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6 Female Founders Share Their Superpowers

March 4, 2022

Women are storytellers and problem-solvers. They’re caretakers and creators of community. As leaders, they act from the heart and embrace vulnerability and candor. And when it comes to the things they believe in, they are relentless.

These are their superpowers: the traits that drive them to succeed, despite the odds of traditional entrepreneurship often being stacked against them. Below, meet the women behind six female-founded brands now available at Thrive Market and find out how they’ve used their unique superpowers to overcome obstacles and turn their vision into reality.

Want to support female entrepreneurs on International Women’s Day (March 8, 2022)? Explore products from healthy brands founded by women here and here.

Ali Bonar, Oat Haus

Available in craveable flavors like chocolate and cinnamon graham, Oat Haus’ Granola Butter oat spreads are vegan, free of major allergens, and safe for nut-free schools. 

What is your personal superpower? 

“My ability to share vulnerably and openly from the heart. I’m raw, real, and share honestly about how I’m feeling at any moment in time. 

How has it helped you succeed?

“I think this helps me thrive in business AND life, because it creates the space for others to share what they’re going through, and helps them feel less alone. If we could collectively be more authentic about who we are and how we’re feeling, the world would be a better place.”

Katie Wilson, Belliwelli

BelliWelli makes low-sugar, treat-inspired snack bars without dairy, gluten, or FODMAPs, so they’re suitable for people with IBS (not to mention totally delicious). 

What is your personal superpower? 

“My personal superpower is turning customers into friends. I try my best to see every new name or email as someone to befriend and bring on the BelliWelli journey with us.”

How has it helped you succeed?

“I was emailing back and forth with a customer recently who let us know that she was nervous about her daughter’s upcoming surgery. We sent over a care package (and some BelliWelli of course), but I think perhaps more importantly, we followed up with her every day over email for the first 2 weeks post-surgery to check in. She later shared with us that feeling as though she had a friend checking in on her meant a great deal to her. We’ve since formed a meaningful virtual friendship, and she shares the BelliWelli love with her circle regularly. I live for these connections with customers-turned-friends. It doesn’t get ANY better than building a company with thousands of friends by your side.”

Kerri Leslie, NONIKO

NONIKO is a clean personal care brand with a focus on plastic-free packaging. Their handmade natural deodorant, formulated with baking soda and essential oils, comes in an elegant stainless steel dispenser that’s endlessly refillable.

What is your personal superpower? 

“Relentlessness. When I am presented with a problem, I have a hard time moving on until it is completely solved. 

How has it helped you succeed?

“My track record of relentlessness has given me a sense of optimism that allows me to stay positive and focused on solving a problem. We suspected our [original] plastic tubes weren’t actually getting recycled, but when this was confirmed after visiting our local recycling center, I knew we had to do better. I reached out to my friends and former colleagues from my years in the medical device space and developed a reusable stainless steel deodorant container that could be cleaned, sanitized and refilled. I know through experience that even when problems are hard to solve and the first few attempts aren’t successful, not to get discouraged. If I work hard, learn from my mistakes, and stay positive, it always comes together in the end.”

Irlanda Montes, Chicas

Los Angeles-based Chicas makes its irresistible tortilla chips using non-GMO ingredients and the traditional method founder Montes learned from her mother. 

What is your personal superpower? 

“Perseverance and hope.”

How has it helped you succeed?

“I created a delicious handcrafted tortilla chip that, by industry standards, was impossible to mass produce. For many years, I stayed low-key in the Los Angeles area. During these years, I searched for co-packers and machinery to mass produce with no positive results. Everyone in the industry suggested that I change the formulation and ingredients, but I did not give in. I persevered and kept producing my tortilla chip by hand, expanding the business slowly, always searching, praying, and never losing hope. In 2019 our team joined with Benestar Brands, who saw our potential and invested in us and on one-of-a-kind innovative machinery to recreate the hand process of our chips. By persevering and not losing hope, the doors have opened to new possibilities, creativity, and innovation. It is easy to give up on things, but perseverance has fulfilled many of my dreams and goals in business and in my personal life.”

Ann Murray-Dunning, Vamigas

Vamigas is a clean, vegan beauty brand founded by two Latinx women that creates safe, effective, and luxurious skincare products using ingredients with Latin American roots. 

What is your personal superpower? 

“The ability to create stories. Being a storyteller is a powerful way to communicate the value and benefits of your products. But it also allows you to give your customers something so much more valuable than just products. You give them something to believe in, something to be part of. That’s a powerful creator of communities. By telling stories it’s almost like you’re creating lifelong friends.” 

How has it helped you succeed?

“In business, stories get your foot in the door. Right now marketing really is all about stories — Instagram reels, blog posts, newsletters, TikTok. We’re really thriving thanks to our storytelling. There are so many skincare products in the market that it would have been easy for us to get lost. Right from the start, we told a story that was powerful and that many Latinas would feel fired up about: The fact that [we] outspend other groups in beauty purchases by 30%, yet we have been left out of the skincare and wellness space. That is now changing, and we’re proud to be in this first amazing wave of Latina clean beauty brands. See the story there? It’s powerful because it’s true and it’s talking about a really important topic that everyone should be concerned about because everyone — all moms from all walks of life — wants to feel safe when they are trying out new beauty products.” 

Jing Gao, Fly By Jing

When Sichuan chili crisp, a traditional Chinese condiment, became the niche food item of the moment in the U.S., Fly By Jing became an instant cult favorite. The brand’s fiery sauces are proudly made in founder Gao’s hometown of Chengdu, China.

What is your personal superpower? 

“The ability to translate complex ideas into digestible and relatable concepts.” 

How has it helped you succeed?

“It helps me make sense of the world around me and helps me build and execute on a vision while attracting the right community around me.”

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This article is related to:

Female Empowerment

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Kirby Stirland

Kirby Stirland is a writer, editor, and New York transplant living in Los Angeles.

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