From gorgeous clothes and next-level workout gear to luxury handbags and the most diverse lingerie on the planet – on paper, these brands might appear very different but they’re bound by an empowering common thread: they were founded by pretty amazing women, all of whom are at the top of their professional game. Proof that when us females support each other, incredible things happen. You may wish to take notes…
Hill & Friends
Founded by: Emma Hill and Georgia Fendley
Gap in the market: Emma and Georgia used their combined experience in luxury fashion and accessories to create fresh, fashion-forward bags that are injected with fun.
USP: Eclectic arm candy with a playful spin. Look out for their empowering collaborations with up and coming designers like, Elizabeth Ilsley.
Where to shop: hillandfriends.com
Top tip: Georgia says: "I launched Hill & Friends as a busy mum of three, so time management was key. Set yourself deadlines and take them seriously, as if you would do a regular job."
Founded by: Haeni Kim
Gap in the market: A frustration at poorly-made pieces and a lack of distinctive designs (that didn’t break the bank) drove Haeni to launch her own label, creating premium designs with not-so premium prices – a total win-win!
USP: Each piece is produced in limited quantities, eliminating the worry of bumping into someone in the exact same outfit.
Where to shop: kitristudio.com
Top tip: "There’s no shame in asking for help A lot of women in professional settings feel uncomfortable asking for help, but you’ll receive incredible support if you ask for it, and build lasting relationships. Also, hire a good accountant."
Founded by: Ade Hassan
Gap in the market: Skin-tone hosiery are the basics in every woman’s wardrobe but, for women of colour this hasn’t been an option – until Ade and Nubian Skin stepped in. It now counts Beyonce as a fan.
USP: Nude lingerie, hosiery and intimates for women of all skin tones.
Where to shop: Nubianskin.com
Top tip: "Really believe in the idea – if you’re up at 4am working on this, then you want to believe in it, because trust me, you will be up at 4am jotting down notes."
Founded by: Katie and Geoff Loxton
Gap in the market: Completely self taught Katie spotted a gap for personalised pieces: gifts bespoke to you or, with sentimental hidden messages.
USP: Luxury for less.
Where to shop: Katieloxton.com
Top tip: "Jump in, it can be so scary and daunting to stop and think about every possible negative outcome so many people don’t even get started for this reason, and although its important to plan and have a very clear idea of what you’re wanting to deliver."
Founded by: Marisa Horden
Gap in the market: Beyond covetable, Missoma leads the way in demi-fine contemporary jewels that you'll recognise from all your fave influencers to Meghan Markle and Margot Robbie.
USP: Chic, oh-so layerable jewels with precious stones which won't break the bank.
Where to shop: Missoma.com
Top tip: "Think what your customer truly wants and really focus upon that. Perseverance is key, don’t get disheartened – it can be a really bumpy road – invest in your team: you’re only as good as those you surround yourself with."
Founded by: Charlotte Jones
Gap in the market: Classic and effortlessly chic. Charlotte was inspired by a timeless shape that came into her head when she was bed bound in hospital. The Bloomsbury is a sell-out style. Completely British-made this is a business to watch.
USP: Handcrafted designs made in Britain and proudly supported by The Prince’s Trust. Meghan Markle’s a big fan.
Where to shop: Charlottelizabeth.com
Top Tip: "There will be points when you or others doubt yourself, your abilities, your worth, your strength – as a creative, this is even more prominent. But what I have learnt through creating Charlotte Elizabeth is that you can prove yourself and others wrong, you can truly succeed in your dream and make that dream as big as you want it to be. For anyone sat on an idea, or considering not going after an idea despite believing in it fully, keep going, all of the hard work and commitment that you put in now will be the best commitment you can make to your life. Believe in yourself and you will go far."
Founded by: Emma Farrow-Marshall
Gap in the market: Tired of seeing the same designs over and over, Emma used her previous experience as design director at Topshop to create a collection that puts the excitement back into shopping. Making modern and sophisticated styling accessible and lust-worthy again.
USP: Modern clothing with a focus on silhouette and form. Premium but affordable.
Where to shop: Finerylondon.com
Top tip: "Surround yourself with like-minded people. Finery wouldn’t be what it is without amazing people – especially women – that inspire me."
Founded by: Georgiana Huddart and Peter Meadows
Gap in the market: We wanted to create high-quality swimwear that truly makes the most of every woman’s figure. With a one-size-fits-all philosophy Hunza G is the hottest swimwear brand season after season.
USP: Bright, playful designs which make you want to book a holiday and hit the beach, stat.
Top tip: Georgiana says: "Don’t be afraid to ask questions – even if they might seem silly. I’m naturally very shy and it took me a while to trust my gut instincts and speak up when I didn’t things were right. The secret to our success is transparency and honesty."
Stella & Dot
Founded by: Jessica Herrin
Gap in the market: As co-founder of weddingchannel.com, Jessica used her tech-savvy know-how to solve the modern woman’s dilemma: achieving success and balance through a career you love.
USP: Style powered by women. It’s all about social selling, creating flexible entrepreneurial opportunities for women.
Where to shop: Stelladot.co.uk and local Stella & Dot stylists.
Top tip: "I started the company on my own with a rough idea. Meeting the right partners made it grow. I ran my own parties for five years (and still host them now) to ensure I understood and could engage with our sales consultants and customers. Don’t listen to the voices saying it won’t work. Just keep evaluating, improving and applying effort."
Founded by: Morange Sézalory
Gap in the market: After graduating, Morgane worked part-time jobs in Paris while running an eBay business, selling hand-picked vintage finds. After tiring of never-ending post office queues she launched her own platform, ‘Les Composantes.’ Each month she’d host online ‘rendezvous’ where 100 customised vintage pieces would go live online at the same time – inevitably selling out within minutes. This gave her the push she needed to launch her own line, ‘Sézane’.
USP: The one-stop shop for covetable French-girl cool.
Where To Shop: Sezane.com
Top tip: "I learnt and now live by these five things that every business woman should know: 1, Always follow your instincts; 2, Love more; 3, Be independent; 4, Give back; 5, Don’t stress over the little things."
Founded by: Tamara Hill-Norton
Gap in the market: After graduating Tamara worked as a buyer and spotted a hue gap in the market for bright and fun workout wear. After being made redundant she decided to launch her own company, filling this gap.
USP: Reinvented activewear, making clothing and kit to empower women, on the move, to feel powerful and amazing.
Where to shop: Sweatybetty.com
Top tip: "Be passionate about others and keep you and them motivated."
Founded by: Holly Anna Scarsella
Gap in the market: After working in fashion pr for five years, Holly noticed a gap for luxurious, yet accessible, resort wear.
USP: Luxurious resort wear that’s so dreamy you’ll have booked a holiday by the time you’ve placed your order.
Where to shop: Pampelone.com
Top tip: "Stop talking, planning, making plans and just get out there and do it. Things will never come to you – you have to go get them yourself."
Founded by: Carly Cushnie
Gap in the market: Unimpressed by the lack of modern occasion wear with chic designs and flattering fits, Carly launched a collection that refines a sense of cosmopolitan minimalism and femininity
USP: The brand serves the modern woman and is artfully tailored to achieve the perfect fit, clean cuts and sculptural lines that sit beautifully on any female form.
Where to shop: https://www.cushnie.com/
Top tip: “As a woman, I understand what my customer wants from her clothes. I’ve grown and evolved alongside her over the past 10 years, and I strive to present her with timeless silhouettes that make her feel sexy, sophisticated and powerful — all at once.”
Founded by: Robyn ‘Rihanna’ Fenty
Gap in the market: Following the success of her global beauty empire, Rihanna saw an opportunity to enter the world of luxury fashion as the first black woman to take the helm of a a major fashion house, launching her chic streetwear inspired pieces under LVMH - the group that owns Louis Vuitton and Dior amongst other major brands.
USP: Drop-led luxury fashion inspired by Rihanna’s own style and using her platform to launch see now, buy now retail.
Where to shop: https://www.fenty.com/us/en/home
Top tip: “I’m black… I’m young, I’m new to the family. I’m a woman. Those factors do come into play but I will not apologies for them… I’m running a company and that’s exactly what I came here to do. I don’t know if it makes people uncomfortable or not, but that’s not my business.”
Founded by: Titi Adesanya
Gap in the market: Adesanya who splits her time between London and Lagos, found that there was something missing in the world of luxury footwear - a brand that reflected her culture and catered to her people. “I wanted to cater to women like me, Nigerian and African women, who tend to have a little bit wider feet than European sizes,” she says.
USP: The brand has a clear ethos, “to celebrate women, with a distinctive, specially designed ‘tilted diamond’ logo.”
Where to shop: https://www.titiadesa.com/
Top tip: “In Nigeria, if you’re bringing in business, you have the upper hand to negotiate. But I realised that that’s not how it works in Italy, it’s based on the weight and volume of your business.”
Founded by: Rene Macdonald
Gap in the market: As a self-confessed bold dresser, Rene always struggled to find British brands that reflected her style and therefore saw an opportunity to launch her own brand with a unique way of combining unexpected colours and creating vibrant prints.
USP: A womenswear brand that specialises in silks and unique prints with vibrant colours.
Where to shop: https://lisou.co.uk/
Top tip: “I work on prints all the time and save the ones that aren’t quite right, but I know they’ll all get used eventually. I always have a notebook on me so I can jot down ideas, and if for some reason I don’t, then any scrap of paper will do.”