Inspiring Stories from Fashion Savvy-Women Entrepreneurs
Dreaming, drafting, and designing are all key aspects of building a zealous women-led brand. And for these ten fashion-savvy women entrepreneurs, countless hours of passion-filled work paid off! To sum up, they each overcame hurdles in an effort to create a brand that they are proud of, truly showcasing their determination and tenacity.
Read on to meet 10 fashion-savvy women entrepreneurs, in no particular order of accomplishments, to motivate you to start your next entrepreneurial project! Be empowered!
10 Inspiring Fashion-Savvy Women Entrepreneurs
Ashley Merill’s personal mission is to elevate and empower women and girls in all that she does. When she became pregnant with her first child, she put her personal mission into action. A combination of the sudden news of becoming a mother and millions of drab child-like pajamas inspired her to overcome her hesitations about opening her own business to create luxury sleep and loungewear for the modern-day woman. Vogue, Travel +, Leisure, Who What Wear, and Harper’s Baazar all recognized Merill’s brand by complimenting the soft fabric and fashionable designs.
As soon as Salone Monet could read, she was found flipping through the latest fashion magazines. As a young black girl, she felt disheartened. The “nude” shoe was frequently promoted as a staple piece that all women needed to have in the back of their closet. Because of the lack of representation, the need for color equity amongst the so-called nude shoe was overwhelming. In 2018, Monet launched her namesake shoe brand, SaloneMonet. Her brand changed the flawed industry’s nude heel issue first-hand. Her shoes have a beautiful stain upper and leather lining, insole, and outsole, with a twenty-four karat gold, plated buckle. Monet’s hard work and dedication paid off when Beyonce strutted her notable nude heels around town.
Erina and Veronyca
When best friends Erina and Veronyca decided to open up their own luxury shoe brand, they envisioned the woman who would wear their shoes. A woman who is unapologetically herself and knows her own style. They worked tightly with fellow women-owned businesses when it came to vendors and suppliers because they wanted to empower other women. Each detail of the shoes is hand-cut and sewn to create the ultimate feminine and ethereal shoe. In addition to making high-quality shoes, they proudly support Dress for Success, a non-profit organization that empowers women through economic achievement around the globe.
Out of passion to help people create beautiful spaces they love, Nicole Gibbons reimagined the paint shopping experience by creating designer-curated colors and high-quality paint available to be delivered anywhere. Gibbons made it a priority to contain zero VOG within all of her products. VOG is full of toxins and carbon-based solvents that pollute the air and lead to negative health risks. Her brilliantly colored paints gained national attention on top design media outlets such as HGTV, The Oprah Winfrey Network, and Good Morning America.
Rianna Kounou and Nina Knaudt
Rianna Kounou and Nina Knaudt wandered the town treasure hunting at flea markets for vintage fabrics, colorful prints, and expert craftsmanship. The pair of women entrepreneurs are experts in vintage collectibles and designer fashion from past decades. Their love for vintage and design inspired them to create their own luxury label brand that stands for extraordinary designs named RIANNA + NINA. Their expert craftsmanship was displayed at an exhibit in the Vogue Salon, which led to an invite to Berlin Fashion Week. Pieces of their collections can be found globally in over forty stores and luxury hotels.
The revolutionary brand, Reformation, was formed when analyzing the wasteful tendencies of the fashion industry. Eighty percent of the clothing produced from the founder’s previous clothing line, Ya-Ya, went to the waste pile. Through witnessing the wasteful tendencies of the fashion industry first-hand, Reformation was born. The brand originally began as a vintage clothing store in Los Angeles, but after gaining the attention of shoppers around the world, Reformation expanded into making its own sustainable clothes. In 2014 Hali Borenstein joined the team as the Director of Merchandising. Her hard work and dedication to maintaining the brand granted her the position as CEO.
Elle Liu had a dream. A dream to create eco-friendly bedding. Every night Liu struggled with night sweats and waking up with breakouts. After looking into the cotton industry, she discovered that cotton is one of the dirtiest and thirstiest crops in the world. She was on the hunt to find the best fabric to have a good sleep. After talking with mill manufacturers, she discovered that eucalyptus fabric is naturally antibacterial. In an effort to protect the planet, her company has invested in windmills to contribute to major sources of power that they use in their facilities.
Founded in 2012 by Elena Antoniades Hart and Ian Hart, E L A London began as a luxury boutique in Knightsbridge. Now an online fashion brand, it retains personal touches through curated pop-up stores globally. Elena’s expertise as a MADAME FIGARO award-winning women’s fashion designer is showcased in the meticulously curated range, featuring her label E L A London’s handmade fashion jewelry and collaborations like Yara Jewelry. The brand boasts esteemed names like Elisabetta Franchi, Edward Achour, and Celia B, alongside new sustainable additions. E L A London, led by Elena’s vision, epitomizes elegance, quality, and individual style.
Adriana Epellboim-Levy’s vision for her luxury brand ALEPEL was curated from her love for intersecting art and fashion. She attended Architecture school in New York City and always appreciated the beauty of architecture. Being in New York City, allowed her to attend Fashion Week shows and participate in photoshoots. Her education, let her create statement pieces that invoked the sensibilities of creative souls. In the support of local art communities, local artists hand-paint all of her collections. In 2016, ALEPEL became a finalist for The Future of Fashion Program, which showcased the Spring and Summer collections.
Laura and Maggie
Laura and Maggie have come a long way from meeting at spin class. After spin, inspiration to create their own exercise brand together hit. OXB is a sweat-proof jewelry company that does not rub off, irritate your skin, or ends up in the landfill after a few years. Every OXB product created uses hypoallergenic metals for skin sensitivity. The dedicated OXB women-led team is from Denver, Colorado. They all equally care about design, sustainability, and the fitness community. In addition to creating jewelry, they help repair broken chains to help eliminate waste.
Designer Theresa Ebagua’s African heritage inspired her to create her own luxury footwear brand, Chelsea Paris. The brand is named after her two daughters and embodies European craftsmanship and African-infused designs, colors, and prints. Her designs intrigue non-conformists women who push beyond societal boundaries in their fashion choices. She realized that there were very few black, female designers in the luxury shoe space and wanted her daughters to be encouraged by her own success in business to follow their passions.
Absorb and reflect upon the start-up stories from the ten fashion-savvy women entrepreneurs listed above. With hard work and tenacity, you can build a brand, project, or movement that you are truly proud of. There are tons of jobs for entrepreneurs out there, so get researching as the more you expose yourself to the more creative you can get!
Words By Lauren Geiser