In 2021 the beauty industry made around $511 billion—yeah, that’s billions of dollars of consumer spending—with anticipated growth to $716 billion by 2025. With all this money being spent and earned, one would assume that women, the targeted demographic of the industry, would come to make the most. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Even though the beauty industry has the most women in positions of power these numbers are still incredibly low. According to a story reported by fivethirtyeight.org, women account for 34% of boardroom seats and only 24% of executive positions.
With thousands of brands on the market—and the rise of women and non-binary-owned celebrity brands, the hope that these numbers will change is on the mind of all in the industry. From new beauty brands to individuals who have been in the industry for decades, Supergreat tapped 6 beauty founders and asked them all the same questions.
Courtesy of IG @brandileifso
"I've had so many incredible experiences as a female founder. Naturally, we are empathetic, and compassionate leaders; there is merit to that when leading a team. I've also been fortunate to have incredible mentors. Many of my mentors have daughters my age and see the historical barriers young female founders have had and want to be a part of the solution for the future generations of female founders. I have found that this has allowed me to grow really meaningful relationships while people who are on the same mission and willing to go an extra mile for Evio. We're always so grateful for that."
"We hope to continue to do our part in bringing awareness to policies and injustices by breaking stigmas with our good-for-you beauty products. We're excited to continue to see female founded beauty brands take charge and lead in the market with inclusive conversations and innovations not only to products, but to the way things have always been done in the space. For the next generation of female founders, Equity! Fair and impartial opportunities."
Sarah Moret, founder and CEO of Curie
"Starting a business really just takes determination, grit, and an unwavering belief in what you are doing. As a women-owned business, it is empowering to have control over your time and to prove people wrong."
"We’ve already seen in recent years how female-led personal care companies can provide tremendous economic value to the economy - and I look forward to seeing how women in our industry can continue to start successful movements with big life-changing exits. As for Curie, our mission is to continue expanding our product line and scents to create safe and effective products for people to use as a part of their personal care routines every day, with scent as the core experience. While deodorant was just the start, Curie is out to showcase that a brand thinks outside the product development box. Look out for some exciting new products, retail partnerships, and scents from us in 2022!"
"When it comes to the advantages of starting a business, I think women are inherently more collaborative and willing to reach out. As a result, we’ll interact with other business owners, which makes us feel less isolated. In addition, we are less afraid to admit when we don’t know something and are willing to ask for help (the stereotype about willingness to ask for directions when driving rings true). I also think women are more willing to roll up their sleeves to get the work done, so we are okay with being the CEO who also takes out the garbage."
"Dr. Kristian Henderson, the founder of BLK+GRN, is building a space where women of color can purchase all-natural and non-toxic personal care items. What she rarely shares is that she is also a Ph.D. public health professional whose interest in that space is the result of the ongoing effects of environmental toxins – including toxins found in our personal care products. In addition to the products she offers, she also provides support and community to the brands on her page (AbsouteJOI is one of them!) and also holds sessions on how to maintain a non-toxic lifestyle. So, her business is very mission-oriented and aligned with promoting health for women of color."
"The female perspective! I was able to use my personal hair struggles and knowledge of what women both need and want out of their hot tools and hair care. I was one of the first female founders in the hair industry, before we launched NuMe all the hair tools companies were founded and led by men. When you think about it, a man [who likely has short hair or no hair!] should not be the one creating your straighteners. The lack of high-quality, effective tools is what fueled me to create my own brand! Ultimately it comes down to this: women know what women want."
"I hope the founders stay involved in the product development. At NuMe, every product we create is a product I would use on myself—we're focused on creating the best possible products for our customers so that everyone is able to achieve their healthiest hair! To this day, I lead our product development team and personally test out every single product. Like I said before, no one knows women's needs better than a woman."
A few of her favorites include:
Charlotte Chen Pienaar, founder of Everyday Humans
"First, a little history lesson. The beauty industry today is vastly different from what it looked like years ago. Even though beauty has always seemed “for women,” you rarely saw women leaders or founders running their own companies. In fact, it’s pretty astonishing to think that heritage brands like L’Oreal and Revlon only named their first-ever women bosses back in 2018-2019. Today, beauty’s going through a spectacular rebirth and we’re seeing more female trailblazers redefining the industry as we know it. We’ve flipped the script for what beauty is — it’s no longer something you do to impress others or to look good for the male gaze. It’s a form of empowerment for one’s self and it’s a renaissance that’s been a long time coming. Now, the industry is predominantly women — both at the C-suite level and more. The biggest advantage of being a woman founder now is that you can feel this palpable camaraderie amongst female founders. Even though we’re all in the same industry, we don’t try to tear each other down. We’re open and do what we can to uplift everyone because we know that collectively we are powerful here — being able to build successful businesses, and paving the way for the next generation of women entrepreneurs. There’s never been a better time to be a woman in the beauty industry than now."
"We’re really proud to have built a growing global community of customers and beauty lovers, so we hope to be able to keep cultivating it through more collaborations and partnerships. The best part of being a modern minority and female-owned brand is that it’s not a competition — we all want to uplift and support each other and to celebrate our community’s successes. As more women leaders and brand owners enter the space, I look forward to a future where we collectively retire restrictive environments that male-dominated leaders started. This includes creating platforms that support young women, working mothers, and put women’s needs first so that they are empowered to realize their full potential."
Carolyn Aronson, founder of It’s a 10
Similar to the previous responses, a major advantage to starting a business as a woman is being on the pulse of what women need. “It’s quite evident that being a woman who has used beauty products since I was a very young child, I definitely have a natural understanding of the industry and what it needs.”
"That we continue to bring innovation to our industries and that we also bring them to levels that are unprecedented within the female owned brands in the world."