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Best of Indie Spotlight: Women-Run Small Businesses

Oct. 19, 2012
Shopping, Shopping News
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Every week or so, we’ll be writing about our favorite handmade, vintage, and indie finds of the week. Check out our coupon site for Etsy coupons and discounts for stores like these in our Indie Coupon Tool. Want to share something with us? Please leave a comment below.

Women-run businesses represent a growing movement in the online retail world. This year, Forbes published a list of “The 100 Women for Run The World” that includes the six female CEOs of Avon, Burberry, Wal-Mart, TJX, McDonald’s and HSN. Women may be more perceptive at understanding the consumer online shopping experience and what consumers want, plus women tend to shop more online than men. Not surprisingly, women retailers are experts at what women want to buy online and have a keen sense for what men desire to shop for as well. Also, the days of women homemakers are long gone as mothers raising a family find new ways to earn extra income from home by running online stores selling products they create themselves. Businesses run by women also often are more caring for the less fortunate, and many are charitable and philanthropic at the core.

Jeanne Chin, Creator of JCLA pet bags and accessories, shares her personal experience as a female entrepreneur: “My online store has given our company International reach.  We are approached every day by distributors and boutiques from all over the world.  Any woman who aspires to start her own business should make sure the endeavor is fueled by a burning desire to bring her vision into this world for the benefit of others. In the beginning your passion and your customers enthusiasm and gratitude will be the only ‘pay’ you receive.  Surround yourself with like minded entrepreneurs who are doing better than you. When you reach their level, challenge yourself to network with others who are further along than you.  If you remain a big fish in a small pond, soon you will run out of room to swim.  Find several mentors who can guide you along the way. Learning from your mentors mistakes will save you valuable time and money. Be sure to give back when you can.  95% of JCLA’s donations go to animal rescue organizations.  A couple weeks ago I agreed to donate to the Style Network’s Give and Get Fete benefitting Dress for Success. Over $65,000 was raised that evening! The money will go towards helping economically disadvantaged women attain and retain employment. As a female entrepreneur this cause resonated with me and I was happy to help.”

Here are our favorite awesome products from women-run small businesses that we discovered this week. The creators themselves share about what it’s like to run their businesses to inspire future female entrepreneurs to follow their passions.

San Francisco City Map
By Jenna Sue Designs

“My most successful product is, without a doubt, my custom city maps… I’ve been running a small business since March 2011. I started on Etsy as a hobby, quit my day job seven months later, and today I run my own e-commerce site. I’ve been featured in West Elm, Jacksonville Magazine, Apartment Therapy, several other blogs and have designed for Starbucks stores.”

Jenna Sue
Creator, Jenna Sue Designs

 Represent your city and your favorite cities with Jenna Sue’s City Map art prints! Her style is crisp and modern perfect for your urban home. You can select the background color and line color that you like too to match your home’s décor. Beyond art prints, Jenna Sue also designed a darling line of Children’s room décor with nautical and woodland themes and more.

Te Quiero Chihuahua Rescue Me Tote Bag

“My best sellers are the Bond Girl Smuggler Bag, Te Quiero Chihuahua Rescue Me tote, I Love New Yorkie Tote, and the Paul Frank Pet products.”

Jeanne Chinn
Creator, JCLA Inc.

Popular with fashion magazines and celebrities, Jeanne’s tote bags are not only adorable and stylish but also practical for carrying everything, even your dog! Her bags are designed with durability and versatility in mind with clever features like a leash clip for your dog, ample padding, key ring holder, and sculpted gold paw purse feet. Furthermore, Jeanne generously donates 10% of her profits to worthy rescue organizations like Lifeline 4 Paws and West Los Angeles Animal Services.

Daisy’s Carrot Cake
By Daisy Cakes

“Kim’s #1 seller is her carrot cake (maybe with a pound of real carrots) and her website even offers a rotating “cake of the month”… After working almost every job in the food industry (waitress, cooking instructor, catering company, etc.) Kim Daisy–already in her late 40s–decided to take a huge risk and launch her dream cake company. Needing investment, Daisy wound up on the ABC show “Shark Tank” where investor Barbara Corcoran took a liking to Daisy’s homemade cakes. Corcoran has since gone on to call Daisy Cakes her “best investment”. But this was just the beginning… Daisy has now sold over 25,000 cakes (to all 50 US states). She has appeared on QVC, Anderson Cooper, Nate Berkus, World News with Diane Sawyer, and The TODAY Show.”

Mark Ballard
Daisy Cake’s Media Director

Kim Daisy’s passion for cake making has fueled her business from the very beginning. Taught by her grandmothers, Kim only uses the best ingredients and techniques to make her delicious cakes. We can learn from Kim to be creative when looking for sources of initial funding and investment to make your dream company a reality. What a sweet and inspirational path to success.

The Ah Ring
By Divine Diamonds

“I own and run an online retailer of fine jewelry that is reasonably priced. I created the first and only diamond ring created for single women! It’s called The Ah Ring, which stands for available and happy. It’s the diamond ring you buy for yourself…I figured why wait for a man to buy you diamonds? There are wedding rings and engagement rings, but The Ah Ring is the ring you buy for yourself when you’re single… and you wear it on your pinkie!”

Ruta Fox
Creator, Divine Diamonds

 Are you a girl who’s available and happy? Why should only engaged and married ladies get all the bling? This beautiful Ah Ring is inspired by Oprah’s eternity band and is perfect for the modern woman. Socially conscious, Divine Diamonds are guaranteed to be conflict free and also purchased in accordance with United Nations resolutions.

Adopt Collar Bracelet
By CharlieDog and Friends

“We make plush toy dogs and cats, but what’s been our surprise hit is ‘collar bracelets’. They’re 100% cotton wristband ‘collars’ that look like pet collars, but are for people! They’re made of colorful Michael Miller prints, with frosted plastic side-release buckles and adjusters. They’re our “runaway” hit, and hardly anyone who orders is getting just one — they’re getting whole collections. We donate $3 for every $10 bracelet sold to our “Rescue of the Month”.”

Suzy Allman
Founder, CharlieDog and Friends

This month, $3 from every bracelet sale will go to Westchester Human Society. Wear your stylish one of a kind collar bracelet while also supporting dogs and cats in animal shelters. CharlieDog and Friends is dedicated to rescuing animals and spreading compassion for homeless pets.

Henry’s Hope Bear
By TG Bears

“What makes my store unique is that each bear is handmade and can be personalized and even customized as per the customer’s wishes. My most popular bears are the Charity Bears. Each one of them donates a portion to a specific cause.”

Monica Collins
Creator, TG Bears

This Bear supports Henry’s Hope who advocates for all children with life-threatening diseases to get medical treatment. An amazing 20% of all sales of this Bear will be donated to Henry’s Hope. Your TG Bear can be personalized for your loved ones.

Pink Woven Ruffle Baby Bloomer
By RuffleButts

“I launched back in 2007 and have been on a crazy ride ever since! Joined by my husband in 2010, we are now one of the fastest growing, privately-held companies in America according to Inc Magazine.”

Amber Schaub
Founder and CEO, RuffleButts

When asked what makes RuffleButts unique, Amber replies, “1) Our ‘Golden Rule’ Customer Service philosophy. We simply treat others (our team & customers) the way we would want to be treated. 2) Our super supportive and enthusiastic fans 3) Our products – they are unique, high-quality, and smile-evoking!” 100% Happiness Guaranteed, RuffleButts’ Baby Bloomers, Dresses, Skirts, and other children’s clothing sure brings smiles to everyone who sees them! The creators of RuffleButts also launched RuggedButts for the handsome young men in your life.

Support women-run small businesses and inspire the women and hopeful girls in your life to follow their dreams and become successful. All you ladies have fabulous and innovative ideas that are waiting for you to give life to them. More women work in retail than men yet we need to encourage more women to take on leadership roles and be inspired to run their own businesses. There is so much opportunity for achievement in retail that women especially have been successful at nurturing.