Despite women now holding 20 percent of board seats at the top 3,000 public companies, there’s still a long way to go before business reflects a society with a 50/50 split of men and women in leadership teams. It’s no secret that more needs to be done to get women into leadership positions, and one way of doing this is by championing the achievements of the females within business who have created disruptive, unique and powerful brands.
Women are armed with unique, powerful insights that can help create unparalleled solutions to a diverse range of problems — so it’s no surprise that many successful brands have women at the helm. This International Women’s Day, it’s more important than ever to raise the voices of these females in business who are shaking things up — here are just three such inspirational women.
Deepica Mutyala, founder of Live Tinted
Mutyala went viral in 2015 after posting a YouTube video of herself explaining her unique solution to covering up dark under-eye circles; red lipstick! The video took off and stands today at more than 10 million views. People couldn’t get enough of Mutyala’s inventive solution to an age-old problem faced by so many women all around the globe. This quirky solution was so popular in fact, that it became clear to Mutyala that there are women all around the world out there like her, of a variety of skin tones, not sufficiently served by the beauty community.
However, they were willing to share self-taught beauty tips and tricks to make up for a lack of suitable products on the market. To facilitate this, Mutyala set up “Live Tinted,” a community to discuss all things beauty and culture for women “every shade in-between,” giving women a place to go to talk about the problems they face day-to-day and provide each other with practical solutions.
Mutyala created not just a brand, but a community, and it wasn’t until she knew her audience inside out that she released her first product, “huestick,” a color-correcting crayon designed to suit every skin tone. To make her brand a success, Mutyala created an intimate relationship with her audience made up of women who have experienced similar beauty problems to her and therefore invested in her solutions. By engaging in discussion and entering into a marketplace she knew extremely well she has reaped rewards and gained friends along the way.
Payal Kadakia, founder of ClassPass
Kadakia’s ClassPass was born out of her love of dance and confusion at the number of classes available out there online with very vague descriptors and pricey commitment fees. The daughter of Indian immigrants, Kadakia grew up in New Jersey, and during her time at school, she is said to have excelled at Classical Indian dance. Her love of dance stayed with her in adult life and after spending several evenings frustratedly trawling through pages of search results for dance classes online she came up with the idea for ClassPass, a single-subscription service to classes at different gyms all around the world.
In ClassPass, Kadakia has created a search-engine of classes that are easy to access, rated by other members and ranked by difficulty. Instead of being tied to one particular gym, a membership to ClassPass allows people to create their own schedules and choose their favorite classes from different places, catering to the changeability of modern life.
As a businesswoman, Kadakia has turned her hobby into her business and her success is a testament to her passion. The subscription model her business adopts shows her deep understanding of the needs of modern women who seek dynamic fast-paced platforms to help organize their busy schedules. Like Mutyala, she used her platform to create a community of like-minded individuals and provide them with an innovative solution to a problem.
Emily Weiss, founder of Glossier
Six years ago, Glossier started as a blog — “Into the Gloss” — the concept being that Weiss would interview powerful women to find out what was in their makeup bags and share their makeup routines with the world. Little did she know that this blog would be her “in” with celebs and ceo’s who not only shared their makeup tips with Weiss but also their expertise, and she savored every moment to lap up all the advice she could. A natural entrepreneur who once briefly appeared on The Hills as an intern, Weiss would go on to turn her blog into Glossier, one of the original DTC brands, a makeup brand that has a wide appeal as it embraces the “no-makeup-makeup” look to enhance natural beauty.
As a Millennial herself, Weiss is part of the target market she caters to so she knows her audience well. The brand has a strong presence on social media and a cult-like loyal following on Instagram, which makes Glossier feel like it’s everyone’s own little secret, despite being a huge billion-dollar brand.
The effortlessness of Glossier’s ads provides a personal touch to the brand, as you can tell from Emily Weiss’ own personal Instagram where she has kept the brand close. It’s safe to say that Weiss has come a long way from her days as “the intern.”
Weiss, Kadakia, and Mutyala are inspirational leaders who have drawn upon their own experiences to bring them success. Seeing these diverse women follow their passions and act as role models should serve as inspiration for future entrepreneurs and businesswomen, bringing us one step closer to achieving gender parity in society.
Chandni Kothari is the associate director at Croud.