It’s International Women’s Day and we’re highlighting these inspiring female entrepreneurs and their founding stories!

Happy International Women’s Day! To commemorate the event, HOLR is celebrating and shedding a spotlight on these female entrepreneurs and their inspiring, impactful stories. Keep reading to learn all about these incredible women and how they are breaking the bias with their successful brands.

MAKEWAY founder

Abby Albino, MAKEWAY

When it comes to breaking the bias in a male-dominated industry, Abby Albino, the co-founder of streetwear brand MAKEWAY, is doing just that. Abby is a natural leader, community connector, and champion for the BIPOC experience. Her love for sneakers lead her to her side hustle as the Co-Owner/Founder of Makeway, a ‘for womxn, by womxn’ sneaker, and streetwear boutique located in Toronto. Abby has prevailed by creating more female representation in the sneaker and street style culture, in addition to opening a new business during the pandemic and inspiring others to take a leap of faith to pursue their dreams. Her career in the fast-paced sports industry also inspired her to Co-Found Rise Tribe, a charity focused on powering the next generation of Filipino-Canadian youth.

“We were tired of seeing a lack of representation for women in sneaker culture along with the stereotype of what it means to be a professional within the sports industry – so my business partner and I broke the bias and decided to open our own sneaker store for women, by women. According to a study by Simplii Financial 90 per cent of young Canadian women are interested in starting a ‘side hustle’ to earn money outside of their day job. To be honest, I’ve never been great with money, but I learned that small lifestyle changes and finding simple digital solutions allowed me to save and manage my money smarter, ultimately making it possible for me to open my shop.” said Abby Albino co-founder of sneaker boutique, MAKEWAY.

Parachute founder

Ariel Kaye, Parachute

Home is everything to Ariel Kaye, founder, and CEO of Parachute. Founded in Los Angeles in 2014 as a digitally native brand, Parachute has since expanded beyond its roots — premium-quality bedding — to include essentials for all rooms in the home. In the last eight years, Ariel has evolved Parachute into a beloved home lifestyle brand with 15 brick-and-mortar locations across the US. As an inspiring individual, Ariel has created a culture committed to wellness and social responsibility, which extends from Parachute’s team and partners to its customers and the planet. Parachute partners with the United Nation Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign to donate life-saving malaria-prevention bed nets to those in need. When it comes to building an eco-conscious brand, Parachute recently launched their first-ever GOTS Certified Organic Collection of bedding and towels. This year, the brand is approaching conscious consumption with deeper sustainability commitments by expanding into more responsible materials, becoming Climate Neutral certified, and working with ethical manufacturers.

Away Founder

Jen Rubio, Away

Jen Rubio is the co-founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of global lifestyle brand, Away. Under her leadership, Away has been named one of Fast Company’s “World’s Most Innovative Companies,” one of TIME’s “50 Most Genius Companies,” one of LinkedIn’s “Top Startups,” and a Forbes 2018 “Next Billion-Dollar Start-Up.” Before starting Away, Jen built her career as a branding, creative, and social media expert, redefining how customers and brands connect at companies like Warby Parker and AllSaints. She has been included in Forbes’s “30 Under 30” list for Marketing and Advertising, Inc.’s “30 Under 30” list, and NRF’s “People Shaping Retail’s Future” list.

Women in Capital Markets Founder

Lara Zink, Women in Capital Markets

Lara Zink is the President and CEO of Women in Capital Markets (WCM). WCM is the largest network of female professionals in Canadian finance, with initiatives that impact the careers of countless female students and professionals across the country. She is an angel investor and a mentor at a startup accelerator called NEXT Canada. NEXT accelerates the growth trajectory of aspiring and scaling entrepreneurs with education, mentorship, funding, and access to Canada’s strongest entrepreneurial network. Lara holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from UWO, and an MBA from the Rotman School of Management. Lara is also a Governor on the University of Toronto Governing Council, where she sits on two Foundation boards, the CAMH Campaign Cabinet, and is a volunteer for the Special Olympics. To inspire others around her, Lara has – and continues to be- an active mentor to junior women and men.

Our place founder

Shiza Shahid, Our Place

Shiza Shahid co-founded Our Place to build a business rooted in representation and positive change. As an immigrant, Shiza found her place by cooking for and breaking bread with her chosen family. She started Our Place as a space that celebrates cultures, honors traditions, and cultivates connections. Shiza grew up in Pakistan as a vocal advocate for women’s rights and social justice. She co-founded the Malala Fund and built the organization as founding CEO.

Ever & Ivy Founder

Joan Cohen, Ever & Ivy

With a Fine Arts degree from the University of Toronto and photography and interior design background, Ever & Ivy Founder Joan Cohen, 73, turned her creative passion into a business during the pandemic. Joan is inspiring others to pursue their passions because her artistic and business-oriented personality motivated her to move forward with an apprenticeship at Fleming College, where she learned the basics of jewellery making using sterling silver and gold. Inspired by her entrepreneurial spirit and skills, Joan spent two decades crafting and creating one-of-a-kind jewellery pieces to launch her brand, Ever & Ivy, in 2021.

Iremia Skincare founder

Elaine Li, Iremia Skincare

After years of suffering from hypersensitive skin, rosacea, and eczema, and being unable to find an all-natural product that could calm her “angry skin”, as she would describe, Elaine went on a holistic health journey in search of solutions to help her highly reactive skin. She compiled a list of ingredients that she did not want in her skincare and found a great chemist to work with on the formulations. As founder of Iremia Skincare, Elaine believes in simple and effective skincare and that less is more when it comes to sensitive skin. As a result, the entire collection is formulated with sensitive skin in mind, where each product is made with all-natural and soothing ingredients in hopes to evoke a sense of calm in everyone’s skincare routine.

Nisama Wellness founder

Jillian Mariani, Niyama Wellness

Yoga lover and Niyama Wellness Founder Jillian Mariani began her entrepreneurial journey after completing her yoga teacher training and working for over 12 years at Jamieson Vitamins. Jillian’s extensive corporate experience in the natural health space and her Business MBA and Nutritional Management diploma allowed her to turn her passion for yoga and wellness into her own business. Niyama Wellness is an all-natural, vegan, yoga-inspired line of supplements created to support yogis and fitness lovers on their path to sustainable wellness. From supplements and wellness teas to relaxing bath salts and yoga accessories, Niyama offers products to help you sleep tight, lower your stress levels, ease joint pain and fuel your body.

Published by HOLR Magazine.