Simply put, women are remarkable—especially in business. According to Hult International Business School, women represent economic power and offer consumer insight, accounting for 85% of consumer purchases. Identifying with this audience, women-owned businesses have increased 74% over the past 20 years—creating a new generation of women in leadership and C-Suite roles. Here’s five key lessons you can learn from women business owners and apply to your entrepreneurial success.
Sophia Amoruso, Founder of Nasty Gal and Girl Boss Media
It all started on eBay in 2006, where Sophia Amoruso set up an online clothing shop selling vintage and local thrift store purchases. Her sales took off quickly, and she set up her own stand-alone brand for her loyal and frequent customers. The company continued to see great success, until 2016, when Amoruso filed for bankruptcy and sold the company to British online retailer Boohoo.com for $20 million. But that didn’t stop her hustle. Around the same time, Amoruso became a New York Times best-selling author for her book, #GirlBoss, which was developed into a Netflix series, and she now offers courses and resources for entrepreneurs and start-up owners who need assistance in building their businesses.
Tory Burch, Founder of Tory Burch
Tory Burch gained excellent work experience with top fashion brands, such as Ralph Lauren and Vera Wang, before starting her own line, Tory Burch, in 2004. Burch has seen great success with her brand, becoming a household name for fashion. However, she wanted to make sure her work didn’t go unnoticed—in a good way. Burch also founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, providing support to women and families with breast cancer, and spreading awareness about the disease. Don’t forget to give back. Tory Burch has taught us that regardless of how big your empire may become, philanthropic work is still important.
Cashmere Nicole, Founder and CEO of Beautie Bakery
Adversity didn’t stop Cashmere Nicole from reaching her dreams. From being a single mom at 16, to finishing school without much support, to being diagnosed with breast cancer early in her twenties, Nicole simply didn’t stop. She bought a website domain for her vegan-friendly beauty line at 27, and it took her years to finally see success. She tried different methods for her business, and influencer marketing was the best option. Now, her brand is sold in nearly 1,000 Ulta stores, often selling out. Her advice? Having a nearly 75% African American workforce in her company, she emphasizes the importance of diversity in the workplace. Also, put in the work—roll up your sleeves and get it done.
Kathrin Hamm, Founder and CEO of Bearaby
Kathrin Hamm’s great idea to sell heated, weighted blankets for improved sleep came to her while traveling as an Economist at the World Bank. She started her company in 2018, but what she didn’t realize was that two years later, a worldwide pandemic would increase the demand for her product dramatically. A waitlist of 44,000 blankets formed during the pandemic, forcing Hamm to assemble the resources to act quickly. So, she did, and in 2020, saw revenues approaching $21 million. What can we learn from Hamm? Preparation is key. Be ready and able to move swiftly when duty (or demand) calls!
Melanie Perkins, Founder of Canva
Australian technology entrepreneur Melanie Canva and her co-founder, Cliff Obrecht, founded Canva, a user-friendly online design tool, in 2007. Canva wasn’t an instant creation—the two learned many of their tools and tricks to business while creating Fusion Books, their first startup company. Today, Melanie Canva is one of the youngest female CEOs of a tech start up valued over $1 billion. What can we learn from Perkins? Start somewhere, iterate, and keep reinventing until you land on “it”.
The ‘climb to the top’ isn’t an easy one—and that’s why it’s great to rely on the resources and advice from those that have paved the path. These women business owners are inspirational to everyone.
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