Women in business face a myriad of challenges such as gender discrimination, ‘startup sexism’, and a lack of career advancement opportunities (to name but a few). However, in 2016, the State of Women Owned Businesses Executive Report estimated that there are now over 11 million women-owned businesses generating more than 1.6 trillion dollars in revenue in the United States alone. The Peterson Institute also found that companies with a heavier female presence are more profitable. Despite huge barriers, women are advancing in the business world.
To celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th, we’ve put together a list of some of the most noteworthy women in eCommerce. A mix of the well-known and some newer faces, we’re hoping this list will inspire other women in the industry.
Kristin Berry is the founder and CEO of Miss Design Berry, an eCommerce store specializing in personalized art and stationery for weddings and events. By creating a niche line of products ranging from mugs, invitations, guest books, and even personalized SnapChat geotag filters, Kristin has been able to take the business from a small side-hustle to a twenty person strong team with a revenue of almost $700,000 in just five years. Miss Design Berry prides itself on every design being the result of careful collaboration between designer and customer.
On the challenges that women in eCommerce experience, Kristin says,
“There can be a perception that women tend to be less business savvy, so there’s an extra need to ‘prove’ yourself when speaking with businessmen. It’s also assumed that we can be less aggressive, so a lot of the time I feel underestimated. Add that to being a young business person, and it really becomes interesting to see how people perceive my abilities (and how they get proven wrong!)”
With her team of 19 other women, her aims for the company this year are:
- To achieve $1M in revenue
- Expand the product line
- Venture into a line of retail items.
Naama Bloom is the founder of HelloFlo, a women’s health company which began as a subscription box filled with products such as tampons, sanitary towels, and candy, delivered to customers’ doors on a monthly basis to coincide with their menstrual cycle. The subscription boxes aim to:
- Lend a hand to modern women by helping to prepare their purses with feminine products prior to getting their period
- Educate young women on periods and physical changes, and reduce the ‘embarrassment’ that can accompany periods
- Empower young girls and women by reducing the stigma surrounding periods.
HelloFlo came to viral fame in 2014 when it released its ‘First Moon Party’ video, a comedic take on a young woman getting her period, which to date has almost forty million views. HelloFlo began as an entirely self-funded venture (on a shoestring budget, too!), and began while Naama was still working another job. In 2016, HelloFlo was acquired by SheKnows Media, where Naama holds the position of Senior Vice President of Integrated Marketing (though HelloFlo continues to be its own stand-alone brand).
Women in eCommerce can learn a lot from Naama: she’s been named as “one of the fifty most creative people in the world” by AdAge, as a “woman of influence” by the NY Business Journal, and in 2017 will publish a book which aims to help guide young girls through their periods.
Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna
Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna are the founders ad CEOs of Birchbox, the infamous makeup and beauty subscription box adored by women and men across the globe. Having met at Harvard Business School, the pair wanted to solve the problem of oversaturation in the beauty market, and provide a cheap and efficient way for people to try new products without breaking the bank. The boxes retail at $10 each, and customers receive monthly deliveries of sample products (often personalized).
Since 2010 the duo have managed one million subscribers, raised 80 million dollars in venture capital, opened a physical store in New York, and, recognising that their in-store visitors have a higher customer lifetime value, have plans to open a second in Paris. Katie and Hayley have successfully combined their product ideas with clever editorial content, and smart partnering with beauty and grooming brands, to grow this incredibly popular business idea over the past seven years.
Richa Kar is the founder and CEO of Zivame, a leading Indian lingerie website that aims to eliminate the embarrassment that women experience while buying underwear in stores in India.
Richa began Zivame in 2011 after discovering a gap in the market for online lingerie while working in a previous job. To be fitted for a bra by a man in India is the norm, and so Richa wanted to improve the customer experience for women shopping for intimate wear. Wanting to combat the old-fashioned, ‘hush-hush’ attitude towards lingerie in India, Zivame has launched campaigns such as #FitForAll to destigmatize the buying of underwear and to promote body positivity.
Capitalizing on its online successes, Richa, as part of an omni-channel strategy aims to open 100 offline stores and fitting centres over the next two years, alongside launching her own private label.
Jasmin Larian is the CEO, founder, and creative force behind Cult Gaia, a fashion brand that explores the ideals of “femininity, fantasy, and fun”. Through creating unique and recognisable ‘must-have’ apparel such as flower crowns and turbans, Jasmin took the company from hobby to niche brand.
Jasmin began Cult Gaia in 2012 after she graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology, and has focused her design efforts on making products that are conversation starters and art pieces. Her designs have adorned everyone from Beyonce, Jessica Alba, and Chrissy Teigen, while her iconic ‘Gaia Ark Bag’ has truly put the brand on the map – so much so that she struggles to keep them in stock, with a waiting list of thousands.
Are you a woman in eCommerce?
Have an idea for an eCommerce business, or want to take your online store to the next level? Check out the range of eCommerce software listed on GetApp.
Let us know about your journey as a business woman in eCommerce in the comments below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d love to hear your story.