When it comes to the workplace, unfortunately, more often than not, women start out on the back foot. But, as the below businesses prove, it doesn’t always stay that way for long. From the woman who created everyone’s favourite champagne to the founder of a beauty brand now worth $1.7 billion, we’ve rounded up the brands founded and led by women that you need to have on your radar.
Founded by Peta Heinsen and Ilona Hamer
After noticing it was near impossible to find simple yet sophisticated swimwear, Australian sisters Peta Heinsen and Ilona Hamer realised a gap in the market and set out to create just that. Launched in 2015, Matteau quickly became a favourite within the fashion industry, before the world, including celebrities Phoebe Tonkin and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, took note. In 2018, they expanded into resort wear and hosted their first fashion show as part of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia this month.
Founded by Emily Weiss
After being introduced to the world via her role on The Hills as Lauren Conrad’s Teen Vogue colleague, Emily Weiss started popular beauty blog Into The Gloss, before later launching her own skincare and makeup line, Glossier. With its millennial pink packaging, products that actually work and a clever social media strategy, Glossier quickly became of the beauty industry’s coolest brands and this year, the company was valued at a casual US $1.2 billion (approx. AU $1.7 billion).
3. Vestiaire Collective
Co-founded by Fanny Moizant
During the 2009 recession, Fanny Moizant noticed an influx of fashion industry insiders selling their second-hand designer goods and realised there was a gap in the market: a place that authenticates and prices luxury items based on their condition, then sells them on. With the help of five other co-founders, Vestiaire Collective was started out of Moizant’s Paris apartment and now has over 8 million members in 50 countries worldwide.
4. Veuve Clicquot
Led and Innovated by Madame Clicquot
In 1805, before women were even able to open their own bank accounts, 27-year-old Madame Clicquot, also known as La Grande Dame of Champagne, was paving the way for businesswomen everywhere. Taking the reins at Maison Clicquot after her husband’s death, she went on to create the first vintage champagne in 1810 and the first known blended rosé champagne in 1818; forever shaping the landscape of champagne. Almost 250 years on, Veuve Clicquot is still one of the largest champagne houses in the world and keeps a strong connection to Madame Clicquot’s innovative and audacious spirit through the Veuve Clicquot Business Women Award. Launched in 1972, the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award is a celebration of bold, entrepreneurial women, giving recognition to women all over the world breaking the mould in their respective fields.
Founded by Whitney Wolfe Herd
Former co-founder of Tinder, Whitney Wolfe Herd, left the dating app on bad terms: suing for sexual harassment, an experience that eventually led her to start a dating app of her own with a major difference: women front of mind. In December 2014, feminist dating app Bumble was born, giving women the power by requiring them to initiate conversation. Fast-forward five years and Bumble is the fastest-growing dating app in the U.S., valued at over US $1 billion and with two extra modes, Bumble BFF, for finding new friends, and Bumble Bizz, for networking and business opportunities.
6. Frank Body
Co-founded by Jess Hatzis and Bree Johnson
After meeting in university, Australians Jess Hatzis and Bree Johnson co-founded Frank Body, a natural beauty brand that was originally made up of one product - a coffee scrub – which quickly became a cult product and was later joined by 27 others. With a Forbes 30 Under 30 listing, a Veuve Cliquot New Generation award and over $20 million in brand sales in 2016 alone, we’d say this side hustle didn’t do too badly for itself.
Founded by Melanie Perkins
At just 22, Melanie Perkins flew from Perth to Silicon Valley, San Francisco to pitch her idea - a simple online design tool named Canva - to investors. Despite trying for three years to secure investments with no avail, this time Perkins’ idea struck a chord and, finally, the young Australian woman’s idea was realised. Last year, Canva was valued at over $1 billion with an estimated million users across 179 countries.
8. Mecca Cosmetica
Founded by Jo Horgan
In 1997, 29-year-old Jo Horgan quit her job at L'Oreal, sold her house for funding, and launched her own company, Mecca. After noticing how difficult it was to shop for cosmetics in department stores, with each brand’s employee trying to sell their products only, Horgan had the idea to create a shop for all different kinds of cult skincare and beauty products. Now, Mecca has expanded to over 100 stores across Australia and New Zealand and sells its own range, Mecca Max.
9. The RealReal
Founded by Julie Wainwright
Having a taste for designer goods and high-end fashion can often be a great thing when it comes to your wardrobe offerings, but not so great when it comes to your credit card. That’s where e-commerce entrepreneur Julie Wainwright comes in, founding The RealReal, a website selling second-hand authentic designer goods, in 2011. With $288 million in funding raised, The RealReal is now one of the world’s most successful consignment businesses.