Though it’s been over a century since the first-ever International Women’s Day in 1908—a “global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women”—we still have a long ways to go in achieving true gender equality. Luckily, a wave of change seems to be on the horizon as the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements gather steam and amazing women demand to be heard.
Now, more than ever, we believe it’s important to support female-led companies. And it’s not just a matter of principle. Women-led and-owned companies have performed significantly better than a major global index over the past eight years. Studies have also shown that women reinvest up to 90% of their incomes back into their families, compared to 30 to 40% by men. So in the spirit of women supporting women, we reached out to six of our favorite female entrepreneurs to get their thoughts and advice and to learn about the women who inspire them. Now go and be the powerful, incredible woman you are!
“That we’re not afraid to be vulnerable, honest, and solicit advice. Letting go of my own hang-ups has served me well, both personally and professionally. I’m a firm believer that you don’t know what you don’t know. When you get out there, don’t be afraid to ask questions and be vulnerable in front of others. That’s when you learn the most and get more confident.”
We need to root more for each other. When I previously worked in STEM, I struggled to be recognized and at times, was pushed aside and told to remain quiet for being curious and ambitious. Now I’m in an industry that is the polar opposite. I’ve never been in a space that is more collaborative and inviting and where people are willing to give their time for nothing. As an indie brand, we’re all genuinely supportive of one another because we know we can make a positive impact together, to improve the world around us. After having gained so much, I now feel that I have a responsibility to give back by sharing what I’ve learnt as an entrepreneur and supporting others.
Malena Martinez, the sister of Peruvian chef Virgilio Martinez and brainchild behind the Mater Iniciativa initiative in Lima. I can completely relate to the work she does, as seen in [the Netflix show] Chef’s Table. She’s both an adventurer and a scientist because she goes into nature to discover new ingredients, documents each ingredient’s unique qualities, and tries to see how the ingredients are embedded in local culture.
Ali: I love that we’re able to have versatile identities.
Stella: We have the gift of nurture. We are able to do anything we put our minds to and build it with the elements of love and compassion.
Ali: Don’t be afraid to be frank and open.
Stella: Surround yourself with the right team and the right community. Make sure everyone supports each other and helps each other grow.
Ali: Ayn Rand, who was famous for her philosophical and political works and was a very inspirational woman in the 50’s and 60’s. I read her works when I started Amarilo and they left a strong impression on me. One of my favorite quotes is, “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”
Stella: Michelle Obama.
“Do I have to pick just one? Our motto at Elvie is ‘love being a woman,’ and I’m a firm believer that womanhood is something to be celebrated, not embarrassed about. There are so many unique aspects of being a woman that aren’t talked about like menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. We’re trying to push forward a wider cultural change by encouraging women to talk more openly about their bodies and lifting the taboo on everything from bladder control to sex. Normalizing these conversations is the first step to empowering women in understanding their bodies and giving them the freedom to live happier.”
“I think a lot of women assume that becoming an entrepreneur is a lot harder than it would be for a man. It can seem intimidating when you haven’t seen many examples of other female friends or leaders. But women shouldn’t let this put them off from starting their own business! There is a growing and highly supportive network of female entrepreneurs out there.”
“Sheryl Sandberg, the most powerful woman in business. She’s the COO at Facebook and the author of Lean In the most inspiring book for any businesswoman looking for professional advice. “’Fortune does favor the bold and you’ll never know what you’re capable of if you don’t try.'”
“I feel so lucky to be a woman in today’s world because I have so many opportunities that did not exist a generation ago. Technology has really allowed us to work from anywhere and enables me to be at one place and work on something else entirely.”
“Learn time management. I worked in a corporate environment for many years for companies like J. Crew and Tory Burch before I started my own business. Now, as an entrepreneur, I work harder than I have ever worked and can manage my schedule to fit my life. I moved our offices to the top floor of our townhouse so that I could take my son to school and run downstairs for lunch with my daughter. If I were a perfectionist, I could never have done it all. I realized in order for a woman to have a business and a family, there has to be a constant give-and-take to make everything happen. I am lucky that I can spend the morning sketching, hangout with my daughter midday, and the end of the day, carpool and take press appointments.”
“I would love to have dinner with Freida Kahlo because she was bold, innovative, and the life of a party.”
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“My favorite thing about being a woman is this incredible bond we have with one another… I think we, as women, all have a innate desire to be supportive and that has become even stronger in the past few years. It feels so empowering to be a part of a strong community of resilient, compassionate and intelligent women.”
“To me, the best piece of advice is actually a lack of advice. As a mom of two boys, I definitely have my share of responsibilities when it comes to our family—and I love that my husband (and family) never felt that because I am a mom that I would not be able to pursue Ranavat Botanics. Over the last six months, I’ve worked an incredible amount and have had to lean on my family for support with the kids, and I feel so empowered knowing that they are willing to step in and allow me to build the company of my dreams.”
“My mom. I’m at a point where my parents are getting older and because they live in Chicago I don’t get to see them as regularly as I would like. Instead of chasing any type of celebrity I would give anything to have more time with my parents. She’s who I call for advice (on a daily basis) and is the person that keeps me grounded. She’s one of my biggest cheerleaders and I am eternally grateful for her.”
“Knowing that we have the choices and freedom that wasn’t available for past generations of women.”
“Listen to your gut. Trusting your gut feeling might be the best business strategy. Women always have stronger abilities to make successful intuitive decisions.”
“Absolutely everything! Couldn’t imagine it any other way, but if we had to point one thing out would be the fact that women are cyclical. Sounds like something you don’t want to be, but it’s actually amazing. We basically go through four different cycles every month and each cycle has a purpose and meaning, it really helped us create a deeper connection with ourselves, grow spiritually and be more organized in our life. This is mind-blowing, and every woman in the world should have this information.”
“Always stick together. Sometimes we underestimate the power of working together, sharing and supporting one another, but it really makes a difference. It’s beautiful to be part of this generation of female entrepreneurs, we have the opportunity to be and create whatever we want, and the fact that we can support each other along the way makes it even more powerful.”
“Tough one. Karen Berg, she is an amazing author and we would be mesmerized with all her spiritual wisdom and female empowerment that she puts out there.”
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