According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report, it may take well over a century to close the global gender gap at our current pace, with the economic gap requiring upwards of 200 years to close. At the same time, more and more women are taking the leap to build mission-driven businesses from scratch. Their primary focus? Empowering other women with economic opportunities.
Before we get into who some of these amazing brands are, if you like learning about brands that are changing the way the world does business, want to be the first to know about new arrivals on DoneGood, and get exclusive discounts delivered right to your inbox, sign up for email from DoneGood below. We'll start you off with over a dozen ways to save on ethically-made products!
Now, let's get into it... Here are 15 women-owned businesses we thought deserved recognition this week of International Women’s Day.
What They Make | Women's Apparel, Accessories
Discount | Use code SYMBOLOGY20 and get $20 off your first purchase of $150+
At Symbology they take style seriously. Spearheaded by founder Marissa Heyl, they’ve attracted the attention of professional women looking for an ethical alternative to Free People and Anthropologie. Their clothing is hand-crafted by women artists from India and the West Bank. They empower the artisans they work with to ensure they have a voice and contribute at every step in the production process.
What They Make | Jewelry
Starfish Project helps women in Asia escape trafficking and exit the sex trade by providing living wage jobs making really cool jewelry. The women are also trained to develop new skills so they can move up to roles as managers, accountants, graphic designers, and photographers, and on to fulfilling careers. The non-profit provides shelter, health care, counseling—and for the first time, hope—for thousands of women!
What They Make | Artisan Handbags
Discount | Use code PURSECLUTCH25 and get an additional 25% off sale items
Jen Lewis, the founder of Purse & Clutch, has created a line of handbags made by artisans in Guatemala and Ethiopia that are almost exclusively women. She’s committed to paying a living wage and providing needed health services. And she’s committed to making a line of the highest quality purses and clutches for those creating a style within their wardrobe that can last, selecting a few essential pieces to complement many things. For the past 5 years, she has built her brand by curating a selection from other fair trade providers. She’s now excited to launch her own line this month, pulling from years of listening to what her customers like most. We can’t wait to see what comes next for Jen and her Austin-based social enterprise!
What They Make | Accessories, Home Goods, Children's Clothing
Fair + Simple founder Molly is passionate about answering the question of who made the products that fill up your home. In case you missed it in the name, she wants all of the accessories, home goods, and kids' clothing in their shop to be fair and simple: fair labor practices and simple materials that are good for the environment. Fair + Simple also believers that when you invest in a woman, her entire community reaps the benefit. They live that out too—they are woman-owned, empower female artisans all around the world, and give back a portion of their profits to causes that empower women.
What They Make | Swimwear
Discount | Use code BOLDSWIM15 and get 15% off your first purchase.
Sustainable, unique, and, of course, bold swimwear is the brainchild of BOLD Swim owner Tiffany. She created the business after struggling to find a swimwear brand she could identify with. The result is a line of beautiful swimwear that is designed to be both size and racially-inclusive. BOLD Swim empowers its workers and uses biodegradable fabrics and made-to-order designs to reduce waste. The result is beautiful, luxurious swimwear that inspires all women to be bold.
What They Make | Handmade Shoes
Proud Mary Footwear has reason to be proud! Their high-quality, sustainable raffia shoes are handmade by female artisans in Morocco. Every pair of shoes provides 1-2 days of fair work for these artisans. This women-owned business takes a special interest in its supply chain and workers so that women all over the world can be empowered as well.
What They Make | Women's Apparel, Socks
Maggie's Organics wants you to feel the Maggie's difference in their products. How exactly is Maggie's different? They're obsessed with sustainability; their GOTS certified cotton comes from small farms in the U.S., Argentina, Peru, Tanzania, and India. They're also a member of the Fair Trade Federation, meaning their products are made by skilled workers who earn fair wages, are treated respectfully, and work in co-ops and family-owned and operated shops. Of course, all of this would mean nothing without a great final product—which they also have! Check out their collection for fun, functional, affordable, and ethical women's essentials.
What They Make | Children's Activity Kits
For Purpose Kids' Founder Misty envisions "a future where children learn love and acceptance over hatred and fear." The company was formed when she started thinking about what would happen if we taught our children about doing social good from a very young age, and those lessons carried on into adulthood. The result is For Purpose Kids activity kits, which include books, crafts, games, and activities that teach 5-10 year-olds about doing good for people, communities, animals, and the planet. For Purpose partners with ethical and sustainable companies to make these kits happen, and they donate 5 meals for every kit sold—they're kind of a master class in good companies that do good.
What They Make | Men's, Women's, and Children's Clothing
Majamas Earth founder Germaine is passionate about beautiful clothes that don't destroy our beautiful planet. And she's got both of those down really well. On the beautiful clothes front, Majamas offers a variety of casual and lounge apparel as well as a wide selection of women's intimates. The prints and patterns are fun and playful—nothing boring to be found in any of their collections. On the beautiful planet side of things, Majamas clothes are made from organic cotton and other sustainable fabrics. They're serious about low impact production and they do everything right here in the USA so they can take extra caution to be both environmentally and labor-friendly.
What They Make | Jewelry, Accessories, Bags
Vi Bella means "beautiful life" in French, and that's what Vi Bella founder Julie hopes for the 60+ artisans who are fairly employed by her business. Vi Bella started when Julie visited Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake and wanted to help strengthen Haitian families and communities through dignified employment. The work then spread to Mexico and to a transitional housing complex in Iowa. These artisans produce a variety of beautiful and affordable jewelry, accessories, bags, and home decor that will give you a little slice of the beautiful life, too.
What They Make | Women's Clothing, Accessories
Lev Apparel founder Krystle Marks was a personal stylist—until she got really frustrated with the fashion industry. She was frustrated that clothing designers made clothes that only fit and flattered certain women's body types. She was frustrated that there are 40 million garment workers in the world and 85% of them are women making less than $3 a day. So she closed her styling business and formed Lev Apparel with a passion to create a body-positive, women-empowering business. She's got lots of great styles to fit and flatter—all ethically-made by at-risk women in New Delhi.
What They Make | Women's, Men's, and Girls' Apparel
Discount | $20 off orders $100 or more + free shipping with discount code DONEGOOD
Katie went to Nepal and met survivors of sex trafficking. She wanted to help, so she quit her job and started an apparel company out of her bedroom to empower women overcoming the sex trade with confidence and economic self-reliance. Six years later, Elegantees has grown and employs 20 women who earn a living wage and have educational opportunities. Elegantees’ offices are in New York, where Katie lives with her husband and son — restoring lives one “elegant tee” at a time (the “tees” are actually a lot of cool tops of all kinds).
What They Make | Women’s Clothing, Accessories
Discount | 20% off with discount code DoneGood
Pushpika, the founder of MarketPlace Handwork of India, is the real deal. She’s been fighting for fair trade wages for garment workers before “fair trade” was a thing. This non-profit works with 500 artisans (mostly women) in India to set fair prices for their work. The result? Seven independent cooperatives across the country empowering women with entrepreneurship opportunities that were traditionally reserved for men!
What They Make | Bath and Body Products
Discount | $10 off orders $50 or more with discount code donegood10
Plastic bottles. They’re everywhere. Most of us use them once and discard. The Refill Shoppe does things differently. Since 2010 they’ve been making a difference one bottle at a time by helping people create their own fragrances for their bath and home products and then refilling the containers once the supply runs low. At last count, they’ve refilled over 43,000 bottles (they have a running tally on their website). Michelle, the company’s founder, says “hot bubble baths, good smells, and less plastic in the world” makes her happy. Us too.
Co-Founder & Former Club President, DoneGood
Award-winning online communications director for Children’s Defense Fund, social impact campaign leader, Harvard Kennedy School graduate