From DTC brands to tech partners and agencies, female-run businesses are flourishing in the ecommerce landscape.
In fact, 53% of Shopify stores are run by women!
As Women’s History Month comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate a few of the female entrepreneurs who have inspired us with their innovative products and revolutionary technology. These women, alongside so many others, are helping to break the bias across the ecommerce and tech industries.
After founding, leading, and selling two businesses — ShopLocket and Female Funders — Katherine Homuth decided to take her career in a different direction.
Fed up with old-fashioned, disposable hosiery, Homuth set out to create a knit that could withstand the test of time. She founded Sheertex in 2019, which has since revolutionized the fashion industry with their “unbreakable tights.” In just two years, Katherine grew her team from 5 to 175 employees, raised over $60 million in capital, and guided the business to reach $18 million in annual sales.
Homuth hasn’t stopped there. She has also written Funded: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Raising Your First Round to help aspiring entrepreneurs navigate the ins and outs of venture capital.
An entrepreneur since the age of eight, Dr. Gina Paige pioneered a new way of tracing African lineages using genetics, and in turn, a new marketplace for people of African descent looking to more accurately and reliably trace their roots. In co-founding African Ancestry, Paige was inspired by the crossover between culture, science, and business.
Since 2003, African Ancestry has helped over 1,000,000 people of African descent discover and connect with their true family tree. They’ve also revealed the roots of the world’s leading icons, including Oprah Winfrey, John Legend, and The King Family. Gina has appeared in countless major news and media outlets herself to speak about African Ancestry, including Time Magazine, USA Today, 60 Minutes, The New York Times, and NPR.
Tired of existing sparkling water flavors, Maddie Voge and her husband, Paul, turned their kitchen experiment into the unique sparkling water brand, Aura Bora. Aura Bora’s water is made with herbs, fruits, and flowers, setting them apart from the traditional, artificial, and dull sparkling water flavors on the market.
Maddie and Paul Voge appeared on Shark Tank in 2020. After making a deal with Robert Herjavec, Aura Bora is now available in 1,200 retail locations across the US, with an expanded DTC storefront at AuraBora.com.
After years of experimenting with high-end aesthetics, fitness, and nutrition treatments as a beauty and wellness columnist for the Financial Times, Inge Theron decided there must be a better way to age gracefully and confidently.
Following extensive research, Face Gym was born. Eight years and over 200,000 faces later FaceGym is available worldwide, with storefront locations in the UK and US. FaceGym’s product line has since expanded to include skincare products, facial tools, and online “workout” classes to keep your skin in tip-top shape.
After identifying a key gap in the market that affected everyday women like herself, Lo Bosworth founded Love Wellness. She set out with the mission to create “natural solutions for natural problems.”
From daily probiotics to personal care kits and more, Love Wellness offers clean products that actually work, paired with product education to help women understand their bodies better.
After battling recurring UTIs in 2014, Jenna Ryan was inspired to get proactive about her urinary tract health. She collaborated with physicians and urologists to find the perfect mix of science-backed ingredients, and along came Uqora!
Since its start in 2015, Uqora has helped over 60,000 people take a natural approach to staying healthy.
Tech Partners and Agencies
Leah Weiss and Gabi Steele built their data implementation agency Data Culture on a simple principle: employees at every level should be able to identify opportunities for more informed decision making, then use data to quickly create solutions.
Leah and Gabi work with organizations to bridge the gap between their data capabilities and how the business acts on that data.
What started as a means to help local small businesses pivot online at the height of the pandemic has since grown into one of the top recurring revenue engines for Shopify merchants.
Founder Gabriella Yitzhaek built Smartrr to provide ecommerce merchants with a seamless, code-free subscription checkout experience. Smartrr helps to unlock your store’s potential with their best-in-class business management tools.
Plus, customers include the aforementioned Aura Bora!
Nicola Carruthers and her husband, Gary, started Underwaterpistol, a leading Shopify and Shopify Plus partner agency, nearly twenty years ago. Underwaterpistol’s expert team of marketers, designers, and developers take a creative, data-driven approach to building and growing best-in-class DTC brands.
Their team has helped notable ecommerce brands — including Abbott Lyon, Omaze, and Brew Tea Co. — develop a distinct brand identity and unlock smart growth.
The Working Party
In 2011, Kelly Brown co-founded the Australia-based Shopify agency, The Working Party. She has since helped design and build best-in-class ecommerce websites for leading Shopify Plus brands. The Working Party specializes in providing advanced technical solutions and has launched brands like KOOKAÏ and Lovisa on Shopify Plus.
Breaking the bias
While there are more female entrepreneurs in the DTC space than ever before, female founders still face an uphill battle to succeed. There continue to be systemic biases throughout the ecommerce industry — especially when it comes to capital.
In 2021, female-founded startups received only 2.2% of venture capital funding. Despite slow progress, since 2017 there has been a 250% jump in venture capital funds that have a gender mandate or consideration.
Backbone Angels is among these funds. Launched by ten former management-level Shopify employees, Backbone Angels provides capital to women and non-binary founders, with a focus on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-led companies. Since March 2021, they have backed 43 women-owned companies with over $2.3 million in capital. In addition to funds, Backbone Angels’ collective provides mentorship, expertise, and support to forward-thinking entrepreneurs.
There are over 130 venture capital funds that are helping to unlock opportunities for growth for historically underrepresented groups and are working to break the bias against female entrepreneurs.
Ladies of Littledata
In addition to the exceptional founders mentioned above, we’re thrilled to celebrate the many skilled, supportive, and brilliant women behind Littledata. Day in and day out, the ladies of Littledata build innovative solutions, are the first point of contact for thousands of ecommerce merchants, and recruit best-in-class talent.
As a global startup, our core values have always centered around inclusivity, collaboration, and dedication to learning. We are proud to not only have so many women in leadership positions but to promote so many of our managers from within. As Littledata continues to grow, we look forward to continuing to support our team in their personal and professional development and championing their every achievement.