Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Women-Led Businesses

As of February 2021, women owned 12.3 million or about 42% of all U.S. companies. That number has risen exponentially in the last 50 years, as only 402,000 businesses in 1972 were woman-owned.
Supporting women owned companies, their founders, and employees, is crucial to helping those numbers to continue to rise over the next 50 years. Growing a supportive community of female business owners is something that, as a CEO herself, Hope Smith does on a daily basis.
Through her reach on social media and in interviews, Hope has expressed her admiration for friends and peers within the community of women entrepreneurs.
Women can support women in many different ways, but one of the most important is through respect. Especially when it comes to trailblazing women who enter into previously male-dominated spaces, like the boardroom.
Singer and entrepreneur, Rihanna puts this notion into perfect perspective, “There’s something so special about a woman who dominates in a man’s world,” she notes in Harper’s Bazaar. “It takes a certain grace, strength, intelligence, fearlessness, and the nerve to never take no for an answer.”
Let’s take a look at a few of the women-led businesses that Hope supports and admires, and give them some more of the attention they’ve earned!

Violet Grey

A beauty and wellness industry leader for the better part of the last decade, Violet Grey has revolutionized the way we buy and learn about luxury beauty products online.
The company strives to help its customers feel confident in the products they purchase, and does so by collaborating with artists, nail artists, hair stylists, and skin care professionals to identify the best possible products.
“The Industry’s Beauty Edit” and “Essentially every beauty lover’s ultimate oasis when it comes to elevated yet discerning product curation,” are just a few of the ways Violet Grey has been described.
At the heart of the operation is its founder and COO, Cassandra Grey, who has coined her own business as “the Rotten Tomatoes of beauty.”
Grey, who herself has been called “L.A.’s high priestess of beauty,” by the Los Angeles Times, also played a role in the launch of Hope’s own brand MUTHA™.
“There was no question that I wanted it to be Violet Grey. VG’s VIOLET CODE APPROVED accolade was absolutely imperative to the brand,” said Hope, when asked how she decided who would launch MUTHA™, “We had to be the best and be carried by the best and Violet Grey is the destination for best-in-class products.”
Grey also featured in the luxury skincare brand’s BAD MUTHA™ campaign, where she explained her own experiences with mom-shaming and times when she had to take a non-traditional approach to being a mother.
To learn more about Violet Grey and its mission to bring top-of-the-line beauty products to people around the world, follow them on Instagram.

Lingua Franca

A woman-owned company that Hope admires for their inclusivity and charitable efforts is the New York City based fashion brand, Lingua Franca.
Much like the beginnings of MUTHA™, which took place in Hope’s kitchen, Lingua Franca started, as founder Rachelle Hruska MacPherson puts it, “With a stitch.”
Since its beginnings, when MacPherson was just looking to burn off some anxiety and turned to sewing, the company has grown into what The Cut has called, “the official cashmere of the resistance.” A reference to the sweaters the company launched after the U.S. travel ban instituted in 2017, during which time Lingua Franca had multiple students from Iran working for it.
As the brand expanded beyond sweaters into swimwear, sweatshirts, and even sleep masks, its commitment to giving back hasn’t wavered.
Through its “Give a Damn” campaign, Lingua Franca has raised over $1 million. That money has been sent to various groups near and dear to the company’s heart. Some of the recipients include the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, the National Women’s Law Center, and Should She Run.
To stay up to date with the latest releases and happenings at Lingua Franca, follow them on Instagram.

Lawless Beauty

Founded in 2017, Lawless Beauty is a makeup brand with a very similar start to that of MUTHA™. Like Hope, who took it upon herself to formulate her own body butter during pregnancy, Lawless Beauty’s founder and CEO Annie Lawless was searching for a clean, toxin-free makeup and decided to create it herself.
The brand’s mission, as stated by Lawless is to develop “highly pigmented, full coverage, and long-wearing clean makeup with a no tolerance policy for sheer, wimpy, no-makeup makeup formulas and any kind of potentially toxic ingredients.”
Some of Lawless’ best selling and, as they put it, “Clean AF” products:
Lawless is also featured in the BAD MUTHA™ campaign, and gave words of advice to aspiring women who want to take the next step in their careers. “Never forget why you started,” she said. “That is your magic and what inspired you to do something different and blaze a new trail.”

Equality, Economics, and Women Entrepreneurs

The fight for gender equality on the economic front has been ongoing for decades, and while the situation is improving, there are still unfortunate realities when it comes to women-led businesses:
  • Women receive an average loan size to start a business of almost $5,000 less than men.
  • Women-led start-ups receive just 7% of all venture capital funds nation-wide.
  • Women ask for roughly $33,000 less in initial funding than men.
Closing this gender disparity won’t be easy, but by supporting women-owned businesses, and through inspiring the next generation of female leaders, change is possible.