October is National Women’s Small Business Month, an initiative focused on promoting female-led business operations.
In 2020, this month-long spotlight on female business owners is especially important, as recent reports show the impact of the pandemic has been dramatic on women in the workforce: Many aged 25 to 54 have stepped out of the professional environment to care for children and family.
Despite this year’s challenges, the 2019 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report indicated upward growth in the world of female-helmed businesses.
Findings from the research indicate there are nearly 13 million women-owned businesses in the US that employ 9.4 million people and generate $1.9 trillion in sales.
Additionally, women-owned businesses grew 21% between 2014 to 2019, while businesses owned by women of color doubled that growth rate: As of 2019, women of color accounted for 50% of all women who owned businesses.
Within the retail and direct-to-consumer sector, there are many emerging female-led businesses that have found a way to thrive in 2020 despite its many obstacles.
I spoke with a few founders to hear their stories and to see how their retail operations are doing during the ups and downs of this year.
Marcy Capron-Vermillion and Coco Meers: Equilibria
Coco Meers (Co-Founder of PrettyQuick, acquired by Groupon in 2015) left Groupon in early 2018 to found Rebelle Collective, an early-stage investment fund focused on female entrepreneurs.
When recruiting founders for her portfolio, she spoke with Marcy Capron-Vermillion, a technologist with whom she had built early versions of PrettyQuick.
While Meers had the intention of investing in one of Capron-Vermillion’s new projects, their first conversation led them down an unintended path: Both were candid about recent mental and physical health struggles.
That single conversation led the duo down a greater path to co-found Equilibria in March of