Over the years, we have witnessed amazing entrepreneurs leaving their mark in the entrepreneurial world. Let’s face it, the list of successful female entrepreneurs continues to grow and evolve. There is a number of people in various professions that have gone from new kids on the block to becoming successful entrepreneurs, but this road to success is not always guaranteed. For every successful business, thousands of hopefuls fail. But for those that remain inspired, committed, and passionate, victory is an achievable target. That said, we have compiled a list of twelve successful female entrepreneurs who have accomplished not only success in their chosen field but also changed the world we live in through their innovation and ideas.
12. Kim Overton
It all started in 2006 when SPIbelts Founder, Kim Overton, went for a run with nowhere to comfortably hold her key. Afterward, she went home and assembled the first SPIbelt. After months of hard work, development, and patenting, SPIbelt officially launched in February of 2007 out of Kim’s Austin, Texas apartment.
Eleven years later you can find SPIbelt products in over 40 countries. Despite SPIbelts international success, its headquarters remain in Austin, Texas where the majority of their products are still being handmade.
11. Nikki Clarke
Starting a business with newborn or small children is not an easy feat, especially when you have to look after four of them. All Nikki Clarke initially wanted to do was make a bit of extra money on the side to feel comfortable financially. She didn’t actually start out to revolutionize the way mums looked and felt about themselves. She started Cadenshae with a $20k order of bras. She financed the entire project herself, as it was important for her not to rely on investors so she could still keep full control of the business. At the time, she had an 11-month-old baby and another one on the way, so it was certainly a risk, but one she knew would pay off as she’d stumbled across a niche market that was not being catered to properly at all. In less than five years she had 2 more kids, yet in the process, she somehow managed to grow Cadenshae into a multi-million dollar global empire.
10. Helen Getts
Growing up without any influence to have a strong business mindset, being an entrepreneur didn’t come as an idea to Helen Getts until at a much later time in her life. Raised by young parents who came from a communist country, it’s not something that was really on the table for her.
Growing up, she had to be independent, which was a great life lesson for her but which also lead her to struggle during her teenage years and eventually drop out of high school. But that hiccup in her life didn’t discourage Helen at all. She managed to get her act together – she got her GED (General Educational Development) and continued her studies at a 4-year Business University, where she received high academic achievement.
While in college, similar to most students, she took on several oddball jobs. These jobs eventually took a toll on Helen which in turn pushed her to find a better way to earn money – and that’s through selling products she loves online. After a period of time, she realized she didn’t want to just earn from this side hustle – she wanted to turn it into an actual full-time business. As a result, she ended up dropping everything else and she has been working on the e-commerce sphere now for the last 6 years.
In the first two years of being in business, Helen failed in all the things she tried, followed by three years of struggling to break even. It was only really this year that her company Topfoxx got a big break. As with many startups, she had an apartment-turned-stockroom with only four sunglasses designs to start. In a span of four years, Topfoxx has now grown into an all-female team of eight and carries over 70+ eyewear designs in styles and colours made to fit every unique personality. The Topfoxx brand has also built a community of over 260,000 followers (Boss Babes!) on Instagram alone and their designs are loved by top fashion and beauty influencers. Celebrities such as actress Brittany Snow, Kardashian’s make-up artist Hrush Acheyam, country singer Raelynn, and more have been spotted in their Topfoxx sunnies. You can also find Topfoxx on notable fashion publications such as InStyle, Elite Daily, Bustle, and more.
9. Yi Zhou
Chinese multimedia artist, influencer, and entrepreneur Yi Zhou is widely known in the international creative community for her artistic, fashion, branding, and film work. Her work is admired by a highly diverse group of distinguished intellectuals, Hollywood A-listers, wealthy patrons and the young social media audience.
Yi Zhou has a degree in political science and economics from the London School of Economics and is now continuing her education at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. She speaks fluent French, Italian, English, Spanish, and Mandarin.
In recent years, she has endorsed a number of global campaigns including Persol, DFST – Galleria, Levis, and others. She was named the first-ever brand ambassador for China for Clarins in 2010. Since 2011, she has collaborated with such prestigious brands as Chanel, Hogan, Pringle of Scotland, Lane Crawford, and YOOX. She also collaborated with French couture Jewelry house Gripoix, launching a special collection titled “Pineapple Secret. Her animations have also inspired a clothing collection by popular French brand Each X Other.
In 2013, she was invited as the first-ever Chinese talent to be hired as a designer and creative director of a brand, to create a 360-degree project ranging from menswear, womenswear, and accessories for Italian luxury brand ICEBERG. The “Breaking the Ice” capsule collection was released worldwide in December 2013.
In 2010, she created Yi Zhou Studio, creating employment opportunities for young Chinese talents to collaborate and experiment together on international projects.
A major social media influencer, Yi Zhou has been named Tudou’s art director, art and fashion advisory member at SINA.com, and beauty and fashion ambassador for Tencent.
A passionate promoter of East-West relations, she is frequently asked to speak at conferences and events around the globe, including TEDx (Paris 2012, Beijing 2013, Zheijang 2014), LVMH Labour Day in Paris in 2013 and Financial Times Luxury Conference in 2014.
Yi Zhou has contributed to many NGOs by creating art pieces for the UN Conference for World Climate Change in South Africa in 2011, the UNDP China Rio+20 Projection in 2012, as well as World Oceans Day in 2015. Most recently, she worked with Natalia Vodianova’s Naked Heart Foundation by participating in an artwork commissioned by ETAM.
Yi Zhou ‘s short films have also been shown at Shanghai Biennale, Venice Biennale, Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival. She was selected by Venice Biennale to showcase her 2011 works, as well as new works from her solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome titled “Fragments of Rome, past, future, parallel worlds.”
She is currently working on several international media projects and is developing her first feature motion picture.
8. Jennifer “Jen” Kem
Jennifer “Jen” Kem is a San Francisco Bay Area-based branding and marketing expert who gets entrepreneurs seen, heard, and paid – for being themselves.
She’s the creator of the Master Brand Method: a framework to develop powerful brand archetypes that win customers’ hearts, leveraging Jennifer’s 17 years of corporate experience and her launching of multiple companies.
She uses the Master Brand method in digital strategy coaching for emerging entrepreneurs, celebrity brands like Oprah Winfrey Network and Steve Harvey, and major corporations including Verizon, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Bank of Hawaii.
Jennifer serves up straight talk wrapped in love because she understands entrepreneurs’ challenges: She built a retail business and became a millionaire at 32, only to lose it all in the recession two years later. She is now the successful owner of three million-dollar brand-building businesses and the mother of three children.
7. Brianna Rooney
Brianna Rooney was initially hired as a recruiter, a career she knew nothing about, yet somehow she managed to thrive in it and even enjoyed every second of it. Two years later, she came to a point where she didn’t feel that the company she worked for was doing her justice. Eventually, she decided to walk out of her job with no plan whatsoever because she just knew she wanted to do better, more quality work – and that’s how Techees was born. Techees is a team of recruiters that collaborate well together and help connect companies and candidates.
Today she’s 34 years old, she owns her own company called Techees, she also has three houses, as well as a top 100 restaurant (www.mouthfuleatery.com).
6. Tahnee Elliott
When Tahnee Elliott saw a need for a quality fashion boutique, she decided to take advantage of the opportunity to fill in the gap in the market, and the result was a successful business.
She started her business back in 2000 at the ripe age of 24. She had just graduated from college in Lubbock, Texas when she decided that she wanted to go into business. Having lived in the small college town for four years, she knew there was a serious need for a quality fashion boutique. After opening TC Elli’s, word quickly spread about her business and TC Elli’s began to grow into a beloved shop where luxury is about being one of a kind, and not about how much money you spend.
Fast forward to today, and TC Elli’s now has over 40 thousand followers on Instagram and customers all over the world. She runs her business with the help of about 30 high school and college-aged women. Part of the mission of TC Elli’s is to prepare and empower women to start a business, so by delegating essential duties such as social media, buying, and budgeting to her staff – she hopes to teach all of her employees how to start, run, and expand their own company if and when they decide to do so after college.
5. Mimi G
With over 2.1 million social media followers and 12 million website views annually, DIY Fashion Expert/Girlboss Mimi G has defied all odds to emerge as the most influential woman in DIY fashion, propelling herself into the ranks of Martha Stewart, Lauren Conrad, and Chrissy Teigen.
MimiGStyle.com began as a hobby, and has blossomed into the world’s leading DIY fashion/sewing online destination, where Mimi G models her original designs/patterns ranging from business wear to swimsuits that fit the everyday girl, create free tutorials of her on-trend sewing patterns (Turn Your Jeans into a Skirt, Refashioned Sweatshirt into Dress, Men’s Shirt Into Off Shoulder Button Up), personally answers every DIY sewing question (i.e. what fabrics to buy, what projects to start with, etc.), and so much more. She also created the world’s #1 online sewing school SewItAcademy that works for everyone from the first-time sewing novice to the expert seamstress. SewItAcademy helps fashionistas of all levels master the fundamentals of sewing, work at a pace that allows time to practice, learn the importance of specific techniques, break free from mundane methods, and create trendsetting clothing and accessories.
Mimi G has worked with celebrities like Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Aniston, companies like Target, Revlon, and Google, and has been featured in People Magazine, Parade Magazine, POPSUGAR (to name a few) for making sewing hip and accessible.
4. Raquel Baldelomar
Raquel Baldelomar is the founder and president of Quaintise, a marketing and branding agency, based in Santa Monica. For 15 years, Quaintise has produced award-winning creative content for clients in the health and wellness sectors. Raquel has a finance degree from the MBA-modeled Business Honors Program at the University of Texas at Austin and began her career managing private equity portfolios as a financial analyst for JP Morgan Private Bank. In 2003, Raquel launched Quaintise and has served leading national health and wellness organizations by building their brand currencies through compelling storytelling, strong messaging, and visually engaging creative assets.
In 2015, Raquel decided to devote more time to one of her passions – changing the conversation of healthcare from sick care management to disease prevention. She is co-author of the book Sugar Crush: How to Reduce Inflammation, Reverse Nerve Damage, and Reclaim Good Health. She is also a Forbes columnist where she reports on corporate wellness, executive health, and the creative process. Raquel is also a TV host and producer for CNN focusing on stories related to executive health, wellness, and how travel stimulates creativity. Her goal is to share with audiences compelling stories that educate people on how pausing can lead to a more meaningful kind of productivity, creativity, and wellness.
3. Emily Vavra
Emily Vavra is an alpha female Entrepreneur who had a dream and went for it. This LA-based wellness leader and the speaker continue to pave the way for others as one of the top network marketing professionals. Since 2011, Emily has helped thousands of other entrepreneurs in building their own health, wealth, and financial freedom.
Emily started from humble beginnings: from being flat broke at the age of 23, she channeled her determination, knowledge, and talent for managing people into building one of the largest network marketing organizations to date. She made her first million at the age of 26, and today, she has helped more than 140,000 entrepreneurs find their own path to personal and professional success.
2. Lisa Wise
Lisa Wise is the CEO of Flock DC (Chief Flockster), a family of service companies with an innovative approach to real estate management and preservation.
Over the last 25 years, her professional experiences have all been anchored in empowering individuals as consumers, building stronger communities, and creating forward-thinking businesses. Growing up surrounded by love but short on resources, she sought security by building businesses from a young age, starting with her first enterprise, The Sherlock Holmes Detective Agency in her parents’ backyard shed.
In 2008 Lisa made a radical career change from the non-profit world to running a small boutique property management company. Today she owns a family of companies, employs over 50 people and her company manages 1.5 billion in residential real estate in Washington, DC. They do all of this while being a great place to work for and having a valuable role to play in contributing to the community. Her leadership style is about empathy, humility, and a fierce passion for justice. With her country amid a global pandemic, an economic crisis, and widespread protests for racial justice, she’s trying to step into this moment with bold and unapologetic leadership, personal sacrifices, and a commitment to caring for her team members and her community.
1. Liz Elting
Liz Elting is the founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation. She is an entrepreneur, business leader, linguaphile, philanthropist, feminist, and mother. After living, studying, and working in five countries across the globe, Liz started TransPerfect out of an NYU dorm room. During her tenure as Co-CEO, she grew TransPerfect into the world’s largest language solutions company, with over $600 million in revenue, 5,000+ employees, 11,000+ clients, and offices in more than 90 cities worldwide. Liz has been recognized as a NOW “Woman of Power & Influence,” American Express’ and Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Woman of the Year,” one of Forbes’ “Richest Self-Made Women,” and is a recipient of the 2019 Charles Waldo Haskins Award for business and public service from NYU’s Stern School of Business.