Ones to watch: For women, by women brands
Between new for-women-by-women brands breaking conventions and strong partners promoting women-owned companies, now it seems, is a good time for female entrepreneurialism.
Take Liv, for instance. Formerly part of Giant bikes, Liv is a brand new kind of bicycle made for women, by women, helmed by Bonnie Tu, the company’s female CEO and CFO of Giant Bikes. It’s a new kind of purpose-driven cycling company dedicated to making a new kind of bike. The team focuses on designing bikes that account for all the little differences that matter, like the length of a crossbar. They even do R&D with professional female cyclists.
Gamine Co, another new company recently featured on Cool Hunting makes denim jeans for the workingwoman, and not the office-working kind like me. The kind like Taylor Johnston, horticulturalist at Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, who created Gamine Co., for women like her who needed a denim that could withstand some action, and a design that actually flattered the body.
And then there’s Saint Harridan, a suiting sartorial brand for women and transmen frustrated by the poor fit and embarrassing customer service of traditional mens suiting brands. Established by Mary Going and funded via Kickstarter, Saint Harridan reimagines both the traditional masculine and feminine cut to create a nearly bespoke, yet ready-to-wear suit that keeps its wearers looking good and feeling good too.
As for partners, there’s the retailer powerhouse, Walmart. The big-box retailer recently announced it will begin featuring a“women-owned” logo on products made by women-owned companies. Walmart’s research suggest 90% of US female customers will go out of their way to buy products from women-owned companies, citing better quality. Not surprisingly, the retailer also found millennials aged 18-34 will likely also prefer to support female-owned companies. The new logo will begin rolling out next month to companies certified by WEConnect International.
What makes the promise of for-women-by-women companies so alluring, beyond their role-model inspiring female leadership, is their focus on the specific unmet needs of their buyers. Ones they answer with empathetic design, not mere cosmetic changes. Of course, the tension is to ask if or how these companies can evolve beyond a female-only buyer. But you don’t have to look far to find other for-women-by-women companies like Birchbox and Gilt Groupe who have transcended their original gender lines. That’s why I expect we’ll see not only more for-women-by-women brands in the years to come, but brands that center around an authentic story and empathetic design consumers of all genders can embrace.
This article by me was originally posted on our FutureBrand blog.