Female Founders: Nextdoor, Universal Standard, & Health-Ade Kombucha

You’ve heard their brands, but do you know their stories? Every Friday, we feature three companies and their female founders and share the stories behind the brands.

This week, meet Sarah Leary from Nextdoor, Polina Veksler and Alex Waldman of Universal Standard, and Daina Trout of Health-Ade Kombucha.

Nextdoor: Sarah Leary


Sarah Leary is a senior executive and entrepreneur in the information technology field with about 25 years of experience to her name. She is the Co-Founder at Nextdoor. 

If you aren’t already familiar with Nextdoor, it’s a free and private social network where neighbors in the area can communicate and exchange information as well as goods and services.

“Twenty-nine percent of Americans can’t name a few of their neighbors, and 28 percent can’t name a single one,” says Leary, co-founder of Nextdoor. “It costs us in terms of public health, in test scores, in crime.”

Leary created the Nextdoor app to change this.

Under Leary, the Nextdoor app went from just being used in a single Californian neighborhood, to more than 82,000 neighborhoods across the U.S, U.K., and the Netherlands. 

Universal Standard: Polina Veksler and Alex Waldman

Universal Standard

Polina Veksler and Alex Waldman founded the global retailer, Universal Standard together. The two wanted to break away barriers between sizing in fashion. And Universal Standard did just that by bringing clothing and garment sizing into the double-digits.

It all started while they were shopping together, and they ran into an issue. There were not many options for high-quality clothing that ran in both of their sizes. Seeing this gap in fashion, they decided to make a change and thus, Universal Standard was born. 

They created an 8-model launch that sold out in just six short days.

Today, Universal Standard is backed by huge companies such as Goop, Sweetgreen, SoulCycle, Toms, and many more. The company is growing by 200% and it is continuing its expansion. They now offer sizes 00-40 and have become one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies”.

Health-Ade Kombucha: Daina Trout

Health-Ade Kombucha

In 2012, Daina Trout co-founded Health-Ade Kombucha alongside her husband Justin Trout and her best friend Vanessa Dew. Trout has a master’s in Nutrition and Public Health and after working in corporate America, decided she wanted to take on her true passion: “real” food. 

Trout had been drinking kombucha but noticed its lack of flavor. With her love of health, science, and nutrition she began brewing the best tasting, highest quality kombucha on the market. And at first, Health-Ade Kombucha was brewed in her Daina Trout’s apartment and sold at farmers’ markets, but soon it outgrew her apartment and the demand spread. It’s become one of the fastest-growing brands in the category for three years in a row. 

Now, the brand has more than 150 distributors across the US. When MyDomaine asked what it takes to be successful Trout answered, “Success is 100% accessible to everyone. Anyone can wake up two hours earlier to make a goal happen.”

Do you have a female founder that you think we need to know about? We would love to hear about it! Let us know in the comments below or reach out to us here.


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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.