Mom knows best, right? In the world of parenting, most definitely! These women have created six groundbreaking businesses that are making lives easier for parents all over the world.
Little Spoon believes your baby’s food should never be older than your baby. Makes perfect sense, but in reality the shelf-stable baby food that we get at the store is much older than the food that we’re giving our littles should be. Enter Little Spoon, the company that’s rapidly revolutionizing the baby food category. Their vision is to bring nutritious meals and snacks to babies and children everywhere through a convenient, direct-to-consumer subscription model.
Cofounder Michelle Muller states: "Having had three kids before 30, I know how hard it is to feed our babies healthy options without spending hours in the kitchen. Little Spoon will provide an alternative for new parents in 2017 by optimizing the health of your baby, but also leaving a lasting impact on your baby’s cognitive development, including their motor and speech skills, sense of smell, taste palette and general eating habits. Being a parent is hard enough. The one thing no parent should be asked to do is compromise the health of their child. With Little Spoon, parents now have the benefit of feeding their kids the freshest and healthiest food without taking precious time out of their day.”
Until recently, scheduling classes for your little one was just as challenging as doing your taxes. Booking things like baby yoga, art classes, and math tutoring was handled by a multiplicity of providers, requiring individual scheduling through phone calls (who has the time?) and paying by check (any idea where you last saw your checkbook?) Sawyer provides the solution for that dilemma; it is an online marketplace for parents to discover, book and manage local classes, camps, and activities for their toddlers.
"Sawyer has reimagined the way parents can access education by bringing all of the education providers online. Gone are the days of listservs, word-of-mouth marketing and checkbooks. Now, parents can easily discover, book and manage their child's next educational adventure through our seamless user-friendly platform!" - Marissa Alden, cofounder
When a friend or relative announces they’re having a baby, we jump to find the perfect gift. Finally, there’s a company that focuses on expectant moms and meeting their needs while pregnant. The Stork Bag is a reusable subscription bag (think BirchBox but for moms-to-be) curated to each contain 8-12 products to meet your trimester and postpartum needs. Once the expectant mom uses the goodies in the bag, she can continue to use said bag! Unlike other pregnancy subscription services on the market, all products in the Stork Bag are OBGYN-approved.
"The Stork Bag is revolutionizing parenting by redirecting the attention back on the expectant mother when it comes to prenatal gifting. We believe that more focus should be given to pampering moms during pregnancy, which is why we've enhanced the pregnancy shopping experience by creating trimester-specific, reusable care packages, " explains cofounder Ericka Perry.
Preparing for your baby has never been so easy! Gugu Guru is the customized baby registry website that uses style quizzes to curate a baby registry based on a parent's personal style and lifestyle. It is a game-changer for parents because no longer do they have to sift through 10,000 bottles, strollers and cribs, but can just take our style quizzes. After they do so, we suggest items based on their house, personal style, and car choices, among others. They are then able to find products that are custom-tailored to suit your tastes and living situation.
“Gugu Guru is revolutionizing parenting because the site is innovating the baby registry and overall product-selection experience, in a way that nobody has before. Parents can now cut through the noise and discover the best products for their families from across the web, in a way that is intuitive and fun, and not overwhelming,” says cofounder Monica Banks.
Hawk + Sloane
When your kid goes to the bathroom, do you even want to know? How about when the monsters come out of the closet as soon as you turn the lights out? Hawk + Sloane is an innovative company that has curated sprays for your littles to solve everyday problems.
Co-founders Candice Crawford Romo and Hollie Siglin state, "These days, parents are constantly on the go and many of them are tackling numerous responsibilities in a day. Each of our sprays were created for their own unique purpose, but all with the common goal of making parenthood a bit easier.
For example, Soothie Spray is an irritated-skin spray made with micronized silver. It works wonders and you get to avoid getting thick cream all over your hands. Many of our sprays are formulated with essential oils and they are all in travel-sized bottles, so you can easily throw them in your purse or carry-on. As parents ourselves, we are all for anything that helps make parenting easier!"
Candice Crawford Romo and Hollie Siglin
Once you become a parent, constantly preparing healthy meals for yourself and your family can be a challenge, with all the responsibilities you juggle in between. Daily Harvest solves these problems; it’s a subscription-based service that delivers clean superfoods that are ready in seconds. You'll never need to wonder what you’re making for a meal again, removing the unnecessary stress from our already exhausted mom-brains.
"As a New Yorker and a working mom, my mornings are filled with pure chaos and I know the last thing any parent wants to think about is chopping, prepping and dicing fruits and veggies! Daily Harvest was constructed on the premise that convenience doesn't have to mean compromise. We want healthy eating to be a no-brainer. That's why we introduced a health hack for parents, offering perfectly portioned, ready-to-heat soups and ready-to-blend smoothies, all filled with balanced, organic vegetables and fruits. Our mission is to provide parents with 'superfoods, super fast.' This is revolutionary for parents who want to put both their and their children's health first," describes founder Rachel Drori.
Women have come a long way in redefining beauty to be more inclusive of different body types, skin colors and hair styles, but society's beauty standards still remain as high as we have always known them to be. In the workplace, professionalism is directly linked to the appearance of both men and women, but for women, the expectations and requirements needed to fit the part are far stricter. Unlike men, there exists a direct correlation between beauty and respect that women are forced to acknowledge, and in turn comply with, in order to succeed.
Before stepping foot into the workforce, women who choose to opt out of conventional beauty and grooming regiments are immediately at a disadvantage. A recent Forbes article analyzing the attractiveness bias at work cited a comprehensive academic review for its study on the benefits attractive adults receive in the labor market. A summary of the review stated, "'Physically attractive individuals are more likely to be interviewed for jobs and hired, they are more likely to advance rapidly in their careers through frequent promotions, and they earn higher wages than unattractive individuals.'" With attractiveness and success so tightly woven together, women often find themselves adhering to beauty standards they don't agree with in order to secure their careers.
Complying with modern beauty standards may be what gets your foot in the door in the corporate world, but once you're in, you are expected to maintain your appearance or risk being perceived as unprofessional. While it may not seem like a big deal, this double standard has become a hurdle for businesswomen who are forced to fit this mold in order to earn respect that men receive regardless of their grooming habits. Liz Elting, Founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation, is all too familiar with conforming to the beauty culture in order to command respect, and has fought throughout the course of her entrepreneurial journey to override this gender bias.
As an internationally-recognized women's advocate, Elting has made it her mission to help women succeed on their own, but she admits that little progress can be made until women reclaim their power and change the narrative surrounding beauty and success. In 2016, sociologists Jaclyn Wong and Andrew Penner conducted a study on the positive association between physical attractiveness and income. Their results concluded that "attractive individuals earn roughly 20 percent more than people of average attractiveness," not including controlling for grooming. The data also proves that grooming accounts entirely for the attractiveness premium for women as opposed to only half for men. With empirical proof that financial success in directly linked to women's' appearance, Elting's desire to have women regain control and put an end to beauty standards in the workplace is necessary now more than ever.
Although the concepts of beauty and attractiveness are subjective, the consensus as to what is deemed beautiful, for women, is heavily dependent upon how much effort she makes towards looking her best. According to Elting, men do not need to strive to maintain their appearance in order to earn respect like women do, because while we appreciate a sharp-dressed man in an Armani suit who exudes power and influence, that same man can show up to at a casual office in a t-shirt and jeans and still be perceived in the same light, whereas women will not. "Men don't have to demonstrate that they're allowed to be in public the way women do. It's a running joke; show up to work without makeup, and everyone asks if you're sick or have insomnia," says Elting. The pressure to look our best in order to be treated better has also seeped into other areas of women's lives in which we sometimes feel pressured to make ourselves up in situations where it isn't required such as running out to the supermarket.
So, how do women begin the process of overriding this bias? Based on personal experience, Elting believes that women must step up and be forceful. With sexism so rampant in workplace, respect for women is sometimes hard to come across and even harder to earn. "I was frequently assumed to be my co-founder's secretary or assistant instead of the person who owned the other half of the company. And even in business meetings where everyone knew that, I would still be asked to be the one to take notes or get coffee," she recalls. In effort to change this dynamic, Elting was left to claim her authority through self-assertion and powering over her peers when her contributions were being ignored. What she was then faced with was the alternate stereotype of the bitchy executive. She admits that teetering between the caregiver role or the bitch boss on a power trip is frustrating and offensive that these are the two options businesswomen are left with.
Despite the challenges that come with standing your ground, women need to reclaim their power for themselves and each other. "I decided early on that I wanted to focus on being respected rather than being liked. As a boss, as a CEO, and in my personal life, I stuck my feet in the ground, said what I wanted to say, and demanded what I needed – to hell with what people think," said Elting. In order for women to opt out of ridiculous beauty standards, we have to own all the negative responses that come with it and let it make us stronger– and we don't have to do it alone. For men who support our fight, much can be achieved by pushing back and policing themselves and each other when women are being disrespected. It isn't about chivalry, but respecting women's right to advocate for ourselves and take up space.
For Elting, her hope is to see makeup and grooming standards become an optional choice each individual makes rather than a rule imposed on us as a form of control. While she states she would never tell anyone to stop wearing makeup or dressing in a way that makes them feel confident, the slumping shoulders of a woman resigned to being belittled looks far worse than going without under-eye concealer. Her advice to women is, "If you want to navigate beauty culture as an entrepreneur, the best thing you can be is strong in the face of it. It's exactly the thing they don't want you to do. That means not being afraid to be a bossy, bitchy, abrasive, difficult woman – because that's what a leader is."