How This Fashion Designer’s New Initiative Helps Women Support Female-Owned Business

"Supporting women is ... the most important thing we can be learning to do."

During a "meeting with a company that hosts thousands of companies all over the world," fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff realized that there was no way to identify those that are founded by women.

"As a colleague and I were leaving the meeting, we said, 'Wouldn't it be easy to just use a symbol?' and then I was like, 'Wait — we should come up with a symbol because no one else has done it,'" Minkoff tells Elle magazine

So Minkoff started the Female Founder Collective, a group harnessing the power of women to inspire and encourage others in the business space. 

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Specifically, the FFC is "a network of businesses led by women, supporting women. Our mission is to enable and empower female owned and led businesses to positively impact our communities, both socially and economically," it says on its website. Through a simple symbol, these businesswomen will be able to note that they are part of the collective and show their support for others. 

Batsheva Hay, for example, is one designer in the FFC. Hay is the founder of her label, Batsheva. 

"I design clothing for women and for girls. I started designing from a personal place by making clothes for me and my daughter. And by doing this, I found other women interpreting it in their own way," Hay says in a caption shared on the FFC's Instagram account

"When you're a founder, we're under the delusion that, you know, we're doing our own thing and there are no rules. So I think it's easy to not see the bigger picture: that you're still a woman in the world and you're maybe passed up for some opportunities or not getting investors knocking on your door. It's harder to be like, Oh, I'm getting treated this way because I'm a woman. You don't see the bias as much, but we're still obviously a part of the same society that elevates a male partner over a female partner in a law firm. So this kind of thing is good, to raise awareness and give women a little bit of a boost, or a connection from that identity," Hay tells Elle 

Aurora James, the founder of Brother Vellies, tells Elle why she chose to be involved with the FFC: 

"I think women supporting women is one of the most important things we can be learning to do right now. And I say 'learning,' because I think that historically we may have not always been amazing at this. Society has conditioned us to believe that there can only be one final rose. We need to foster a include of collaboration over competition. I believe that this is something we all want to do, and denoting female created companies on products is a first step to women being able to proactively do that in the marketplace."

Another woman in the FFC is Billie founder Georgina Gooley. Billie, a subscription-based service that supplies shaving supplies and body products, recently made headlines when it launched its campaign Project Body Hair, and featured real female body hair in its razor advertisements. 

"It's your hair and what you do with it is your choice — no one should tell you otherwise. We are a brand that supports womankind — shaggy, stubbly, smooth, or anywhere in between," Gooley told A Plus at the time of the launch

Billie also promotes itself as not charging the "pink tax" commonly associated with some female products and, thus, takes a stand against those companies that unnecessarily put men first. 

"It seemed strange that most shaving companies are created for men, when comparatively just as many women shave. Women's razors lacked innovation and, to make matters worse, we were being charged more for razors due to the 'pink tax,' " Gooley explains in a post from the FFC. "Out of principle, I used men's razors for years to avoid paying the 'pink tax.' The idea that women should have to pay more for is offensive and totally absurd. We knew there was a way to create a better product designed for the way women shave and to price them affordably, without the 'pink tax.' "

Other members of the FFC include: Polina Veksler and Alexandra Waldman, co-founders of Universal Standard; Zanna Roberts Rassi, Georgie Greville, Dianna Ruth, co-founders of Milk Makeup; and Alexandra Friedman and Jordana Kier, founders of LOLA, among others.

Now, more than ever, we think it's incredibly important for women to empower other women, and we love seeing how these leaders in the fashion industry are doing just that.

Cover image: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

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