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Supporting Women-Owned Businesses Is Vital. Here’s How We’ll Do It

We couldn't be more excited to launch By Women, a new series in which we highlight the incredible breadth of brands owned (and frequently) operated by women.

In an ideal world, every time we purchase something—a great pair of boots, a serum from a new skin care brand, a jug of milk, beautiful kitchenware—we’d do so with a fully informed point of view. We’d have a complete understanding of the company and its values, where each thing is made and by whom, and anything else that would make us feel good about spending our money, and companies would be transparent about the cost of production, formulation, and packaging. The world is, obviously, imperfect, as are most of us. The idea of shopping with a conscience 100% of the time is almost laughable in its idealism: We’re busy, we need something immediately, we’re on a tight budget, we really like the cute top that was just served to us via an Instagram ad.

At Glamour we talk a lot about the emotional incongruity that comes with genuinely loving to shop but doing so frequently and without intention, something I’m profoundly guilty of. (I recently bought a pair of black cropped pants from a fast-fashion giant, threw them in my closet, and bought them again a few weeks later, forgetting I already owned them. I know.)

At our core we’re a brand that celebrates style, beauty, wellness, and culture, and explores how those intersect to represent the changing needs and wants of women. We understand that part of the fun of engaging with these topics is trusting sites like ours to help you discover things to buy—things we all know we probably don’t need but that might make our routines easier or simply bring us joy. That isn’t going to change, but we acknowledge the importance of regularly spotlighting companies and products that are authentic and are willing to take a stand for something besides wanting our dollars.

Few business owners do this better than women.

We know this because, over the past few months, we’ve complied a list of hundreds of companies across style, beauty, wellness, and home that are 51% or more owned by women or a group of women. We’ve read what feels like endless “our story” sections of websites, interviewed dozens of founders, and read individual product descriptions that offer insight into why specific items were created and how profits benefit a larger cause. And so this month we’re excited to launch By Women, a new series in which we highlight the wide breadth of brands owned and, frequently, operated by women.

Expect mini profiles of founders, a comprehensive database of companies that are women-owned, and as of today, the Glamour 100, an editor-curated destination that features 100 products we truly love, use, and stand behind. Within each product listing, you’ll find information on when the brand launched, who owns the company, and ways to shop.

You’ll find products from large brands you’ve definitely heard of but might not know are fully owned by women. From viral brands you’ve seen people flip for on social media and from dozens more you already love and ones you will soon.

And if you’re rolling your eyes, saying, “They’re supporting women by asking us to shop?” Actually, yes. To launch a small business is an incredibly difficult proposition. While there are more women-owned businesses in the US than ever before (great news, as they generally translate to increased profits, more diverse workforces, and a commitment to work-life balance and fair paid-leave policies), they face greater challenges. Female entrepreneurs are usually offered smaller loans at higher interest rates and generally get the short end of the stick in terms of financing. (Last year US start-ups with all-women teams received 1.9%—or around $4.5 billion—of the approximate $238.3 billion in venture capital allocated, according to Pitchbook via Techcrunch.)

Plus, so many female founders are creating products designed specifically for women—products men couldn’t ever conceive of, let alone get right. So it’s because of all this that we’re putting our support behind them and, hopefully, helping them succeed. We know it’s a tall and unrealistic order to ask readers to shop with their conscience all the time, but small steps are good steps, and even if you learn about one new woman-owned brand you’re excited about from Glamour, we’ve done our job.

This story originally appeared in U.S. Glamour.

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