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Real Women Approved: Women Owned Brands to Support

Jul 23, 2019

Real Women Approved: Women Owned Brands to Support

Above, wearing two women-owned favorites–Kaanas sandals (order your normal size, they’ll be a bit snug at first but they stretch a bit!) and Vo Jewelry Ollie Hoops (she’s a local Chicago designer!) Dress is English Factory c/o Shopbop  c/o shopbop (size up!) 

Happy Tuesday, friends! 

Excited to be back here with another Real Women Approved–this time, women owned brands to support! If you’re new around here, RWA is a blog series FULL of amazing suggestions from you guys–my amazing readers! I typically ask for suggestions on a specific topic on Instagram stories, pool together the most popular answers, and publish them in a blog post!

If you need to play catch-up, definitely do so right here–we’ve rounded up everything from the best bras to books, podcasts to the best Spotify playlists and a whole lot more in between. 

I know this post could’ve gone on for DAYS–I got so many good recommendations–but a LOT of repeats, so I chose the most popular ones (and threw in a couple of my own!) so next time you’re looking for a gift, a new pair of jeans, your next self-care obsession, lipstick–or, anything really–you can turn to this list to support your fellow amazing girlbosses! 

First, some fun facts about Women Owned Businesses, pulled from The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC): 
  • From 2007 – 2018, total employment by women-owned businesses rose 21%, while employment for all businesses declined by 0.8%.
  • Women own 4 out of every 10 businesses in the U.S. 
  • Since 2007, the number of women-owned businesses has increased by 58 percent, which is better than businesses overall, which increased by only 12 percent. 

  • As of 2018, there are 12.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. Compare that to 1972, when there were only 402,000 women-owned businesses, representing 4.6 percent of all firms. 

  • Last year, 1,821 net new women-owned businesses were launched every day. Women of color founded 64 percent of those new businesses.

Now, let’s get shopping! 

Women Owned Brands to Support

WOMEN-OWNED BEAUTY & WELLNESS BRANDS

Glossier

DUH. Such a cult classic! Started by Emily Weiss after launching her blog, Into The Gloss, Glossier goes by the motto, “Skin first. Makeup second.” They started with skincare staples and have since launched a few makeup products, too! They are also fairly clean brand (with some exceptions, but nothing too worrisome!) My favorite is their Moisturizing Moon Mask! It leaves your skin SO SOFT and insanely hydrated!! 

Lawless Beauty 

Many of you have DMed me about this brand over the past couple of months! I need to check them out! I seriously love founder Allie’s commitment to clean beauty and she comes with an incredible resume! She was on the Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2016 as one of the youngest founders of Suja Juice. She started Lawless after realizing all of the chemicals that cosmetic companies sneak into our products and wanted to offer a cleaner alternative for long-lasting makeup products. Lawless is the real deal when it comes to providing a truly non-toxic product. I especially have my eye on their Matte Lipsticks.

Equilbria Women CBD

You’ve seen me talk about this brand on my stories before and mentioned in my last Ask Jess–I’m seriously OBSESSED with their products–they have been life changing. Equilibria is an amazing for women, by women CBD company who specifically engineer products to help women who suffer from everyday stress, anxiety, sleep issues, cramps, chronic pain, you name it! They are basically the farm to table equivalent of CBD–all plants are grown by them on their organic farm in Colorado, and they adhere to medical grade standards in every part of the production process. (Granted, men can also use their products too–Neal loves them!).

I’m doing a whole post on this but it’s taken a lot longer than expected because I want to make sure it’s very thorough and answers all your questions! Stay tuned! P.S. You can get 20% off any of their products (other than the trial) with my link or entering code JESSKEYS at checkout! 

Beautycounter

This was a very popular nomination! You guys already know how much I use and love Beautycounter! They’re my go-to for clean makeup and skincare essentials, founded by total girlboss, Gregg Renfrew. (Yeah, she’s a girl, but her name is Gregg.) Listen to her interview on Girlboss Radio here! The coolest part about Beautycounter is that they’re a company with a huge mission: the change the skincare industry in the US and Canada to make our regulations safer. Right now, the FDA hasn’t passed new laws governing the safety of personal care products since the Great Depression. There is no product testing required for a beauty or skincare product to make it to our shelves–and that’s scary! Beautycounter is changing that, and has played an integral part in the rapid grown of the Clean Beauty movement. 

Ritual

There is some serious buzz (AKA I’ve been seeing them all over instagram) around these multivitamins that are specifically designed for women. They consist of nine essential nutrients and are 100% vegan and allergen free!

FASHION BRANDS

Top: Outdoor Voices (exact color sold out, but they have others!) Leggings: Outdoor Voices (crop version)

Top: Outdoor Voices (exact color sold out, but they have others!) Leggings: Outdoor Voices (crop version)

KAANAS: 

I first discovered this brand on Shopbop after falling in love with their woven sandals (worn above), and had no idea the background of the brand! Kaanas is founded and run by four sisters, who are second generation shoemakers, growing up helping their parents in their mothers shoe factory and fathers shoe store. The entire company is now a family affair. They partner with local artisans across South America, Central America, and Africa to collaborate and develop unique designs, help them build their production capabilities, ensure fair compensation, and feature their work, giving credit where credit is due. HOW COOL IS THAT!? Shop their products at Shopbop! 

Senita Athletics  

Founded by two sisters who were also all-star track & field athletes in college. They offer super affordable (like leggings under $40 affordable!) fitness gear in tons of great silhouettes and colors. They even offer maternity sizes! Love that these shorts have a pocket for your phone and this tank is the perfect cropped length (because you know I hate long workout tanks!) with a cute open back. 

Outdoor Voices 

I’ve written about how much I love this brand before! They have awesome activewear pieces that you truly can head straight to brunch in after your workout; they were one of the first pioneers of athleisure so we owe them a lot ? I love that the brand was founded only 5 years ago by a badass 30-year-old CEO who wanted to give the big-name brands a run for their money. 

Girlfriend Collective

Another awesome athletic wear brand started by a woman! I love their commitment to sustainability (their pieces are made from recycled water bottles!) and ethical manufacturing. You can read more about how they team up with companies like ECONYL to help clean up our oceans here.  

Doen 

Not only is Deon female-founded by two sisters, the have an all-female team! Seriously, check it out. Most pieces in their California-cool collection are made in L.A. but anything that they outsource overseas is to factories that are even female owned or co-owned! These girls have a serious commitment to decrease the gender gap in their supply chain. Not only are they supporting women in the workforce, but they also design a children’s collection every year with proceeds going to benefit Room to Read, a non-profit that works with communities in Asia and Africa to develop literacy skills and helps support girls to complete secondary school. You can read more about their mission here

Brass 

This brand is focused on helping you create a capsule wardrobe, which you know I’m an advocate for! Jay and Katie started the brand because they were tired of their closets being filled with fast-fashion and one-off pieces that they never wore. Instead, Brass focuses on neutral basics that you can mix and match to really get longevity out of your closet. I think it’s so cool that all of their fabrics are machine washable (more tips on caring for your clothes here!) and these fit session videos help you envision how the pieces will look on your body type.

Cuyana 

Love this brand!! This is a brand that has been featured in a ton of my gift guides in the past and I am a hugggeee fan of their travel bags! I really love their commitment to sustainability by focusing on creating quality leather goods that truly do last forever! Their idea of “fewer, better things” is one that I think we can all get behind. They also have a really cool concept called Lean Closet in partnership with H.E.A.R.T. where they’ll send you a linen bag with your order to fill with items you no longer want that can be donated to a victim of abuse that needs a fresh start and each time you donate you’ll earn $10 towards your next purchase. 

Travel Case Set: Cuyana

Travel Case Set: Cuyana

Universal Standard 

Founded by two friends who were tired of the non-existent options for extended sizes, Universal Standard started as a way to offer more fashionable, trendy pieces more accessible to women up to a size 40. You guys said the fit of the clothes is unreal! And how cool is this? They guarantee your clothing for up to 1 year. That means, if your weight fluctuates at all within the year, Universal Standard will send you a new piece, free of charge That returned piece is then sent to a woman attempting to enter into the workforce. *Note to self: do more with this brand! 

ThirdLove 

I LOVE MY THIRDLOVE BRA!! At first I hated it. ?I felt like I was the only one! But they really do mold to your body, and fit like nothing else. Of course the first bra to introduce half cup sizes would be founded by women. Because of Thirdlove, I also figured out that I’m actually an *in between* cup size–which is why none of my bras ever fit quite *perfectly*–crazy, right? 

You guys also have raved about this brand, not just me! Another feel-good factor: they’ve teamed up with I Support The Girls, a non-profit that provides bras and menstrual products for girls and women experiencing homelessness. #womensupportingwomen 

Lunya 

Another brand I’ve seen all over instagram–and I’ve heard such amazing things! They’re all about comfortable sleepwear (washable silk!?) that is a serious upgrade from your guy’s oversized tee and boxer shorts. 

Alice & Wonder

Alice & Wonder is a local boutique here in Chicago that is run by my sweet friend, Ali. They always have the cutest selection of clothing and my non-local gals can shop with them online! Almost ALL her stuff is $100 or under, and she has really cute gifts too! 

Dagne Dover 

Dagne Dover is one of your most recommended brands (see Real Women Approved Work/Travel Bags here!)– this backpack in particular is a reader favorite! 

JEWELRY BRANDS

Mejuri 

Mejuri is a Canadian-born company makes the most beautiful and affordable jewelry that’s perfect for layering. Because the brand is direct-to-consumer, they’re able to eliminate the middleman retailer and avoid the traditional markup of jewelry. Plus, each of the designers they work with practices ethical production so you can feel good about buying these pieces. (THE EVERLANE OF JEWELRY, PERHAPS??) 

Vo Jewelry 

Another friend of mine, Amy Vorel, is the designer behind Vo Jewelry! (She also happens to be Ali of Alice & Wonder’s BFF!) I wear her little gold hoops constantly–they’re $30 and go with EVERYTHING! 

LIFESTYLE BRANDS

Stasher 

These little bags are genius! I think I’m the only one who doesn’t own them already. (What’s wrong with me!? *Adds to cart**) Essentially, they are airtight, reusable silicone baggies that you can use to cook, freeze and store! It’s a super simple way to finally ditch single-use plastic bags. 

Parachute 

Parachute first started with the idea to create beautiful, comfortable and affordable bedsheets but they now offer a whole range of home goods!

LOLA

LOLA is a subscription-based company that delivers organic menstrual products straight to your door. Unlike some of their competitors, LOLA tampons do not contain synthetic fibers, chemical additives, fragrance, dyes, chlorine bleach, GMOs, pesticides, toxins, latex, or formaldehyde. 

MegMade: 

Another incredibly talented friend of mine, Meg started selling repainted vintage furniture on Craigslist and then grew her company into an INCREDIBLY successful venture! (All while being a VERY busy mom!) It’s been so fun watching her do all the things over the years–many of my favorite pieces from my home are from Meg! You can purchase already finished pieces or create your own custom piece. You don’t even have to be in Chicago–she ships everywhere! 

women owned brands to support by jess keys

Small Packages: 

(Above!) This was actually a brand I was introduced to this past winter when Shaheen and I did an IG collab with them and I fell IN LOVE! Admittedly I am never impressed with any of the “gift box” concepts out there–they’re all full of cheesy stuff nobody will actually use, but Small Packages makes stunning gift boxes for all occasions and for all the women in your life, starting at just $35! All the items in the gift boxes are one of a kind artisanal products from small brands, many of them woman-owned as well! Each package also includes your message hand-written on a letterpress card. ?

SO much cuter and more meaningful than flowers, right? (And way more budget-friendly, too!) I loved the company so much I harassed their awesome founder, Julie, into getting drinks with me when I was in NYC and we hit it off immediately! ?

So basically, if you support Small Packages, you’re not just getting a perfect, meaningful gift–you’re supporting lot’s of women-owned businesses, and my friend Julie, too! ☺️

Thanks everyone for weighing in on such an amazing post! I know this is just the TIP of the Iceberg, but would love to continue to add to this post as time goes on! What are some of your favorite female-run brands?

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