10 Female-Run Businesses to Support on Women-Led Wednesday

Two cans of Avec mixers, a turtleneck, laundry detergent, sunscreen, nail polish, collagen sachet, and tank top

Join the movement.

You’ve heard of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday, but we have a new day of shopping and sales for you, and it might be the best one yet: Women-Led Wednesday. It occurs the day before Thanksgiving — this year it’s Nov. 24.

Cassie Abel, founder and CEO of women’s activewear brand Wild Rye, started the movement in 2018 while deciding when to launch Wild Rye’s holiday sale. She didn’t like the mass consumerism of Black Friday, felt that Small Business Saturday was focused on brick and mortar businesses, and knew Wild Rye would easily be lost in Cyber Monday sales. Inspired by the fact that American Express created Small Business Saturday to support small companies during the recession, Abel figured she could do the same for women-led companies the day before Thanksgiving. 

“It may sound somewhat self-serving,” Abel said in an email, “but I saw it as a beautiful opportunity to put competition aside and come together as women in leadership to use our collective voice and stand up for brands that have women at the top.”

Abel cobbled together a glitchy website, emailed every person she could think of who might be willing and able to spread the word and launched the initiative with about 50 brands. In the first year, Wild Rye saw its second-best day of sales for the year, and other brands reported similar results.

“It can be very lonely as a founder, so having that sense of camaraderie really resonated with all involved,” Abel said.

Three years on, Women-Led Wednesday now has a directory of 500 women-led brands promoting each other, with more joining in the days following the initiative every year. Abel hopes for it to be as powerful as Small Business Saturday has been for mom-and-pop stores around the country. 

“I want everyone, across the U.S. and around the globe, to shop exclusively women-led annually on WLW,” Abel said in an email. “Despite the fact that 1 in 4 Americans believe we’ll sooner colonize Mars than see 50 percent of Fortune 500 brands run by women, I dream of a gender-balanced economic landscape.”

In honor of Women-Led Wednesday, we’ve rounded up 10 trailblazing, female-led brands we know you’ll love. For even more, head over to our female-founded section of Katie’s Shop or WLW’s directory

Wild Rye

Wild Rye

After years of working in the outdoor industry, Cassie Abel decided to strike out on her own to make high-performing mountain apparel and accessories that would actually work for women’s bodies. It was something Abel was searching for and simply couldn’t find, so she dove headfirst into making her own. Along with its emphasis on getting more women outside more often, Wild Rye sees sustainability as part and parcel of its business as a whole: The company is certified carbon neutral, manufactures its products at sustainable factories overseas, and uses recycled and eco-friendly materials as much as possible. We like their Tallac Turtleneck, which has convenient thumbholes and works just as well for cold weather runs as it does for lounging or running errands.

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M.M. LaFleur

M.M.LaFleur

Frustrated by a lack of practical, well-fitting professional clothes, Sarah LaFleur teamed up with designer Miyako Nakamura and Narie Foster to make workwear actually work for women. We’re talking machine-washable, wrinkle-resistant fabrics in cuts that can handle curves, hidden buttons to prevent gaping, and lingerie snaps to keep bra straps out of sight. The result is a line of essentials empowering women wherever they are, from the office to the carpool circuit. The Peggy Top has a sleek v-back to match the v-neck front and is perfect for the office, a casual lunch, or a night out.

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Olive & June

As a lifelong nail-polish enthusiast, Sarah Gibson Tuttle was at a loss when she moved across the country and couldn’t find a dependable, affordable nail salon in her LA neighborhood. She took started Olive & June to fill that gap with bright, airy salons that are welcoming and relaxing. The natural next step was to bring Olive & June’s magic to those who couldn’t visit in person, so Gibson Tuttle created bathroom-counter-friendly mani and pedi systems. Whether you’re looking to extend your professional manicure’s lifespan or at-home polish is your usual M.O., Olive & June’s kits include everything you need to get glam nails at home. (P.S. – they’re having a huge sale right now!)

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Shore Magic

Shore Magic collagen

While working with children on the autism spectrum, Joy Harari began searching for something as nutritionally beneficial as bone broth but easier to fit into everyday life. She realized that collagen was bone broth’s silent hero and set off in pursuit of the purest, highest-quality form of collagen that people of all ages could add to their coffee, smoothies, oatmeal, or soup. Her efforts became Shore Magic, a brand whose refined collagen — sans additives or synthetics — is backed by published science and safe for daily use. Go with the sachets for an on-the-go way to add nutrition to your coffee.

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Supergoop!

Supergoop!

After a close friend was diagnosed with skin cancer in her 30s, Holly Thaggard started Supergoop to make sun protection easy, fun, and safe for everyone, starting at a young age. Unlike other all-mineral SPF, Supergoop’s products don’t leave a white cast on your skin, and they don’t contain ingredients commonly found in chemical-based ’screens that are harmful to your skin and the environment. Thaggard’s ultimate goal is for everyone to wear sunscreen every day, and Supergoop’s Ounce by Ounce program has donated more than 4,000 SPF pumps to schools around the country. Our favorite is the Glowscreen, which gives you a hydration boost and a sun-kissed glow even in the dead of winter.

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The Laundress

the laundress products

Get ready for info that might annoy you: Plenty of the items in your closet labeled “Dry Clean Only” are actually washable. After meeting at Cornell University’s Fiber Science, Textile and Apparel Management and Design program, Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd started careers in the fashion industry and began building wardrobes to match. Sick of their constant dry cleaning bills, Whiting and Boyd began developing a line of plant-based laundry detergent gentle enough for even their most delicate clothes. They founded The Laundress in 2004, and have since expanded to include home-cleaning solutions, all with a light environmental impact and sold in recycled packaging. We recommend the Wool and Cashmere Shampoo for freshening up your sweaters heading into winter.

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Wander Beauty

Wander Beauty

A few years ago, Divya Gugnani, an investment banker turned serial entrepreneur, was raising two kids, building multiple companies, and generally using every spare second. Her beauty routine, she noticed, was no longer taking place in her bathroom, but rather on the subway or sitting at her desk. Positive that most 21st-century women knew her pain, Gugnani joined forces with supermodel and mom Lindsay Ellingson to create a line of beauty and skincare products that could keep pace with their schedules. With makeup that stays put, skincare products that keep you looking fresh, and packaging designed for small spaces, Wander is what you’ll reach for as you head out the door. Their Baggage Claim Eye Masks are loaded with hydrating hyaluronic acid, soothing aloe, and other botanicals intended to de-puff and brighten your under-eye area.

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ABLE

ABLE jeans, boots

ABLE was founded in response to an uncomfortable contradiction: women make up 75 percent of the fashion workforce, one of the largest female employers worldwide. However, only 2 percent of fashion workers are paid a livable wage. The company started by teaching former sex workers in Ethiopia how to make scarves, and has since expanded its line to include clothes, shoes, jewelry, and bags. ABLE’s employees are 95 percent female, and they publish the wages of their lowest-paid workers for full transparency. Their ultimate goal is to normalize accountability across the fashion industry…and their clothes are pretty great, too. The lightweight and relaxed Mae Drapey Tee is an amazing layering piece for every season, whether under a cozy cardigan or a light spring jacket.

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Avec

Avec mixers

Founders Alex and Dee started Avec to fill a gap in the market for delicious, non-sugary mixers and ready-made mocktails. Like the alcohol industry, mixers hadn’t gotten an update in decades and were generally uninspiring. Avec’s refreshing drinks are made with real juice, little or no sugar, and natural botanicals. Their name is the French word for “with,” and that’s how they’re meant to be enjoyed: With alcohol, with friends, with family. The flavors are so tempting, it will be hard to choose just one, so try them all with their bundle! Between their dedication to diversity, environmental stewardship, and high quality ingredients, you’ll want to drink with Avec, too. Our favorite is the Jalapeño Blood Orange. It makes a truly delicious tequila cocktail that isn’t as acidic as a homemade margarita and is much lower in sugar than something you buy at the store.

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Parade

Parade bralettes and underwear

At the ripe old age of 21, Cami Téllez made the decision to drop out of Columbia University and start an underwear company that flew in the face of the restrictive beauty standards she had grown up seeing. Parade is a celebration of self-expression that all women are invited to join, with bright colors, silky fabrics, and sizes from XS to 3XL. While Parade’s fabrics are already made with a high percentage of recycled materials, the company has a plan in place to achieve carbon positivity — yes, you read that right – by 2025. Our favorite is the Triangle Bralette in Silky Mesh: It’s supportive, flattering, lightweight, and made of recycled fabric. We see no flaws.

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