25 Cool Women-Owned Businesses You Likely Don't Know About

March 08, 2017 0 Comments

made in canada encircled

It's International Women's Day. Around the world, there are events to support women and strike against the injustices that still affect the female gender. At Encircled, we make immense efforts to support women-owned businesses.

Three out of four of our sewing contractors are female owned and operated. Yes, that's 75% of our production. The fourth contractor is not, but our main contact is female - and she's clearly the one driving that ship!

We are also women-owned.

The founder (me) is the majority shareholder in Encircled, and though not on purpose, we employ an all-female staff (fashion industry side-effect!).

 

I've always described myself as a feminist, and I believe strongly in empowering women. The first gender discrimination I ran into was when I was 8 years old.

I was cut from the boys' hockey team at my elementary school, even though I was one of the fastest skaters on the ice. I learned later that it was because it was logistically 'annoying' to have to get a second change room for the girls. This is something I fought. I ended up making the team a year later.

 

When I graduated university and started working, I had my first exposure to corporate-level gender discrimination.

The instances were numerous: from being asked at trade shows if I was the 'hired booth bitch' (I wasn't, I was the division manager) to then finding out my predecessor made 1.5x my salary. I had higher-ups hit on me during dinners that I thought were to discuss my performance, and had C-level executives tell me that they had a daughter my age. It pervaded every level and almost every job I had.

 

What I learned from it, however, was that in order to fuel change, I needed to be the change. So, on International Women's Day, I ask you to stand up for women.

My experiences in gender discrimination are nowhere near as bad as what's still experienced locally and globally. I'm merely sharing them to illustrate that in a world where #girlboss is pervading all forms of social media, and steps have been made in the right direction, there is still a big glass ceiling at work, and in life. 

It's far worse globally where sometimes women are not afforded basic rights; rights that North Americans take for granted (like the ability to go to school, vote, and get birth control).

Shop at a women-owned business, attend a rally or protest, or even post or tweet about it. Do something. 

 

To get you started, here are 25 cool women-owned businesses you can start supporting today, that are doing great things in the world:

1. Kurandza

Founded by Elisabetta Colabianchi, Kurandza is a non-profit social enterprise that enables women in Mozambique to become leaders in their communities through education, training and knowledge sharing. Their store sells a variety of handcrafted goods, from bags to earrings, all made by the collective in Mozambique.

2. Moorea Seal

Founded by the inspiring Moorea, this instagram-worthy store curates handmade artists from all over the US and globe. 7% of profits go to a wide variety of charities. They support worthy causes such as Brazil without Barriers, and Washington Trails Association.

3. Dear Survivor

Founded by Christine Longoria, this is one of my fave bag-makers out there. Her mission is to help survivors of human trafficking in California by donating 10% of every dollar to GenerateHope. Christine's broader vision is to expand that partnership with a charity and even employ people within her organization. Her bags are gorgeous, and yes, made in USA by hand. 

4.  Little Birdie Love

Founded by Erin and Sarah, this made-in-USA kidswear line is cute and puts ethics first. LBL also gives 10% of their profits to create period kits through the organization "Days for Girls". 

5. The New Blak

Founded by designer, Amanda Dare, the New Blak aims to help consumers understand where their fashion comes from, from end to end. Their collection of womenswear is 100% made in USA from sustainable fabrics, using plant-based dyes. 

6. Far + Wide Collective

Founded by Hedvig Alexander, Far + Wide partners with talented artisans in emerging and developing countries to curate fair trade clothing, jewelry and decor. They work directly with NGOs to ensure that craftspeople receive a fair price for their handmade goods.

7. Sseko

Sseko designs was founded by major girl boss, Liz Forkin Bohannon. Sseko is based in Uganda and designs innovative multi-way travel sandals, leather goods and accessories. Their mission is to empower women through a self-sustaining financial model. To date, they've helped send 87 women in Uganda to university.

8. Juice Beauty

Juice beauty is an organic beauty line that is on a mission to replace your toxic drugstore products with effective, natural products that are good for your skin and earth. Founded by Karen Behkne, Juice Beauty makes all of their products in the USA, uses sustainable energy to power their manufacturing plant, uses recyclable containers and materials, and many local and organic ingredients in addition to supporting over 5 charities. 

9. The Giving Keys 

Founded by Actress and Singer Caitlin Crosby, the Giving Keys makes jewelry out of repurposed keys. Over the past three years, they've employed over 28 people and enabled them to move out of homelessness and become self-sufficient. 

10. Danielle Laporte 

Ooh, we're such fans of Danielle Laporte! This Canadian is an inspiring life coach, but also has a line of books, candles, cards, journals and agendas. All made in USA and using sustainable materials and ethical practices.

11. Bhava Studio

Founded by designer Francesca Pineda, Bhava Studio makes high quality, stylish footwear out of vegan, organic, recycled and cruelty-free materials. Each pair is tested for wear by their team in New York City and made by artisans globally.

12. Wildcraft Skincare

One of my new faves in skincare -- made in Toronto by hand, from organic ingredients and at a reasonable price point. Wildcraft believes that natural beauty can be nourishing and support you to get the skin you deserve. My fave product? The Face and Body scrub!

13. Joyous Health

I first met Joy at the beautiful mama-focused yoga studio, Toronto Yoga Mamas. She's a big supporter of Encircled, which is awesome (and a fan of our dressy sweats!). Joy is a Toronto-based health and nutrition coach who also has an amazing line of natural body care products, teas and cookbooks to get you back on the path to good health, naturally.

14. Knixwear

Founder Joanna Griffiths has combined the elements of technology, performance and design to create the ultimate pair of underwear. Their initial invention was a pair of leak proof underwear. Now, Knixwear is also committed to changing the conversation around body image and models in the fashion industry. Their 8-in-1 bra was one of the highest funded kickstarter campaigns ever!

15. Ollie Jones Clothing

Cheryl founded Ollie Jones clothing in 2012, after having her son and being frusrated by the lack of comfortable and stylish baby leggings. Using organic fabrics, and hand-making each piece in Toronto, Ollie Jones has quickly become a favourite of mums everywhere.

16. Belmonte Raw

One of our favourite raw, cold-pressed juice companies, Belmonte Raw was founded in 2009 by Carol Belmonte. Belmonte Raw uses high-quality organic and natural ingredients to create juices, cleanse routines, snacks and salads.

17. Spirit of Vera

Using sustainable, ethically-sourced, and upcycled metals such as sterling silver, Vera has a collection of versatile, beautiful jewelry that she handmakes in her studio in Toronto. Certified by the Responsible Jewelry Council, Vera's pieces are timeless and modern, sure to find a home for years in your jewelry rotation. 

18. Northern Flicker Candles

Started by mama and crafter, Northern Flicker makes candles just north of Toronto. Their candles use 100% US grown and GMO-free, vegan, renewably sourced soy wax. Northern Flicker uses recyclable packaging in their products, as well as supports a wildlife ocean conservation fund.

19. C4 Eyewear

C4 stands for Canadian, creative, collaborative and charity - key elements to founder, Carla D'Angelo. C4 makes fashion-forward eyewear for women, designed in Italy. Through their charity work with their sister brand, AYA, they've raised over $100,000 for OneXOne's school breakfast program. 

20. Stowaway Cosmetics

Stowaway Cosmetics makes travel friendly, modular premium makeup and skincare. Less is definitely more with their right-sized lipsticks, foundations, blush and eye-makeup. Founded by Chelsea Crowley, and Julie Fredrickson, their products are also gluten-free and cruelty-free.

21. Away Luggage

Former Warby Parker employees Jen Rubio and Steph Korey teamed up to create this innovative, direct-to-consumer online luggage brand. Away combines high quality materials, and innovative technical features to create one of the best carry-on bags out there.

22. Solly Baby Wraps

Founded by mama, Elle, in 2011, Solly Baby wraps has quickly become the go-to for new mamas for baby wearing. Her baby-wraps are made in the USA from one of our fave fabrics, Modal. Solly baby proudly supports "Every Mother Counts", an organization focused on making childbirth safe for all mothers globally.

23. Mala Collective

Mala Collective makes beautiful mala necklaces, bracelets, scarves and other small accessories from sustainable materials, made with love by hand in Bali by fair trade artisans. Mala collective supports several charitable organizations including Opportunity International, Live below the Line, Karma Teachers and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. 

24. Parachute Linens

Founder Ariel Kaye had a dream of recreating that 5-star hotel bedding feel in her own home, and launched Parachute in 2014. Using premium natural fibers, Parachute is able to go direct to consumer and cut the cost to an affordable level. Parachute also supports the charity, "Nothing but Nets", which provides mosquito nets to prevent malaria in sub-saharan Africa.

25. The Wild Unknown

For those who love a little woo-woo and crystals, meet the Wild Unknown. Founded by Kim Krans, the Wild Unknown makes hand-illustrated tarot decks, guidebooks, candles, and incense. The Wild Unknown gives back a portion of their proceeds to organizations like The Himalayan Institute that helped build a library in Cameroon.

 

Love travel? Join our League of Travelistas -
A community for women who love to travel. Click here to request access to our private facebook group.

All photos are copyright Encircled. Contact us for permissions/rights to re-use or repost images. 





Also in Live Lightly, Love Loudly

Meet the Accessories Studio

June 21, 2017 0 Comments

The Accessories Studio is located in the former-garment-district of Leslieville. Their space is unique, and when we enter the Accessories Studio we’re immediately taken by the abundance of...

Continue Reading

A Photo Journal of Hoi An Ancient Town, Vietnam

June 14, 2017 0 Comments

Hi there, my name’s Kendra and I’m the Customer Experience Coordinator here at Encircled. In mid-2015 I travelled through Southeast Asia for nearly three months...

Continue Reading

Meet the Tee Specialists Studio

May 24, 2017 0 Comments

Owned by Jimmy, The Tees Sewing Studio specializes in something super-Canadian: Hockey Jersey Manufacturing. They are also experts in sewing stretch knits and passionate about...

Continue Reading

Please scroll down to find the size chart for each design. If you have any questions on sizing, please try out our online size recommender or click here to contact us with questions prior to ordering. Size charts are in alphabetical order based on design name.
If you're on our product page viewing the size chart, click anywhere outside of the pop-up (or on the X in the top right corner) to close the size charts, or click here to surf back to our main collection page.

 

The Chrysalis Cardi

Size
Garment Length (Laid Flat) Garment Width (Laid Flat) Bust 
(inches)
Waist 
(inches)
Hip 
(inches)
Height 

Regular

(xs - xxl)

38" 39.5" 32"-41" 25"-34" 35"-44" 5'2"-6'0"

Petite

(xxs - m)

35" 34.5" 27"-35" 23"-28" 30"-38" <5'4"

Maxi

(xl - xxxl)

43" 41.5" 41"-52" 33"-45" 44"-56" <6'0"

Fit Advice: The Regular Chrysalis Cardi is a one size fits most garment ranging from sizes XS-XXL or 2-14. It can be easily belted in multiple ways, however the Regular is not recommended for petite or shorter woman due to the volume of fabric - See Petite Cardi. The Regular is also not recommended for curvier/taller women due to fabric pulling around the bust or bottom - See Maxi Cardi.

We recommend watching the how-to wear videos to see how much fabric drape and length you would like in your finished garment. If you are in between sizes, it is best to size up and the garment can always be tailored shorter to better suit your look - you cannot add more fabric unfortunately!

The Petite is best suited for women 5'4" and under with a smaller frame, although it will also work on women above this height (depending on preferred length when styled). 

The Maxi is best suited for all women under 6’0” with a curvier shape to eliminate any uncomfortable fabric pulling, although it will also work on women who are a bit less curvy (depending on preferred length when styled). 

Model's Measurements: Isabel shown in both the Petite and Regular Chrysalis Cardi product shots is approximately 5'10" tall and a size 2-4 (S). Jessica shown in the Maxi Chrysalis Cardi product shots is approximately 5'3" tall and a size 12-14 (XXL). Anthea shown in the beach shot is 5'4" tall and a size 2-4 (S). Kristi shown in the Cardi "How-to-Wear" videos is approximately 5'9" and a size 4-6 (M).

*If you have any questions on sizing, please contact us - Remember it is best to provide us with your height and size range of garments that you already own! 

The Dressy Sweatpant

STYLED HIGH RISE - WORN AT YOUR NATURAL WAIST

Worn higher up with rise sitting at natural waist. Straight leg tapers from the hip to ankle opening.

Size XS (0-2) S (2-4) M (6-8) L (10-12) XL (14-16)
Waist (inches)
23" - 25"
25" - 28"
28" - 32"
32" - 34"
34" - 37"
Hip (inches)
32" - 34"
35" - 38"
38" - 41"
41" - 44"
44" - 47"
Inseam (inches) 28.5"
STYLED LOW RISE - WORN AT YOUR HIP
Slight drop-crotch look with rise sitting just above natural hip. Straight leg tapers to ankle opening.
Size XS (0-2) S (2-4) M (6-8) L (10-12) XL (14-16)
Waist (inches)
25" - 28"
28" - 32"
32" - 34"
34" - 37"
36" - 39"
Hip (inches)
35" - 38"
38" - 41"
41" - 44"
44" - 47"
46" - 49"
Inseam (inches) 28.5"

Fit Advice: We recommend staying with your usual size if you are in between sizes. The cut on The Dressy Sweatpants is more generous and the fit is meant to be drapey and slightly harem. Therefore, it's better if they don't fit snug. 

Model's Measurements: Isabel shown in the product shots is approximately 5'10" tall and a size 2-4 (S) is wearing a size small in Black, Navy, and Smoke Dressy Sweatpant. Daria is 5'4" tall and a size 0-2 (XS) and is wearing an extra small in the Slate Grey Dressy Sweatpant.

 

The Essential Long Sleeve Top

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 12 - 14 (XL) 14-16 (XXL)
Bust 28 - 30" 30 - 33" 33 - 36" 36 - 39" 39 - 42"
42 - 45"
Waist 23 - 25" 25 - 27" 28 - 30" 30 - 33" 34 - 36"
36 - 38"
Hips 30 - 32" 33 - 36" 36 - 38" 38 - 41" 41 - 44"
44 - 47"
Front Length / Back Length 24 - 31"
24 - 31"
24 - 31"
24 - 31"
24 - 31"
24 - 31"

 

Fit Advice: The Essential Long Sleeve Top fits a bit larger than our usual Tees. We suggest to order true to your normal size, however since the styling is more flowy and forgiving than our other Encircled Tees it is suggested to size down if you prefer a tighter look. If you want a tighter fit, size down. The length can be hemmed by a tailor. As the fabric has a natural stretch, it will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown around the chest and hips. 

Models Measurements: Kristi shown in the product shots is approximately 5'9" tall and a size 6-8 (M) is wearing a size Medium in The Essential Long Sleeve Top. 

 

The Evolve Top

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M)
10 - 12 (L)
14 - 16 (XL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
Waist 20-22" 23-25" 26-28" 32-34" 35-37"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
Fit Advice: The fit of The Evolve top is drapey but tapers towards the hip. It tends to fit large. We recommend for you to size down from your normal size if you are unsure. The fabric on The Evolve top has a natural stretch that will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown. 
Model's Measurements: 
Isabel shown in the product shots is approximately 5'10" tall and a size 2-4 (S) wearing a size extra small in The Evolve Top.

 

 

The Flipside Legging 

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 14 - 16 (XL)
Waist 20-24" 25-28" 28-32" 32-34" 34-37"
Hips 30-34" 35-38" 38-41" 41-44" 44-47"
Inseam 28" 28"
28"
28"
28"

Fit Advice: We recommend sizing up if you are in between sizes with your measurements. The Modal fabric on The Flipside Leggings is not as 'taut' as synthetic fabrics like polyester, so if you prefer a snugger fit in the waist area of your leggings, size down. The Flipside Leggings are pre-shrunk.

Model's Measurements: Isabel shown in the product shots is approximately 5'10" tall and a size 2-4 (S) wearing a size XS.

 

 The Minimalist Legging + The Minimalist Crop Legging

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 14 - 16 (XL)
Waist 20-24" 25-28" 28-32" 32-34" 34-37"
Hips 30-34" 35-38" 38-41" 41-44" 44-47"
Inseam

28"

(crop 20")

28"

(crop 20")

28"

(crop 20")

28"

(crop 20")

28"

(crop 20")

Fit Advice: We recommend sizing down if you are in between sizes with your measurements. The Bamboo fabric on The Minimalist Leggings is tighter than the Flipside Leggings. The Minimalist Leggings are pre-shrunk.

Model's Measurements: Kristi, shown in the product shots is approximately 5'9" and a size 6-8 (M), wearing size Medium in the Minimalist Leggings. 

 

The Nomadic V-Neck

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L 12 - 14 (XL) 14 - 16 (XXL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
42.5 - 44.5
Waist 23-24" 25-26" 28-29" 30-31" 32-34"
35-37"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
45-47"
Length 28" 28" 28" 28" 28"
28"

Fit Advice: The Nomadic V-Neck fits true to size. If you want a more relaxed fit, size up. The length can be hemmed by a tailor. As the fabric has a natural stretch, it will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown around the chest and hips. 

Model's Measurements: Anissa shown in the product shots is approximately 5'2" tall and a size 0 (XS) is wearing a size extra small in The Nomadic V-Neck.

 

The Retrograde Kimono Dress

Size
XS (0-2) S (2-4) M (6-8) L (10-12) XL (14-16) 
Bust (Inches)
28 - 32"
31" - 34"
34 - 37"
36 - 40"
40 - 49"
Waist (Inches)
23" - 25"
24" - 27"
27" - 30"
30" - 34"
35" - 40"
Hip (Inches)
30" - 34"
34" - 37"
36" - 39"
39" - 44"
44" - 49"
Length (Inches)
At longest, 30"
At longest, 31"
At longest, 32"
At longest, 33"
At longest, 34"

 

Fit Advice: The Retrograde Kimono Dress runs larger than our other Encircled designs and is our most "oversized" piece in the collection. We suggest to order true to your normal size to get the intended look. If you prefer a slimmer or tighter look, we suggest choosing a size down than your usual Encircled size.

Model's Measurements: Andrea shown in the product and styling shots is approximately 5'7" tall and a size 0-2 (XS) is wearing a size Extra Small. 

The Reversible Pencil Skirt

Size
XS (0-2)
S (2-4)
M (6-8)
L (10-12)
XL (14-16)

Waist (inches)

23" - 26"
26" - 29"
29" - 32"
32" - 34"
35" - 37"

Hip (inches)

32" - 34"
35" - 38"
38" - 41"
41" - 44"
45" - 47"

Length Total (inches)

20"
21"
22"
23"
24"

Fit Advice: The Reversible Pencil Skirt fits true to size, but it's suggested to size up if you fall between sizes. The pencil skirt offers a smooth silhouette that slightly tapers from waist to hips and down through to the hem, hitting just at knee length. A pencil skirt should smoothly skim your curves, so to get a perfect fit, first identify your largest measurement then choose the size offering that range while still allowing for some stretch. The fabric on The Reversible Pencil skirt has a natural stretch, that will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown.

Model's Measurements: Monica shown in the product and styling shots is approximately 5'6" tall and a size 2-4 (S) is wearing a size extra small. 

 

The Revolve Dress

 
Size
0-2 (XS)
2-4 (S)
6-8 (M) 10-12 (L) 14-16 (XL)
Bust (inches)
27.5 - 29.5 "
30.5 - 32.5 "
33.5 - 35.5 "
36.5 - 38.5 "
39.5 - 41.5 "
Waist (inches)
23-24 "
25-26 "
28-29 "
30-31 "
32-34 "
Hips (inches)
30-32 "
33-35 "
36-38 "
39-41 "
42-44 "
Length (inches)
At longest, 38.5" Adjustable
At longest, 39" Adjustable
At longest, 39.25" Adjustable
At longest, 39.5" Adjustable
At longest, 39.5" Adjustable

Fit Advice: The Revolve Dress is designed to fit drapey that tapers towards the hip. We recommend staying with your typical dress size. If your hip measurements are above the guide, size up. The length can be hemmed by a tailor. The fabric on The Revolve Dress has a natural stretch, that will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown.

Model's Measurements: Isabel shown in the product and styling shots is approximately 5'10" tall and a size 2-4 (S) is wearing a size extra small. 

 

The Wanderer Sleeveless T 

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 12 - 14 (XL) 14 - 16 (XXL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
42.5 - 44.5"
Waist 23-24" 25-26" 28-29" 30-31" 32-34"
35-37"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
45-47"
Length 28" 28" 28" 28" 28"
28"

Fit Advice: The Wanderer Sleeveless T fits true to size. If you want a more relaxed fit, size up. The length can be hemmed by a tailor. As the fabric has a natural stretch, it will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown around the chest and hips. 

Model's Measurements: Jamie shown in the product and styling shots is approximately 5'4" tall and a size 2 (XS) is wearing a size extra small in The Wanderer Sleeveless T.