You know how the saying goes: When the going gets tough… women get going!
And we're sure you all also know by now that when it comes to business and finance, women have become models in challenging biases and inequalities by breaking gender barriers.
In fact, studies by the International Labor Organization show that female leadership can bring better business performance because when women cover senior positions, they broaden the range of perspectives, improve the quality of the discussion, and lead to overall better decision making — so take that, cynics!
On the occasion of International Women's Day (which is tomorrow), we'd like to share with you some of our favorite businesses that were built by women, for women, in celebration of female entrepreneurship. Moreover, each of these companies empowers women in their own unique way, whether it's lending a hand at enhancing their individual beauty, finances, or careers. And if you can take on all three at once then what a killer combo!
Rent the Runway
Let's admit it: the future of the planet lies in the "buy less, use more" credo, and this is not just the anthem of minimalists. Pioneering this philosophy in the retail industry is the clothing rental platform Rent the Runway, which was launched in 2009 by Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss. The platform provides designer dresses and accessories rentals for short-term use so that women can look like their off to the red carpet for all special occasions, without having to deal with the when-am-I-ever-going-to-wear-this-again dilemma at the point of traditional retail purchase.
Through this model, Rent the Runway fosters fashion freedom and exploration (as well sustainability), as it alleviates the price tag concern that limits a lot of women. Basically, it's the perfect balance between that new-clothes-feeling and sensitivity for your wallet and the environment!
During the pandemic Rent the Runway closed all its brick-and-mortar stores to focus on its e-commerce platform. In fact, the company invested in its distribution by establishing a network of drop boxes in popular zones. May to be nimble and pivot like a pro!
Ellevest is a learning platform born to change the financial industry by getting more money in the hands of women. Founded in 2014 by entrepreneur and former Wall Street executive Sallie Lee Krawchek, the New York-based startup offers coaching and resources for women who'd like to start investing or simply taking care of their personal finances.
With affordable fees and no minimum investment required, the Ellevest team says they "celebrate when you’re on track to your money goals and help you adjust if you’re not" (ehm ehm – working on that, okay?!).
The company operates a membership model, and all tiers come with access to a Spend and Save account that operates like a standard checking account, complete with a Mastercard (MA) network ATM card — that's financial inclusion at its finest, right there!
In fact, ventures like Ellevest make us reflect on what a truly ripple effect financial inclusion can have by supporting and advancing (both economically and psychologically) women in the world!
Why would you need a seat at the table if you have your own table, right? That's basically Chief's philosophy. The super-exclusive c-suite and VPs only network aims to ensure that women take charge in ensuring diversity amongst any organisation's leadership team.
And how does Chief support women in achieving this? Well, first, to become a part of the private members club, applicants must provide that they are, in fact, up-and-coming leaders in their respective fields. Once admitted, they'll be granted access to a peer-based learning program and a turbo-charged support system to channel their inner Bosslady — how fab!
Founded in NYC by Lindsay Kaplan and Carolyn Childers, the company is growing quickly. In fact, the co-CEOs (whoever said women don't place nice together?!) announced that they plan to quadruple their team in the next six months.
Chief aims to reverse the distressing fact that only 23% of executive roles globally are held by women (according to Catalyst). Moreover, Chief cherishes female glass ceilings breakers who use their decision-making power to influence change today, for a better tomorrow. Is it just us or can you also hear a Beyoncè-led choir in the background?