The 5 Female Founders Empowering Us This Women’s History Month

Look no further than women during Women’s History Month and for the rest of the year. We’ve compiled our team’s favorite female founders who continuously inspire us as they push past barriers and break down new doors with their innovative products. We asked each founder how their brand came to be and what difficulties they faced.

Expect to find an addictive list filled with dreamy, budget-friendly candles (Otherland), South Asian skincare inspired by a rich heritage (AAVRANI), gorgeously-designed tights that are definitely worth the hype (Swedish Stockings), and a few more. Scroll through to find your new fave.


Otherland, Founded by Abigail Stone

Q: How did the mission of Otherland come to be?

A: I’ve been mildly obsessed with candles my whole life. So, when I was in my 20s and found myself burning candles every day—from my morning meditation to unwinding after work—I quickly recognized a gap in the market: the candles with the fresh, nuanced scents I preferred were often too expensive, while budget-friendly options had ultra-sweet fragrances and lackluster design.

I realized I had an opportunity to create a modern home fragrance brand with a focus on art while incorporating storytelling and community, and after meeting my Co-Founder and COO Sayyid Markar, Otherland was born!

Now, we’ve built a brand that’s made candle buying and burning a total experience: a multi-sensory, consumable, portable, and experiential objet d’art.

Q: What should people know about being a female founder? 

A: I think in Otherland’s early days, and as a first-time entrepreneur, learning how to pitch was difficult. I didn’t feel confident “making the ask” at the end of pitch meetings – making the ask for money, for funding. Anecdotally, other female founders I know have spoken to me about feeling similarly. Having that confidence to “Make the ask” is what it’s all about.

What I love most about being a female founder is the power of community. Build your brand’s tribe and use it as a platform to amplify and champion your community’s voices and in supporting other women.


Ghia, Founded by Melanie Masarin

Q: How did the mission of Ghia come to be?

A: I’ve always loved bringing people together – whether it’s through hosting dinner parties for my friends or creating safe spaces that spark real, meaningful conversations – and I really wanted to make the occasion of enjoying a drink more about the social connection than the intoxication. Over the last few years, I realized that alcohol wasn’t for me and there weren’t many non-alcoholic alternatives on the market that was easily adaptable to people with different lifestyles and comfort levels with drinking. On a trip to Milan two years ago with friends, I started thinking about how I could bring more intention to drinking, in the same way, that there’s so much intention behind enjoying a great meal. I looked around the table and saw people sipping on Aperol Spritzes and wanted to bring that same element of togetherness and spirit to drinking, without the alcohol. With Ghia, we are genuinely focused on inclusivity and creating meaningful connections with products that are made with real ingredients and zero added sugar.

Q: What should people know about being a female founder? 

A: My mother and my grandmother were both very entrepreneurial and have inspired me to “do it all” and pave the way for my future children when the time comes. Not only that, but they were also both incredible hostesses who taught me that gathering and creating connection isn’t about having the fanciest table setting or serving luxury ingredients. This is what I enjoy the most – bringing people together with real ingredients.


Swedish Stockings, Founded by Linn Frisinger and Nadja Forsberg

Q: How did the mission of Swedish Stockings come to be?

A: That was the very reason why we started Swedish Stockings– we wanted to change and influence the industry to produce more sustainably. Approximately 8 billion pairs of tights are worn once and then discarded every year. It’s women’s biggest wear and tear clothing item. On top of that, it’s a petroleum product that usually ends up in landfills in which they never degrade. We believe in taking responsibility by offering a product with high quality, great design, and sustainable production. 

Q: What should people know about being a female founder?

A: I think we have the same challenges as male founders when it comes to a lot. Time and money usually summarize it well. Things take much longer than expected and often it also costs more. For me, it’s also been a big challenge to build up our warehouse. We have decided to take care of the logistics ourselves and that has been time-consuming. On the other hand, I get to work with something that I love and my days look very different, which gives me energy.


Pineapple Collaborative, Founded by Ariel Pasternak & Atara Bernstein

Q: How did the mission of Pineapple Collaborative come to be?

A: We believe food is more than just what’s on our plates— what we cook and eat reflects our unique styles, identities, and values. We’re on a mission to connect and celebrate people who love food —to cook it, to eat it, to learn about it, to share it.

Pineapple Collaborative started as a simple potluck dinner with our friends in 2015. At the time, brands everywhere seemed to be on a mission to “build community,” yet we never really felt welcome. So we decided to start the kind of community we wished existed and to show up where it counts—in your kitchen, online, and in real life.

Back then Pineapple was known as “Pineapple DC” and its founding team– Ariel Pasternak, Raisa Aziz, Ann Yang, Maddie Morales, Jordan Miller, and Atara Bernstein– hosted events across Washington, DC spotlighting incredible women in the food and building community. As our momentum grew, Pineapple DC became Pineapple Collaborative– expanding our events to New York, the Bay Area, and Los Angeles while launching digital content too (see The Pantry if you haven’t already!)

Today, Pineapple is led by Ariel and Atara, Dani Dillon, and many others who contribute in ways big and small to create this thriving community.

In the Fall of 2019, we launched our first products–The Olive Oil & The Apple Cider Vinegar: one drop in our mission to express our style, identity, and values through food.

Q: What should people know about being a female founder? 

A: I’d love to share reflections from my leadership coach Victoria Song in answer to this question: “Many women mistakenly believe they need to be more masculine and less feminine in order to succeed. From physical appearance to leadership style, I notice women dress in gender-neutral clothing, cut their hair short, make linear, analytical points instead of bold, creative ones, focus on competition instead of collaboration, prioritize overdoing, value logic, and data over intuition and instincts.

They’ve internalized that all “feminine qualities” are weak and attempt to play down anything that makes them stand out as being a woman. However, as a Leadership Advisor, I can assure you that even men are beginning to see the power in feminine qualities.

Femininity is not about how much you like pink or how put-together you look, it’s about how much you honor and respect the feminine within you and within every human.

Do you judge men as weak when they express any sadness? Do you judge and criticize other women? Do you feel more comfortable giving something than receiving something? Do you value profitability over sustainability? Do you attempt to control and predict things or are you comfortable trusting what emerges? Do you value cognitive intelligence over emotional intelligence? Do you focus on power over or power with? Do you enforce hierarchy or do you empower others to rise? Are you commanding or inspiring? Do you value fixing overhealing? Do you prefer independence to interdependence? Do you focus on quantity over quality?

Every answer of “yes” to one of these questions shows you where you’re still leaning into the masculine. Men and women will realize their full potential once they learn to respect and honor BOTH the masculine and feminine equally within themselves and within others. That is when we will have achieved true gender equality.”


AAVRANI, Founded by Rooshy Roy

Q: How did the mission of Aavrani come to be?

A: I created AAVRANI with the mission to help women pursue beauty with intention. By quieting the idea of fast beauty and quick-fix solutions, we hope to redefine what beauty means. This is rooted in the connection between beauty and wellness, bringing Holistic Beauty practices to the forefront and modernizing centuries-old Ayurvedic traditions. The goal is to inspire women to embrace their inner beauty.

I believe true beauty comes from actively embracing, not trying to change, or hide, our authentic selves. We can achieve this by honoring the body, mind, and soul connection. Beauty is beyond the surface and should be celebrated.

Our products solve skin concerns with clean formulas that are scientifically proven to work while sharing generations of Indian beauty secrets. Every product in the line is and will continue to be, centered around centuries’ old beauty traditions (Ayurveda), generational knowledge, and modern science.

I’m honored to bring consumers a new era of Ayurveda, and offer a level of trust I felt growing up with the beauty recipes of my mother and grandmothers.

Q: What should people know about being a female founder? 

A: A challenging reality we face as female founders is that business is still male-dominated. Only about 2% of female founders receive funding, while about 40% of businesses in the US are women-owned. This means building an authentic, mission-based brand for our community is more important to me than following a conventional business plan.

Therefore, it’s very rewarding to build and feel so connected to our community. We’ve been transparent in our journey, creating and growing the brand with our community. The support is incredible and definitely helps to make it all worth it. I receive DMs with people telling me how their skin, and overall relationship with skincare, has changed because of AAVRANI. I’ve also received messages about how seeing a female South Asian founder transcending limitations as an entrepreneur is inspiring others to do the same.

As a female founder, it’s also beyond rewarding to create a brand that understands, celebrates, and champions women. Core to AAVRANI is empowerment – in Hindi, rani means queen.

The best advice I received was: “Don’t be afraid to start over.” Even if you’re on a path that feels safe, like you’re on the trajectory you’re “supposed” to be, you can change course. If something drives you, motivates you, fuels you—channel all of that into whatever you want to start. Believe in it. If it’s no longer serving you, leave that desk job, like me, and tap into a path that feels more authentic to who you are.