Did you know all that Canva, The Wing, and Kendra Scott were founded or co-founded by women? Some of your favorite businesses and brands were created by women like you!
Female founders are on the rise and despite the fact that they receive less funding than males, they actually outperform males. A study done by the Boston Consulting Group states “female-run startups generated 78 cents in revenue, whereas male-run startups generated only 31 cents.”
Each week we highlight three female founders and the companies they’ve created. This week meet Melanie Perkins, Audrey Gelman, and Kendra Scott.
Canva: Melanie Perkins
Melanie Perkins is the CEO and Co-Founder of the graphic design platform, Canva. The platform was created in 2013 to give people the opportunity to create graphics more easily, on their devices (mobile, desktop, iPad, laptop, etc.).
Melanie Perkins was teaching at the University of West Australia when she saw just how difficult it was to use graphic design software. She saw a gap in the market and the idea of Canva was born. Before, Canva, though, Melanie created Fusion Books, an online design system that schools could use to create yearbooks more easily. Fusion Books is the largest yearbook publisher in Australia and has spread to other countries as well. This experience gave her background in creating technology that was extremely user-friendly, which absolutely helped with the creation of Canva.
Although Canva has only been around for a few years, it’s valued at around $2.5 billion and has raised over $140 million in funding. If you’ve ever had difficulties creating a graphic using a software (we’re looking at you Photoshop), you’re not alone! Canva allows you to create graphics using your own templates or pre-made templates, free photos and elements, different backdrops, tons of fonts, and the best part – it’s super simple and user-friendly!
Perkins has done an incredible job growing both of her companies (which she created with her husband Cliff Obrecht). In 2016, she made Business Insider’s “Coolest Tech People” list (at #3!). And she is also ranked as one of Australia’s richest women.
The Wing: Audrey Gelman
Audrey Gelman is the Co-Founder and CEO of The Wing, a coworking space for women (which has several locations across the US).
Before creating The Wing, Audrey Gelman worked in politics and public affairs. She was the Senior Vice President at a political consulting firm and was the Deputy Communications Director to Scott M. Stringer. She also worked as a political aide to Hillary Clinton in 2008, which sparked that “women can do anything” mentality in her. She then created The Wing, where women could be the dominant voice and create, learn, and grow as a community.
The Wing is not only a coworking space, but it’s also a sort of “women’s club” that wishes to carry on the “traditions, values, and spirit of the women’s club movement.” The Wing also has an app for members where they can post and search for jobs as well as chat with other members.
Gelman created the company with fellow female founder, Lauran Kassan, and raised $118 million in funding. The Wing even has some fans you probably know -Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep, and Mindy Kaling (who is an investor) to name a few!
Gelman has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business. She was also named by Forbes’ Magazine 30 under 30, and one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in New York by the NY Daily News.
Kendra Scott: Kendra Scott
Kendra Scott is the founder, CEO, Designer, and Philanthropist for the jewelry line, Kendra Scott. As of 2016, it is a $1 billion company.
Scott began with a retail hat store which she closed in 1998. However, the entrepreneurial journey was far from over for Scott, and in 2002, she began creating her first jewelry brand from the comfort of her own home.
What was once just a girl creating jewelry in her spare bedroom, is now a global billion-dollar fashion brand. Today, there are around 106 Kendra Scott locations and they are continuing to grow. Not only that, but the brand can also be found in big retailers such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, and Selfridges. Of course, if you don’t have any of these stores close by, all of the jewelry can be found on their website, as well.
The company prides itself on philanthropy (as they should!) hosting more than 10,000 fundraising and awareness events, volunteering over 2,000 hours, and donating more than $4.5 million to local and national causes. They go by the mantra “what matters to you, matters to us” meaning they like to focus on their customers and the causes that are close to them. Here’s how you can get involved in the philanthropic side.
One last note worth mentioning, Scott is now number 40 on Forbes’ America Self-Made Women’s list. How cool is that?
Alyson Pittman is a contributing writer for WBD and a JR marketing associate for Excite Creative Studios, an Atlanta-based creative agency.
Alyson graduated from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelors of Business Administration and a concentration in Marketing. She was in multiple organizations at KSU where she held leadership positions. As a part of the Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority, Alyson held the Social Coordinator position and planned/promoted large events.