7 Women-Founded Brands You Should Know
Did you know that in 2020, only about 2.3% of venture capital went to women entrepreneurs, which actually declined from about 2.8% in 2019. On top of a lack of funding, a FreshBooks study found that Canadian women-owned businesses across all industries are taking nearly twice as long to recover from the financial setbacks brought on by COVID-19 compared with businesses owned by men. These statistics show just how important it is that we recognize International Women’s Day, a day to “Celebrate women's achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.” To celebrate International Women's Day, we highlighted some of our favourite fellow women-founded brands doing amazing things!
As a new mother, Lopa van der Mersch founded Rasa out of a personal need for a coffee alternative that provided energy, without any of the potential negative side effects (stress, anxiety, poor sleep quality). Unsatisfied with the coffee alternatives on the market, which were either chalky, weak, low-quality or lacked functional benefits, Lopa took matters into her own hands. With a decade-long personal devotion to Ayurveda and through partnering with an herbalist, Rasa was born, and with it - a dark, rich, and roasty coffee alternative, loaded with adaptogens.
Founded in 2016, Jill Van Gyn created Fatso to offer a lower cost nut butter that packed more nutrition into one spoonful than any other nut butter available. With the belief that delicious and healthy food should be accessible to all, Jill delivered Fatso to grocery stores all over BC and offered demos every weekend for the first two years of business. Jill promised herself early on that if Fatso ever got legs she would use her resources and platform to champion social justice causes. A Certified B Corporation, Fatso has since donated to and supported a wide range of charities and organizations that focus on harm reduction, housing issues, food security, LGBTQ+ communities, Black Lives Matter (both Canada and US), and First Nations communities.
Lunette was founded by Heli Kurjanen in 2005. Tired of bleeding into tampons and pads, Heli decided to buy a menstrual cup online, only to find that these things also didn’t work for her. With laser vision and improved design rooted in safety, ease, and comfort (and compatible for menstruating people of every age, shape, size and childbearing stage), Heli led the charge to create the world’s top menstrual cup – Lunette. Team Lunette believes in bringing education, opportunities, and intelligent period care solutions for every menstruating person on the planet – because no one deserves to stop their normal day-to-day life just because they don’t have access to safe and comfortable menstrual care.
Encircled was founded in 2012 by Kristi Soomer. As a strategy consultant working 80-hour hour weeks and traveling weekly for work on an airplane, Kristi was constantly frustrated by the lack of stylish and comfortable clothing that was versatile enough for a boardroom meeting, travel, a night out or hanging at the hotel. While packing for a last-minute trip, a broken suitcase forced Kristi to edit her wardrobe into a much smaller bag. Realizing that she was overpacking, Kristi dreamt up a multi-way design, which ultimately became the first Encircled design - the Chrysalis Cardi - one style that can be worn 8 different ways. From the beginning, Kristi was committed to building a brand that she could be proud of. Encircled is a Certified B Corporation and all Encircled styles are ethically-made in Toronto from the finest, softest, most flattering eco-friendly fabrics.
Flax Home was founded in 2017 by three friends looking for high-quality, ethically made, Canadian-designed bedding. When they couldn’t find it, they created their own, and Flax Home was born. Founders, Oana Papuc, Anna Heyd, and Vivian McCormick, have since grown Flax Home into linens for the kitchen, bathroom and for children. Flax Home works with local clothiers to up-cycle unused material and turn it into creative pieces that benefit real people. They also donate part of their proceeds to the Atira Women’s Society, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting women and children affected by violence with safe and supportive housing.
Founded by Céline Jennison, Anato is an organic skincare line that nurtures your body and cultivates care for the planet. After being cured from an immune deficiency through herbalism at the age of ten, Céline developed a passion for plants and nature. Upon completing her Masters in Environmental Sciences in 2016, Céline set off to travel the world with her brother. With little room in her pack for skincare, Céline created a lightweight herbal medicine kit and body care essentials. A year later Anato was launched, combining Céline's love for sustainable agricultural practices and experience concocting herbal remedies and skincare. Anato operates through a ‘closed-loop' business model, based on using renewable resources (tree crops and perennial plants) to create products that offer you solutions to plastic pollution and inform you about regenerative agriculture.
Mary started her entrepreneurial journey in December, 2014 as a young immigrant to Canada with her partner. Growing up in Sao Paulo, Mary discovered her passion for chocolate and Brigadeiros in a small kitchen alongside her mother, and moved to Toronto with a vision to bring a taste of her culture to the city. Mary’s Brigadeiros are all handcrafted, small batch and made from high quality ingredients, sourced directly from local producers.
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