Female-founded brands to support this IWD

In honour of International Women’s Day, we are celebrating the strength, courage and achievements of these homegrown businesses founded by inspiring women. We find out why they started, the challenges they faced and how they overcame them.

If you are looking for female-owned brands to support this month (and beyond), check out these inspiring brands, from Singapore’s largest açaí speciality brand to mindful, eco-conscious homeware..

01. Vanessa, Gentle Objects
Gentle Objects started from my love of delicate glassware pieces and how it changed the way I viewed simple mundane routines. During the pandemic, when days seem to blend together, I noticed how picking out my favourite glassware for the day and making myself a nice cup of beverage in the mornings became a routine that I really looked forward to. It even got me to drink more water as I wanted any excuse to fill up my glass 🙊

Of course, when dealing with something as fragile as glass, there are many mishaps that could happen, and shipping is a nightmare. I’ve ever had a shipment where every piece was shattered 😅 But, it is all worth it when I know that my customers enjoy and love the pieces as much as I do!

Shop Glassware

02. Krish and Ramya, PoweredByPlants
PoweredByPlant, a vegan and cruelty free beauty platform founded by Krishna Apoorva and Ramya Ramesh, is on a mission to power you with plant-derived & non toxic beauty products for sensitive skin and focus on the core values of sustainability.

As two young women who have gone through bottles and boxes of commercial beauty products, we realised how big beauty brands largely impact the environment. Not only that, warmer climates and increased UV rays are impacting our skin in ways we can’t see. Skin cancer rates are rising because of climate change. This is attributed to stratospheric ozone depletion. So less ozone = more UV rays = damaged skin health.

“In fact, just a 10% reduction in stratospheric ozone is estimated to cause an additional 300,000 skin cancers.” - Parker

There is also a link between air pollution and increased severity of atopic dermatitis (eczema). This leads to oxidative stress (imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body) and impacts anyone & everyone.
We understand that these factors cannot be controlled.

At PoweredByPlant, we want you to transform your beauty experience to boost long-term skin health and address impacts of harsh UV rays, dirt accumulation contributing to increased skin sensitivity.

The story behind PoweredByPlant is simple: to provide transparency. We do the research behind ingredients, sourcing and packaging so no one has to.
As two fresh graduates running PoweredByPlant full time, some difficulties we faced included finding and sourcing effective skincare products by brands that are transparent about their initiatives. Logistics and operations can be unpredictable so we try to be agile and open to last-minute changes.

The most challenging part during this journey is definitely communicating information to consumers who are misinformed of brands and the industry - for us, it is always about putting together information that is clear, concise, easy to understand and is backed by evidence, because we never want to spread misinformation. However, we might make mistakes along the way but we always strive to be better in this dynamic industry.

03. Anna and Isabel, The Acai Affair
Anna and I founded An Açaí Affair in 2016, back when we were still studying in SMU. We bonded through our love for açaí and all things nutritious and wholesome.

We started An Açaí Affair with the aim of raising awareness about açaí and its many health benefits, and to make it more affordable and accessible to the masses. We are proud to be Singapore’s largest açaí speciality store, serving superior quality, organic açaí in the purest and least diluted form.
It was definitely challenging at the beginning starting a business as two young females, in terms of getting people to respect us and take us seriously. The uncertainty that comes with running an F&B can also be very daunting, Over the years, we’ve gained more experience and built up more self confidence to tackle the challenges that come our way.

Discover An Acai Affair

04. Becca and NZ, Aphy Active
Grounded in the mentality of health is wealth and through various body image struggles growing up, both NZ and myself (Becca) have found working out to be both therapeutic and healing for our mind, heart and body. It’s not quite like aggressively hitting the gym 5 times a week but more so in a manner to move our body almost everyday with different work-outs that fits what we need. It is encouraging when you start to feel stronger, it changes you in a whirl of positivity that is beautiful! And with that, when we came together to start Aphy, we were focused and we knew that activewear and athleisure wear is something that we believe has the potential to inspire our community to not just work-out but to feel good and do good while at it.

We think the biggest challenge for Aphy was looking for a supplier whose ethics and manufacturing process aligns with us. This goes beyond just the production process but to also find a house that cares just as much for their people as they do for the environment. We had clarity on the vision, direction of the brand and we’d say the other challenge would be navigating the brand launch whilst in the middle of a pandemic. As extroverts, we both love irl interactions and have always loved people. Due to Aphy being a “pandemic baby”, we had to hold off on quite a few irl activations we had planned as the restrictions were constantly changing and that was quite a challenge on how we can both make an impactful launch all while being able to convey the ambitions of Aphy just through our online channels.

We understand that we are not perfect in all the processes and aspects but we also know that we are just getting started! There’s also the innovation of new tools as it goes to better equip us with capacity to lean towards closing the loop. I think more than pressure, we recognise this as our biggest learning curve and process where we will continuously learn and grow to do better.

05. Shannon, Spades and Shovels
In my early 20s, I was going through a rough phase in life. Somehow, I found comfort and healing in flowers, and I knew I wanted to share that with the world. Together with my love for flowers and creativity, Spades & Shovels was then started with the hope that my creations can bring love and joy in both the good and bad times.

Just like many other young entrepreneurs, turning my passion into a profitable business was a struggle. As much as I enjoyed my job, there was a period where I just wasn’t making enough to sustain this dream. There were many moment where I doubted myself and wanted to give up.

With the encouragement and advice from friends and family, I learned that it is important to celebrate the small wins. I stopped worrying too much about the future and place my focus on each day instead. I’m still nowhere near where I would like Spades & Shovels to be, but I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity, and am striving to do better each day.

06. Jaren, Yotto Home
Two years ago, when the pandemic hit the world, I was feeling a little lost and discouraged like everyone else. However, while I was constantly reminding myself to live life in full bloom, the question is... How?

Yotto Home became a platform for me to spread mindful messages and promote awareness for eco-living during circuit breaker. In the middle of a lockdown, I designed my first reusable cotton linen mask and introduced ethically sourced artisanal home decor for the modern Home from Indonesia to the Yotto community. It was a fun and fulfilling experience at Home. 🙂

Amanda, Soul Good Project
I've always wanted to start my own business and took the courage to embark on my journey to start Soul Good Project with the vision of creating natural alternatives to the personal care in the market.

Everyday is a challenge, whether for product development or marketing as there are so many brands out there. What matters is having the perseverance, patience and determination.

08. Grace, Forest Makers
In December 2019, we were on a family trip to Ho Chih Ming City and were absolutely impressed and inspired by the unique boutique shops in the area we stayed in. Their pro-natural and eco-mindedness were evident in their way of living from natural soaps, bamboo toothbrushes to bamboo straws in restaurants, hotels and shops. Afterusing the natural products that we bought in HCM, Forest Makers was born in Jan 2020 with the concept of bringing natural, designer, eco-friendly, handmade and artisan products from all around the world to Singapore.

Forest Makers is also a way where I could express my love for art, crafts and design. We carefully select products with design, eco-friendliness, practicality in mind and are slowly expanding our curation of products. As a small business and home-based, our challenges include space constraints for storing our products and manpower during order surge while coping with a full-time job and 2 young children. However, we do believe we will overcome these challenges in time to come with careful planning and organisation. We are very thankful to have grown over the 2 years with the help of family, friends, customers as well as influencers. With their encouragement and support, we strive to curate more beautiful products as we continue to grow. To God Be the Glory.

09. Sonia, Frozen Wells
Frozenwells began as a passion project in our small kitchen to create an all natural ice cream that could reinvent the healthy experience. Being someone with a gluten intolerance, we started crafting small batches of our gluten-free formula for friends and family, and slowly expanded to build our small community of people who appreciate our nut-mylk flavors!

The biggest challenge was in expanding our community as a small business and competing with larger brands. We've learnt that building relationships with other small businesses can really help, and found lasting friendships in this community where small business owners help each other out. It's extremely heartwarming to be able to come together this International Women's Day to celebrate women-owned businesses that spread nothing but love and support, especially in the tough times of COVID recovery.

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