beauty blog, Into the Gloss. She parlayed her avid following of millennial makeup enthusiasts into a sea of ideal clients for Glossier, a line of simple, can’t-mess-up beauty and skincare in chic packaging, priced in that sweet spot between the drug store and Sephora and championed by it-girls like Karlie Kloss. Launched on Instagram with a limited line of thoughtfully-formulated products, Glossier became an instant hit among the 18-35 demographic, building ten and thirty-thousand-person waitlists in the wake of sold out launches. The company grew 600% in 2016, its third year in business, and shows no signs of slowing down, with new products constantly in development and launching regularly.
In her early thirties, Amanda Steinberg realized that despite enjoying a lucrative career in computer programming, her net worth was nothing to write home about. In search of financial advice, she was disappointed to find all the content on MarketWatch and Yahoo Finance was written for and by men, and decided it was time for women to have a voice in the conversation. She launched Daily Worth to lead the way towards long-term financial security for women, publishing stylish, savvy stories on saving for retirement, investing in assets, government legislation and the question of marriage. Following her website’s success, Amanda has recently launched WorthFM, an intuitive savings and investment platform that guides you step by step. If women are to control even more of the world’s wealth, than Amanda Steinberg is here to help us make it happen.
A former journalist for the Economist and Business Week, Kate Ryder was working at a VC firm when she became inspired to do something about women’s access to healthcare. She saw that many women, especially when pregnant, were often succumbing to unnecessary, costly doctor’s appointments because they couldn’t find solid answers to their questions in the chaos of a google search. Women needed trustworthy, immediate information that took into account their unique circumstances and history. Maven makes access to guidance from a wide variety of practitioners instantly available the day problems arise, charging $18 for 10 minutes with a midwife or nurse, and up to $70 for a 40-minute mental health appointment. The company clearly gets what it means to be a twenty-first century woman, proclaiming on their website that “you have ten places to be, and the waiting room isn’t one of them.”
While enjoying a thriving career in tech that included high-level roles at women-centric startups like Gilt Groupe and Chloe & Isabel, Shan-Lyn Ma was attending a lot of weddings. An enthusiastic guest, she was always happy to celebrate love, but found that the gifting tradition had become outdated and out-of-step with couples’ personalities and values. Shan-Lyn noticed that couples often lived together and thus already had many of the essentials, and might prefer to receive experiences, services or help with the wedding party. With a sleek design and curated, but comprehensive range of items, Zola would appeal to the modern millennial couple and meet all their needs in just one destination. For the past three years, it’s been the fastest growing online wedding registry in the United States, offering everything from copper-plated cookware to Air B&B gift cards. After closing out 2016 with a $25 million Series C raise, Silicon Valley is eager to see what Shan-Lyn and her co-founders will roll out next.
Alex Cavoulacos and Kathryn Minshew met while working at the worldwide management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company. After two years there, Kathryn was on the hunt for a new job and shocked by how out-of-touch the online search experience seemed. (For example, Monster.com recommended her an Assistant Manager position at a 7-11 in New Jersey.) The standard search brought back thousands of identical results offering little hint of the best career move, the company’s purpose or whether it would be a good fit for her personality, desires and skill set. While she didn’t find a job, she did find a business idea, and soon enough she and Alex were flying to San Francisco to develop the Muse with Y-Combinator. Today their platform is the most trusted site for people in the first 10-15 years of their career, boasting 50 million annual users. Meanwhile, a recent $16M round of funding promises an even more personalized, data-driven and effective job search soon to come.
Sallie Krawcheck spent most of her career climbing the corporate ladder on Wall Street, rising as high as CEO of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, President of Bank of America and CFO of Citigroup. Working in an industry designed for men, by men, Sallie realized something her coworkers didn’t: telling women not to buy shoes and invest their money instead missed the point. The problem was that women didn’t relate to the motivation of out-performing the market, they were more interested in reaching their goals—a downpayment on a house, a new business venture, and even retirement savings. On a mission to unleash women’s financial potential, Sallie and her team designed Ellevest to speak to women’s unique career paths, salaries and lifespans. Offering thoughtful investment portfolios and personalized plans for a variety of scenarios, all digitally presented with gorgeous, easy-to-understand designs, Ellevest is poised to make an impact in 2017 and beyond.
Fashion designer Yael Aflalo had a hunch: women were ready to pay more for clothes that are eco-conscious and made in America—even those who couldn’t quite afford luxury prices. Disappointed by the destructive impact of the fashion industry, she began the Reformation by getting vintage dresses and re-doing them. Earning famous fans like Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Rosie Huntington Whitley, today the brand is big enough to develop its own sustainable materials. The brand’s coveted selection of carefully-cut, thoughtfully-designed outfits are sketched and put up for sale in as a little as a month, only after extensive testing—Aflalo tries each piece herself, and it has to look good on multiple women. Raising investment from the likes of Karlie Kloss, Reformation continues to expand with a growing denim line, and more brick-and-mortar stores on the horizon, leading the way in sustainable “fast” fashion.