According to a report by the Small Business Association in 2019, only 21% of small businesses are majority female-owned. Esker is proudly female-founded and majority female-operated. We're also proud to share this in common with fellow brands that we know, love and collaborate with. That's why we're highlighting five inspiring women in our network in honor of Women's Month:
Julia Hunter | CEO, Jenni Kayne, @juliawhunter
Angela Ubias | Co-Founder of Common Heir, @angelamubias
Carrie Lindsey | Founder of Carrie Lindsey Beauty, @carrielindseybeauty
Megan Graham | Founder & CEO of Ries, @riesbeauty @megansgraham
Giovanna Campagna | Founder of Joaquina Botánica, @joaquinabotanica
What's a piece of advice that a woman has shared with you, that you've kept throughout your career?
Julia: Shannon is really my rock, and she has been the first place I’ve gone for comfort and advice when work has been hard. She always reminds me that it’s a marathon and not a sprint, and that being willing to get back up when we’re down is the most important thing to do, because keeping up hard work ultimately pays off – and really, it always does
Angela: “Being clear is being kind”. It took me a bit to fully understand the power of this message but once I did it was an absolute game changer. As women, I find we often default to mincing our words to alleviate tension or avoid upsetting others or frankly, having tough conversations. But the kindest thing you can do for yourself and those in your life, be it professional or personal, is to clearly communicate whatever it is you need to say, even if it’s a difficult conversation. Being direct isn't the same thing as being inconsiderate and I’ve found it’s the one way to guarantee you’re being fair to yourself, and those around you. You set everyone up for success this way!
Carrie: I worked in LA for 12 years and my manager at one studio told me her dad’s motto was ‘ya gotta laugh.’ I think of this saying daily. I'm never sure if resorting to humor is a defense mechanism, but it works for me and I don’t like to take things too seriously. As I type this I want to note I use this strictly as a business and personal motto, fully understanding that sometimes there is nothing funny about life and the world.
Megan: Never take the first offer. There are always more dollars, benefits or opportunities on the table.
Giovanna: Building and nurturing relationships with mentors is invaluable. As an entrepreneur, I don't have senior figures above me within my business, so I have actively cultivated these relationships outside. Many of the women I consider to be my mentors are founders who have launched beauty businesses before me, and. can share their wisdom from being ahead of me on this journey. Their advice is always the best guidance!
Name a key event in your career that would make it into your biography.
Julia: Jenni Kayne hitting $100M in revenue in 2021 is probably my biggest career highlight so far!
Angela: I have a few top of mind, but certainly the most recent is the pandemic. The biggest silver lining of the pandemic, for me, was the moment of reflection it forced on all of us. That meant looking at the work I was doing day to day and I found myself asking--is this still fulfilling? Is this the mark, the legacy I'm proud to leave behind? And while I was proud of what I'd accomplished, I knew it was time to start building something that was the truest expression of what I wanted to see in beauty and in an industry I loved so much but was still lacking in diversity, innovation and sustainability.
Carrie: Definitely having a horrible boss. It’s important because of how it affected me while working for this person and how it informs my decisions as an employer. I try to treat my staff the way that I would want to be treated. I think there is no better way than to lead with understanding.
Megan: Being recruited by Vogue was a major milestone moment. I really carried my younger self with me during that time and was very intentional about making space for those feelings. Like so many women, I grew up reading Vogue. And as a Black woman that can sometimes be a fraught experience. I was both so proud of being sought after by this totem of luxury journalism, but also determined to help bring more Black representation and perspective to the organization and role in any way that I could.
Giovanna: Launching Joaquina Botánica! It has been exciting to build the first clean luxury skincare brand inspired by my Colombian roots and Latin American beauty traditions.
What are some other women-owned businesses that you love to support?
Julia: There are so many that are great! I love Parachute for bedding, WovnHome for curtains and roman shades, Perelel for vitamins, Merit for make up.
Angela: There are so many! Kiramoon, Kinfield, Minori, 54 Thrones, Bella Lash to name a few!
Carrie: How long do you have? ;) I work with so many women owned businesses. I’d say my real loves are Upstate which is the creative mind of Kalen Kaminski. All of her pieces are one of a kind, I’m not sure there’s anything more inspiring than originality in such a homogenous world. Kahina Giving Beauty is a stand out skincare line that is run by a mother daughter team, Katharine and Grace L’hereaux. There isn’t one product I don’t love in this line. It’s really special and it employs and supports women in Morocco. Emaly Baum owns a salon called Beauty Supply. I love her calm and ease when I’m in her chair. Some people just have a way about them that makes others feel calm, that’s Emaly. Finally my friend Bree Nichols inspires me in every way. I feel like there is nothing she can’t do. Her jewelry line is called Nature, and I drip in it. She’s a true sculptor and I just love the rawness of her pieces.
Megan: I am a huge fan of (BIPOC Skincare,) (Tech-Enabled Clean Beauty Resourcing,) and (marketplace for artisan objects found in hospitality.)
Giovanna: For beautiful homeware and children's clothing I go to Land of Belle and its sister brand Land of Bébé. In fashion, I love La Ligne and Veronica Beard. And other beauty brands by women founders that I adore are Esker, Linné Botanicals, Vertly, and Fur.
What's your favorite way to take care of yourself?
Julia: I love massages and try to get one every couple weeks to keep my stress down and my neck and back relaxed, since they are perpetually tense from trying to balance everything. Also I love to go for long, slow hikes to spend time in nature and check out for a bit
Angela: I'm a huge proponent of therapy and writing or any other creative outlet as forms of self care. Of course, I love indulging in a great facial, spa day, etc. but devoting time and effort to mental and emotional health, especially as a founder is crucial.
Carrie: I have found the best way to take care of myself is to be quiet. I try to make it so that my mornings can be slow and quiet. And of course…travel. As Diana Vreeland said it best, “the eye has to travel.”
Giovanna: Meditation, exercise, and finding time to read a novel just for fun.
Baths or showers?
Julia: I’m a major Esker fan for many reasons, but one of them is because I love taking baths to wind down every day. It’s my favorite way to relax and give myself a minute to catch my breath
Angela: Team shower with a eucalyptus bunch--heaven!
Carrie: Baths or showers? Both!!!!! Baths in the winter and a good outdoor shower in the summer
Megan: Impossible choice! My hair-care routine responds best to a morning shower, but on vacation I'm all about the bath!
Giovanna: Baths! I am obsessed, and take them multiple times a week when possible.