Today's female entrepreneurs are the faces behind some of the most innovative and philanthropic health brands of our time. These 10 women had one thing in common before launching their groundbreaking ventures: they all recognized that something was missing from our world - be it healthy snack options, body-positive workout clothing, or even a way to overhaul our financial education. They decided to fill that gap with their ingenuity and intuitive leadership. Here are 10 incredible companies you didn't realize were run by women.
1. SoulCycle: Melanie Whelan, CEO; Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice, Co-Founders
The revolutionary workout empire, SoulCycle, began its journey as a single location on the Upper West Side. Rice and Cutler sought to revolutionize the way people related to their workout—incorporating drive, inspiration, joy, and community into an efficient training regimen. SoulCycle now stretches from coast to coast and is run by former COO, Melanie Whelan, recently featured on Fortune Magazine’s 40 under 40.
2. Oiselle: Sally Bergesen, Founder and CEO
Image Courtesy of Oiselle
Sally Bergesen set out to provide comfortable and versatile active wear to her community of female runners. Boasting 100 percent growth each year since its formation in 2007, she has more than succeeded. In fact, she is changing the industry itself by encouraging richer and more collaborative relationships between athletes and their sponsorship partners.
3. Birchbox: Katia Beauchamp, CEO and Co-Founder; Hayley Barna, Co-founder; and Mollie Chen, Co-Founder and VP of Brand Experience
Straight out of Harvard Business School, Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna combined their expertise to create Birchbox, the prominent subscription beauty product enterprise. They teamed up with former magazine beauty editor Mollie Chen to create this widely successful, consumer-focused company. Birchbox takes the mystery and frustration out of purchasing beauty products by shipping hand-selected, customized items right to the customer’s homes.
4. Beyond Yoga: Jodi Guber Brufsky, Chairwoman, Chief Creative Officer, Co-Founder; Michelle Wahler, CEO and Co-Founder
Courtesy of Beyond Yoga
After yoga transformed her outlook on life, life coach, yoga instructor, and PR entrepreneur Jodi Guber Brufsky, identified the yoga industry’s demand for flattering, comfortable, and stylish yoga wear for all body types and personalities. She joined forces with Michelle Wahler to create female-focused Beyond Yoga, celebrating body acceptance and a range of philanthropic ventures. Their yoga line also helps make it an easy transition from workout to leisure.
5. Peeled Snacks: Noha Waibsnaider, Founder and President
Image Courtesy of Peeled Snacks
In 2004, Waibsnaider realized that the snacking industry lacked organic options to support a healthy lifestyle. With an MBA from Columbia, an expansive base of connections, and years of experience in the field, Waibsnaider built Peeled Snacks from the ground up—right out of her NYC apartment. Between 2009 and 2012, the company grew an impressive 594 percent and is now carried by retailers across the country.
6. The Honest Company: Jessica Alba, Founder
Actress Jessica Alba, turned her focus toward improving the quality of children’s healthcare products when she became a mother in 2008. Frustrated with the prominence of manufactured fragrances and harmful petrochemicals in children’s products, Alba launched The Honest Company in 2012. The company featured a range of eco-friendly and natural items. In line with her original mission, the purchase of many products now support a variety of social and medical-research causes.
7. Proactiv: Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, Co-Founders
These two classmates at Stanford University School of Medicine embarked on their mission to revolutionize acne care in the late 1980's. Their celebrity-filled informercials skyrocketed their first skincare business, Proactive. Today, they are the doctors behind Rodan + Fields, which is the fastest-growing line of prestige skincare in the U.S. Across the country, over 150,000 independent consultants now market Rodan + Fields products, and the company has only continued to flourish, forming a full line of cutting-edge skin care products for anti-aging and overall skin health.
8. FEED: Lauren Bush Lauren, Founder
Lauren Bush Lauren founded FEED in 2007 after witnessing hunger around the world during her travels as a World Food Programme (WFP) Honorary Spokesperson. Today, FEED is a sustainable and fair-trade company and foundation, selling an array of products to ignite change in their consumers. Through the sale of their products, FEED provides meals for school children and micronutrient packets throughout the world. Each item, ranging from burlap bags to clothing and accessories, are stamped with the number of meals the item provides to a struggling community.
9. Cup4Cup: Chef Lena Kwak, Co-Founder
Chef Lena Kwak paired up with the acclaimed owner of French Laundry, Chef Thomas Keller, to create Cup4Cup - a line of gluten-free products that never sacrifice taste and texture for nutrition. Kwak's mission is to use her wide range of research and development/culinary skills to pinpoint marketable and innovative methods to serve the growing gluten-free community in a healthy and creative way.
10. LearnVest: Alexa von Tobel, Founder and CEO
Via Courtney Boyd Myers/Flickr
Alexa von Tobel sparked a new conversation among women and provided invaluable tools to restructure our society's outlook on financial health and education. Her website provides budgeting software, a wide range of a relatable articles on financial health, and access to certified financial planners. She is the author of a New York Times Bestseller, Financially Fearless, and hosts live events annually throughout the county, inspiring men and women alike to take charge of their financial endeavors and dreams.
1) Sally Bergesen is Awarded the Prestigious 40 Women to Watch Over 40 for Her Impact with Women’s Running Apparel Brand Oiselle. Endurance Sportswire. Accessed August 27, 2016.
2) Meet the Team. Birchbox. Accessed August 27, 2016. https://www.birchbox.com/about/team
3) Peeled Snacks CEO: Let's just say my first business plan significantly underestimated how much time and money I'd need. Food Navigator USA. Accessed August 27, 2016. http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/People/Peeled-Snacks-CEO-Let-s-just-say-my-first-business-plan-significantly-underestimated-how-much-time-and-money-I-d-need
4) How Two Dermatologists Built A Billion Dollar Brand In Their Spare Time. Forbes. Accessed August 27, 2016.