Now that March has arrived, it means that International Women’s Day will soon be here. Since the early 1900s, brave women have been standing up for the rights of future female generations. And as we continue to strive for stronger gender equality, there’s no better time to celebrate female-owned businesses than on International Women’s Day. On March 8, we will celebrate women’s economic, political, social, and cultural achievements globally — and Canada is no exception. While we celebrate groundbreaking women every damn day, this year, we wanted to share a collection of Canadian female-owned businesses who inspire us to work harder and live bolder.
Read on to learn about 11 female-owned businesses you should be supporting, if you aren’t already.
Lexi Miles is a truly passionate female entrepreneur and beauty expert with two businesses under her belt. After realizing there weren’t any businesses offering high-end and efficient waxing services at competitive prices, she left her career in management consulting and started WAXON Laser + Waxbar in 2012. Today, WAXON offers hair removal services including waxing, laser, brows, tinging, and lash lifts at locations nationwide, with plans for further expansion. But if Lexi wasn’t busy enough, she also recently launched South, a clean, intimate below-the-belt line for women made with high-quality, PH-balanced formulas, and clean ingredients. The collection includes products like fresh wipes, intimate skin cleanser, ingrown hair serum, and more.
Unapologetically bold and made-in-Toronto, ARMED began as a jewellery line in 2011 and has been flourishing ever since. Desiree Girlato, the owner and designer, has grown her brand into a lifestyle with two stores in the city: Dundas West and Parkdale. So not only does Girlato design jewellery that women can arm themselves with day-to-day, but you can shop reimagined vintage from her line The Rove, homewares by ARMEDhome, or pop by ARMEDbeauty for services like nail art, lash lifts, spray tans, and more.
Plain and simple, Joanna Griffiths has revolutionized the intimate apparel industry with Knix, a Toronto-based brand that’s designed to make women feel more comfortable in their own skin. Joanna launched Knix back in 2013 with underwear that could handle “little leaks,” and today, the company carries a range of products including tops and bras, underwear, nursing tanks and bras, and loungewear that celebrate every inch of a woman’s body.
Founded by Miriam Alden in early 2014, Brunette the Label is a clothing brand based in Vancouver that is sold in over 700 stores in Canada and the US, while also quickly growing in Australia and Europe. The brand first started with its iconic ‘Brunette’ and ‘Blonde’ sweaters and now carries everything from hoodies and jackets to bottoms and accessories, appealing to all ‘babes’. Since its inception, the female-owned brand has collaborated with a variety of brands including Juicy Couture, Garnier, Coveteur, and Goop. Plus, on International Women’s Day, the brand is donating 100% of online sales to the charity One Girl Can.
Michelle August has always been an avid athlete, playing sports from when she was little to playing varsity basketball in California. But when she returned home in 2014, she realized she truly missed the team atmosphere, which led her to turn her passion for fitness into a business, and launch SPINCO, a cycling studio in her hometown of Kelowna, BC, when she was just 22 years old. Today, SPINCO is Canada’s largest indoor cycling studio, with 13 studios across the country, with the plan to open 20 studios in total by the end of the year.
With a loyal fan base that spans Sophie Trudeau, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Gwen Stefani, Miley Cyrus, Alessandra Ambrosio, Mila Kunis, Jen Atkins, and Kate Beckinsale (just to name a few), there’s a reason why women are obsessed with Toronto-based Ellie Mae Studios. The namesake brand embraces high quality fabrics, local production, and nostalgia to make one-of-a-few pieces that are as unique as the women who wear them.
If you have yet to own something from Mejuri, chances are you’ve seen your favourite celebs or influencers post about it on social media. Founded by Noura Sakkijha in Toronto in 2012, Mejuri is a direct-to-consumer jewellery brand that’s made by women for women. With a focus on fair and accessible prices, female-owned Mejuri carries timeless pieces that are both understated and striking, with its collection ranging from thin gold bands and classic small hoops to dainty pearl earrings and wearable diamonds.
As a twice-widowed mother of three, Nicole Abbott knows a thing or two about resilience and strength. Following the passing of both her husbands, Nicole wanted to show her children that they could follow their dreams even through life’s most trying times. She found solace in creating her dream makeup line in honour of both husbands and founded Hey Babe Cosmetics. Each product in the collection, which includes lipstick, shimmer powders, eyeshadow palettes, brushes, and more, is non-toxic and paraben and cruelty-free, made and manufactured in Toronto.
Founded by Hannah Kim, her mother, and her two sisters, ai Toronto Seoul is a family-run, sustainable fashion brand that uses entirely vegan leather for its beautiful range of PETA-approved handbags and accessories that are made in Seoul. The stunning collection includes totes, work bags, clutches, bucket and cross-body bags, backpacks, card cases, hair accessories, and more.
Nerissa Jawanda first had the vision for Callula Co. when she realized there was a gap in the sunglasses market for women with smaller or more narrow faces, many of whom (like Nerissa) were limited to shopping in the children’s section. Today, the female-owned brand makes premium quality sunglasses in on-trend shapes and hues that help its customers feel confident and look beautiful. Callula Co. is fully women-run and operated, working with women in all aspects of its business including product design, photography, production, and more. In celebration of International Women’s Day, Callula Co. has teamed up with Toronto-based graphic illustrator Rachel Joanis to launch a limited edition capsule of three t-shirts featuring inspiring sayings and illustrations for women. On March 8th, 100% of proceeds from the collection will support Dress for Success Toronto.
Founded by besties Hyla Nayeri and Adrien Bettio, 437 Swimwear was designed for real women with real bodies, with each swimsuit embracing a woman’s curves. Every style is made with a meticulous cut and luxe fabric in an attention grabbing print or colour to give you an extra boost of confidence so you can look and feel your absolute best. The brands figure-flattering, minimalistic styles will have all eyes on you, whether you’re at the pool or the beach.
Articles You May Also Be Interested In:
How 5 Notable Women Saved Their Family’s Fashion Business
10 Underrated Shopping Destinations In Toronto
12 Fashion-Forward Brands That Celebrities Love
10 Of The Most Popular Collabs That Dropped In 2019
10 Up-And-Coming Canadian Brands To Watch In 2020