Female entrepreneurship is on the rise, with more than Nine million women-owned businesses in the United States today, and women are majority owners in 38 percent of all of the country’s small businesses. While we couldn’t list all nine million companies, here’s a list of four exciting companies all founded and headed by passionate, hard-working, and ambitious women.
Thea Perez knew she wanted to be a fashion designer since she was a young girl . She earned a BFA in Apparel design from the Rhode Island School of Design, (basically the Harvard of design schools) and is a self-proclaimed “sweater expert.” She’s even had the opportunity to share that expertise in Paris and Hong Kong. So after a successful career climbing up the ladder in many design studios, she struck it out on her own as a freelancer for the gifts and textiles and even pet industries (if you and your dog want a matching sweater set, she is the right woman to hook you up.)
The good news for you: her work isn’t just in the store anymore. You can now find her vibrant patterns online. She recently went back to her painting roots to establish Polychrome, a collaborative of artists designing trendy patterns and prints for clothing and textiles. If you were ever afraid that you couldn’t make a living as an artist, keep in mind that Thea’s clients celebrate her for her sense of trend and deep knowledge of colors, showing that her talent, hard work, and passion have made her the entrepreneurial success story she is today.
Two Good Cocoa-Jessica McDaniel and Megan McClain
From womb-mates to roommates, twins Megan and Jessica have been together at every stage of their lives (they even went to college together! So it makes sense that the next natural step for them would be to go into business the same way.
They got the idea to run a cocoa business when Jessica went to a pumpkin patch and tasted a very “watered down” hot cocoa and realized that she could do better! So they started Two Good Cocoa to prove that they could indeed do better. With Megan as the official taste tester, the two decided to market a lot of different cocoa flavors.
Even sweeter than their product is their commitment to doing good. Ten percent of all purchases go to charitable causes close to their hearts. Their philanthropic efforts range from super local (The Boys and Girls Club in their hometown, the local outreach committee) to the international (The Sierra Club.)
“Cancer and autism were the two biggest causes that we were going to contribute to with our company profits. It was really fun to get to choose charities that we wanted,” they said.
Dune Jewelry-Holly Christansen
Holly Christansen isn’t just selling jewelry, she is selling nostalgia. She realized how much people associate physical belongings with locations and memories, so she started making jewelry to tap into these memories.
“ I associate sand with memories because I grew up on Cape Cod and we’re surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches in the world,” she said.
Because of these childhood memories of spending summers on Cape Cod’s beaches with her best friend, she founded Dune Jewelry and crafts all sorts of jewelry out of sand, including rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. And she doesn’t just stick to Cape Cod: she imports sand from all seven continents, a very ambitious feat for a small business!
As a result, her mentors often tell her to scale back, maybe stick to ten beaches. but she is so committed to creating memories to everyone that she perseveres anyway, and you can see that determination in her work.
“I want to have 10,000 beaches someday and have it be manageable and I believe there is a way to do that,” she said.
Ardent Canabis-Shanel Lindsay
Even though marijuana was legalized in several states in the last year, you probably wouldn’t think a lawyer would go into that business, but Shanel Lindsay has come up with a product that has revolutionized the cannabis industry.
“We created a decarboxylation device that helps cannabis patients activate their medicine and make any cannabis product for a fraction of the price,” she said.
The past year has been a very exciting time for her company, Ardent Cannabis. The device was originally intended for medical marijuana patients, laxer marijuana laws means an even wider customer based, so don’t be surprised if “decarboxylation” becomes a household name soon.
In addition to being an entrepreneur, Shanel is also a strong advocate for cannabis safety and education and she even drafted the question on the Massachusetts Ballot calling for its legalization for patients over the age of 21, so if you’re a patient in need of pain relief, or you want enjoy the new freedoms under laxer marijuana laws, Shanel will look out for you and make sure that you stay safe while having fun and relaxing.