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The Biggest Trends of 2018 (So Far)

Lifestyle

With the number of different products and fads currently populating the market, it can be difficult to sift through what's good and what isn't and so this is where we come in. Despite the fact that we're only two-thirds of the way through 2018, the recent good weather has put us in such a good mood that we're willing to reveal some of the best trends of the year so far. So, get comfortable, find your purse and get your tablet ready because you may just be forced to go on a spending spree when you've finished reading this article.


Healthy Pet Food

It's only right that our furry friends eat as well as we do, right? Right. Thankfully, healthy pet food is all the rage at the moment and there are a number of places you can obtain it without breaking the bank but, in terms of value for money, Castor & Pollux seem to be leading the charge with their organic-based meat products.

Next Level Skincare

Nowadays, our skin needs protection from more than mere sun rays and, thankfully, the new wave of skin products prevents damage from other harmful rays such as blue light from laptops and pollution.

The latest ranges from companies like Allies of Skin and Biossance are using ingredients such as adaptogens and ceramides in order to help our skin build up its own natural barriers.

Snus

This tobacco substitute has been on the market for a while but, with around 1 in 5 users now women, there's a whole new market online here, which includes a much wider range of different flavors designed to target the fairer sex. They're all imported tax-free from Scandinavia too. What's more, they're definitely cooler than e-cigarettes.

Smart Mattresses

In our opinion, it's about time that technology was brought into the bedroom in order to help us

improve our Zzz's. Serta Simmons is pioneering a range of smart mattresses which analyze your REM cycles and wake you up via a smart alarm when you're in your lightest stage of sleep. Apparently, it'll make us a little less grumpy in the morning. Result.

Moringa

Moringa is basically a higher caliber version of Turmeric - it allegedly has greater anti-inflammatory properties and has twice the protein of spinach, as well as three times as much iron. What's more, the veggie seeds have a likable and sweet taste while the ground leaves are a little more nutty, creating the perfect contrast. Delicious and healthy, what more could you want?

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But Wait, There's More

With the rate at which trends and fads become obsolete, there's bound to be something new piquing people's interests by the time that winter rolls around. However, for now, it's all about enjoying the last bits of sunshine before the big red ball in the sky decides to abandon us once again. Most of the items on this list are certainly to be enjoyed throughout the sunny months. Happy shopping.

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Business

How These Co-Founders Exited for $100M Without Any VC Funding

When their frustration with current fabric care options had fashionistas Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd worn out, the two entrepreneurs made it their mission to start a new niche and launch their very own at-home, eco-friendly laundry detergent line.


With a mission of turning an everyday domestic chore into a luxurious experience, these entrepreneurs not only conjured up an idea for an unconventional product line, but they successfully built their business while turning down the offer of every venture capitalist to knock on their door.

Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd co-founded The Laundress in 2004 after dealing with their own personal frustrations with limited clothing care options. Whiting, having worked at Ralph Lauren in design and Boyd having worked at Chanel in corporate sales, soon accumulated a stylish wardrobe of designer pieces as perks of their jobs in the fashion industry. However, the duo quickly realized that the maintenance required for upkeeping these items were far from adequate. Laundry products on the market at the time did not cater to delicate textures and fabrics such as tweed blazers, cable-knit cashmere and silk blouses. Taking their clothing to the dry cleaners also proved hopeless as their clothing would often come back with stains or even be ruined despite the overload of chemicals used to clean them. With nowhere left to turn, Whiting and Boyd were determined to create their own laundry solutions designed for specific fabrics.

Not only did the entrepreneurs develop the business expertise needed to finally begin their own company, but they also shared the same educational background that equipped them to pursue their unconventional business venture. Whiting and Boyd met in college as students at Cornell University majoring in Fiber Science, Textile, and Apparel Management and Design. The pair was introduced by a mutual friend and instantly knew they would become business partners. "It was inevitable that we were going to have a business together. We are both extremely entrepreneurial by nature, and it was one of the connections that we instantly shared" said Whiting. After focusing on pursuing their own individual careers for a while, Whiting and Boyd quickly discovered a void in the fabric care marketplace when their clients would continuously inquire about the upkeep of their designer pieces.

The entrepreneurial duo was committed to researching and developing their own eco-friendly laundry products and soon launched their own at-home solutions for specific fabrics like silk, wool and denim, which ultimately eliminated the need for dry cleaning for those particular items. Despite their products filling a necessary void in the market, it quickly became challenging for the founders to persuade people to shift their focus away from traditional laundry care options in order to try their products. However, Whiting and Boyd believed in their mission for the Laundress and bootstrapped from the very beginning, refusing all venture capital funding with the goal of growing organically. In order to be successful, they had to get creative in fundraising. "In the very early days, we funded business development by hosting a 'for profit' party at a New York City restaurant and inviting friends, family, co-workers, etc. to support our new venture. That was pre-Kickstarter and an inventive way to make everyone feel a big part of our decision to be entrepreneurs," said Whiting.

While turning down VC funding as new entrepreneurs seems unimaginable, it is as equally unfathomable to consider how these women gained national traction without social media, all the while hustling to fund their business. For Whiting and Boyd, who started their business before social media existed, it was imperative that they promote their brand by leveraging the resources they had available to them. The CEO's were one of the first to sell consumer goods, let alone detergent, online with the goal of reaching a national audience. Despite having limited retail distribution, they leveraged the power of their website and became featured in publications on both a national and international scale. "Before social media platforms existed, we nurtured our own Laundress community with engaging content on our website, step-by-step tutorials on our blog, and one-on-one communication through our Ask The Laundress email," Whiting explained. With technology evolving and the birth of social media platforms, the founders expanded the conversation about their products from website, blog and email to platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

As female entrepreneurs, Whiting and Boyd faced additional hardships as misconceptions about their mission ultimately proved to disappoint more than it encouraged them. As women selling luxury detergent, there existed a preconceived notion that funding would be more easily attainable based upon their gender.

"Everyone thought it was easy to access capital as female entrepreneurs, but it was actually very challenging. We had this unique and disruptive idea within a very traditional space and it was hard to get people on board at first. It's been a continuous journey to educate people in fabric care and home cleaning," said Boyd.

Reflecting on their journey as entrepreneurs, the founders express no regrets about refusing to accept venture capital throughout the process. "Over the years, we could never quantify the cost benefit of VC funding so we continued to grow organically and remain independent by funding ourselves with credit cards and loans," explained Boyd. While their decision proved fruitful, the duo expressed their consideration towards other entrepreneurs who may not be able to fully fund their business as they grow. Because funding is a situational experience, entrepreneurs must ultimately do what is best for their business as no one path is optimal for every entrepreneur or every business.

With an increasing amount of women entering entrepreneurship with their own unique set of products or services, the CEO's offer up one piece of advice on how female entrepreneurs can be successful in their endeavors.

Whiting: "Our advice to anyone looking to build their brands: Have a strong business plan and vision. If you are not disciplined to write a business plan first then you are not disciplined to start a business. Get your ideas down so you ask yourself the right questions; it helps you get organized and plan next steps."

Boyd: "Create quality products without sacrificing the ingredients—no cutting corners. What you create should be the most important piece. Stay passionate, and trust your instincts and follow your gut—something woman are awesome at!"