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International Women's Day is an annual celebration of women around the world and it takes place on Monday, March 8.
From breaking down barriers to inspiring us all, there are so many women to celebrate on Monday. If you're looking for some female-run businesses to support, we've got you covered. These women continue to champion change and encourage future generations.
This year’s theme for IWD is #ChooseToChallenge. You can join the day's celebration by posting an image of yourself on social media with your hand raised high to show that you choose to challenge and call out inequality.
In honour of IWD, we've rounded up 38 companies we love that are run by women to help introduce them to you.
Mejuri is a female-led team as 80 per cent of the staff are women and the company was co-founded by CEO Noura Sakkijha and COO Majed Masad. The company sells affordable jewelry designed and made by Mejuri directly to women primarily online and two showrooms.
SHOP IT: Mejuri.com
Spanx is a shapewear company, founded by Sara Blakely in 1998. Spanx helps shape the world by focusing on helping women feel great about themselves and their potential. Spanx offers everything from leggings, shapewear, bras and activewear.
SHOP IT: Spanx.com
LIVA is a Canadian-born and female-led raw date sugar company. LIVA was founded by female entrepreneur Lubaina Rakla. It is a pure, organic, all-natural and versatile whole food sugar alternative to traditional sweeteners. Lubaina founded LIVA out of pure necessity and desire to find a healthy, organic alternative to traditional sugars
SHOP IT: LIVAFoods.com
Big Drip Jewels is a Canadian, Black-owned business run by Krystyna Black. It is a spiritual jewelry shop that makes all its products from natural materials. They sourced locally or from small business owners to help support others' dreams. The products are made by hand and are cleansed with incense to remove any negative energy lingering and help attract positive energy back in. Big Drip Jewel's products include chokers, bracelets, Buddha beads and anti-anxiety oils.
SHOP IT: BigDripJewels.com
Knix was launched by Joanna Griffiths with the goal of transforming an underwear market that had too much frill and not enough function. A trailblazer with the creation of Leakproof Underwear, she continues to focus on listening to what people want and bringing revolutionary solutions to life. Knix includes products like shapewear, bras, underwear, activewear, loungewear and more.
SHOP IT: Knix.ca
Leia is your little escape into a world of beauty and self-care. Created by Valeria Lipovetsky, Leia is a personal collection of products that are tried, tested and trusted by her, for you. By connecting with her online community of over 1.5 million followers, Valeria recognized a need for women to be empowered and informed when it came to products that would help highlight their beauty and personal style. Currently, the brand showcases a selection of jewelry and sunnies and most recently launched its first apparel line with The Everyday Sweatset at the end of 2020
SHOP IT: leaicollection.com
Sympli is a Canadian leisurewear brand created by women, for women. Sympli launched in 2001 when their Canadian founder set out to create a style to inspire women of all ages and body types to be their most confident selves. Their clothing is inspired by refined and playful simplicity.
SHOP IT: Sympli.com
Chickapea is a B-Corp company that makes organic, non-GMO, gluten-free pasta made of two simple yet nutritious ingredients: chickpeas and lentils. Shelby Taylor, the founder of the company, believes it’s Chickapea’s duty to set a positive example for her community and the world. Having founded and grown the company while raising two young sons, she hopes to inspire women and mothers to follow their passion for entrepreneurship.
SHOP IT: Chickapea.ca
Ellie Mae began building the foundation of her brand in 2014. Ellie Mae has evolved into an established brand with seasonal collections that epitomizes the collective memories and feelings from the people and places that struck a chord with her. Now her designs are worn by Hollywood it-girls like Bella Hadid, Gwen Stefani, Reese Witherspoon, Kate Hudson and many many more.
SHOP IT: EllieMaeStudios.com
Miriam Alden Schmidt is the founder of the Canadian brand BRUNETTE The Label. This company has many different options of clothing available including sweatshirts, tees, hoodies, jackets, dresses, jewellery and more.
SHOP IT: Brunettethelabel.com
Trang Trinh is a strategy and operations leader, who obtained the Chartered Accountant designation with PwC before driving finance strategy and business operations at Loblaw Companies and Joe Fresh, then moving to Deloitte. Trang worked on numerous mergers and acquisitions during her time at Deloitte, leading the cannabis sector from an M&A lens. Trang brings her strategic expertise and deep relationships in the sector to her role as CEO of TREC Brands.
SHOP IT: TrecBrands.com
Ashleigh Brown is the founder of SheCann Cannabis, a place for women to share their journeys with medical cannabis. Ashleigh reached the end of her path with traditional medicine and turned to medical cannabis to manage symptoms of endometriosis and to reduce the number of seizures she has due to epilepsy. SheCann is empowering women to take control of their lives and health.
LEARN MORE: SheCanncannabis.com
Genevive Savundranayagam and Sheba Zaidi launched Mahara Mindfulness during the pandemic as they saw there was a need for people to find a way to manage mental health. Their first product, The Human Being Journal, was developed as a direct response to the pandemic to help people gain much-needed perspective. As avid journalers, they knew that it is scientifically proven that journaling is one of the most cost-effective ways to deal with anxiety and stress.
SHOP IT: MaharaMindfulness.com
Digby Paints is modernizing the way Canadians shop for paint. This local, female-led company was co-founded in 2019 by Jill Torrance, a paint industry veteran with 20+ years experience in merchandising, marketing and design, and Emily Kinread, a digital marketing expert. Together they offer 60 Digby can’t-go-wrong colours, plus all the supplies you need delivered to your door. You can pick your colour from the comfort of your couch.
SHOP IT: DigbyPaints.com
Pivot Skincare is the new, plant-based, locally-loved, Toronto skincare company. As a female and family-founded, Canadian company, Cindy Berg and her three daughters are at the helm of the brand. Founded on health and sustainability, Pivot Skincare carries nourishing skincare products, with ingredients incorporated from local, environmentally friendly vendors.
SHOP IT: PivotSkincare.com
Endy was founded because a great sleep surface is essential to our well being. Endy set out to design, make and deliver an amazing mattress. Endy is super unique in that their leadership team consists of 86 per cent women and the full team is over 76 per cent women - led by President and General Manager, Alexandra Voyevodina.
SHOP IT: Endy.com
Laura Whitaker is the owner of Wildcraft, a Toronto-based company devoted to creating 100 per cent natural skincare products. The products have an approachable price point, because she believes you can be indie, small and vegan and still have an affordable line. She makes all the products herself, and really believes that good skincare shouldn't cost a lot.
SHOP IT: Wildcraftcare.ca
In 2010, Ali Budd opened her own boutique design firm, Ali Budd Interiors, and has now become one of the most renowned high-end designers for luxury clients across North America, from CEOs to NHL players. She’s working on multi-million dollar home makeovers, creating her own custom furniture for clients, and right now is also caring for her children ages 8, 6 and almost 1, alongside her husband.
LEARN MORE: Ali Budd Interiors
Tech4SickKids' newest leaders are, Erin Bury, CEO of Willful, and Fatima Zaidi, CEO of Quill. As two of Canada's top women technology leaders, Erin and Fatima are on a mission to unite the Canadian tech community in raising $25 million towards big data, AI initiatives and a new emergency room at SickKids Hospital. Both Erin and Fatima have been instrumental in building the Canadian tech ecosystem - sitting on multiple boards and advising top startups. What's more, Tech4SickKids' all new tech council is 81 per cent women.
Martha Switzer is the founder and CSO of Sprout, a digital platform that makes wellbeing more accessible to the workforce. She started the company eight years ago with her co-founder Christina Ford and now operates with clients in Canada, America and Australia. Martha left her Fortune 500 job to start a corporate wellness company because she recognized that large corporations weren't serving their employees' wellness and mental health needs.
LEARN MORE: sproutatwork.com
Diana is the CEO of the luxury secondhand site, Lux Second Chance. A former bonds trader who worked in Singapore, Diana used her knowledge as a trader and applied it to the global consignment industry, becoming a recognized trailblazer in the North American fashion industry.
SHOP IT: LuxSecondChance.com
Becky Brauer is one of the co-founders of Vancouver’s own Fresh Prep. With a love for cooking, Becky has created over half the recipes for Fresh Prep and has been an integral part of the recent launch of Fresh Prep’s first-of-its-kind Zero Waste Kit, which aims to solve the problem of excessive single-use plastics in meal kits.
SHOP IT: Freshprep.ca
Baljit Sidhu is a certified tea sommelier and nutritionist who runs an endoscopy clinic in Ontario. She is also a yoga instructor and mindfulness stress reduction facilitator. Baljit recently founded Tea Freak, a line of herbal and leaf teas inspired by her work in disease prevention and love of everything holistic, inclusive and mindful.
SHOP IT: TeaFreak.com
Reetu Gupta, President & CEO of Easton’s Group Hotels & The Gupta Group, is challenging the status quo while running one of the largest private hotel and development firms as a woman of colour in a male-dominated industry. At only 38, she is now spearheading The Gupta Group’s diversified business portfolio of 20 hotels + 6 more in progress in addition to the 5 million sq. ft. of residential and commercial properties under development across Canada.
LEARN MORE: GuptaGroup.ca
Treana Peake is the founder of Obakki and The Obakki Foundation. Obakki is a purpose-led lifestyle brand that connects people through modern design. Everything they curate is handcrafted and produced in partnership with their network of world-class artisans. With a global fashion brand that funds its charitable counterpart, Treana is a celebrated entrepreneur and philanthropist. Treana is known for her hands-on approach to philanthropy, travelling to Africa over 60 times to gain knowledge of the culture and build relationships with the people.
SHOP IT: Obakki.com
Jennifer Tkachuk-Tremblay, founder and Chief Executive Officer of somm™, an innovative new app that is trailblazing in how people select and buy wine. The company is proudly founded by women, led by women and to date, has been largely financed by women investors. The somm™ team is working with one of only two female Master Sommelier’s in Canada, amplifying its female-led focus.
LEARN MORE: BeTheSomm.com
Ashlea Atigolo is an award-nominated, multi-faceted woman who is breaking barriers and stereotypes by running and owning her own award-winning, global sustainable menswear brand, EBYAK. All products are made from organic cotton and printed in the UK in a renewable energy-powered factory.
SHOP IT: EBYAK.com
The desire to inspire collective action that will divert plastic from homes, and thus landfills brought together friends, single moms and self-described climate nerds Lisa Karandat and Alexa Monahan to start Good Juju. After years of working in the natural health industry, they joined forces in 2020 and have just launched the brand. Good Juju sells shampoo bars and laundry strips. Made of certified organic ingredients, these last for 50-75 washes and they are safe for colour-treated hair, comes in 4 varieties.
SHOP IT: HelloGoodjuju.com
Back in 2019, Anya Gomulski and Bex Dagless established Brixton Life Drawing with the aim of making art more accessible in our local community. Not too long after, the pandemic hit and they swapped Zoom business meetings for Life Drawing classes. Offering their classes as pay-what-you-can, they have endeavoured to keep their creative classes accessible to all and have also supported charities by donating a percentage of profits to them. Anyone around the world can join their weekly online Zoom classes.
SIGN UP FOR CLASSES: BrixtonLifeDrawing.com
Londre was dreamt up on a beach while co-founders, Ainsley Rose and Hannah Todd, were working on a photoshoot in Sayulita, Mexico. They created the most flattering, high-quality swimwear with the lowest possible impact. Londre has recycled 100,000 plastic bottles off of the streets and beaches of Taiwan into their sustainable swimwear.
SHOP IT: Londrebodywear.com
Étymologie is a science-driven skincare company on a mission for sustainable beauty. Étymologie was founded by Raquela Cheesmond as a solution for her sensitive, acne-prone skin and her passion for creating a sustainable, high-performance skincare line. Étymologie is formulated in Montreal and manufactured in Rocky Mountain hugged Calgary, Alberta.
SHOP IT: Etymologie.ca
This year for International Women's Day, Pinterest launched a special International Women’s Day edition of the Pinterest Shop to feature exclusively women-owned small businesses from around the world, empowering these brands to be discovered globally.
SHOP IT: Pinterest Shop
Keisha Lamptey and Adeline Louison, are founders of Nuances Self Care, which offers skin and hair care products for the Black community. Keisha and Adeline realized that there was a lack of natural and affordable products for the Black community in Canada, relying mostly on importing products from the United States. To fill this gap, they decided to embark on an entrepreneurial journey during the pandemic, developing natural and ecological products that met the Black community's needs.
SHOP IT: Nuances Self Care
Owned and led by black entrepreneur Candice Mayers, Orijin Jewelry is a lifestyle and jewelry brand that gives back to the Toronto wellness community with their different collections and accessories, that drops with every phase of the moon.
SHOP IT: OrijinGold.com
This Toronto-based elevated activewear brand helps Canadian womxn take back their confidence by offering high-end fashion that hugs the natural curves of individuals of all shapes and proportions.
SHOP IT: AzurFit.com
Natasha Raey created Bloom & Elix as a platform to share everything that she believes comprises wellness. Natasha has also created a line of Bloom & Elix dietary supplements for women that bring together simplicity, wellness and elegance.
SHOP IT: bloomelix.com
Graydon Skincare was created by Graydon Moffat and offers you results-driven skincare, formulated with clinically-proven superfood ingredients. This minimalist, luxurious Canadian brand offers high-performance skincare where you'll find actives like botanical retinol, collagen, peptides, hyaluronic acid, probiotics, niacinamide, vitamin C, and even gemstone crystals.
SHOP IT: GraydonSkincare.com
Elle Johnson Co. is an award-winning botanical-based luxury skincare line targeting women of colour established in the fall of 2017. Founded by LaVonndra "Elle" Johnson, a brand strategist for many years, their vision is centred around making women feel beautiful, radiant, and confident to bare their skin. Their product line includes a comprehensive skincare regimen of cleansers, moisturizers, and treatment products that are catered to specific skin types. To do this, they work with Sticker You to create products that look and feel as beautiful as their customers.
SHOP IT: ElleJohnson.co