Her salon doesn't up-charge women of color for having textured hair.
Nia Batts knew that women of color are often up-charged by hair salons due to their so-called textured hair. “I can say from first-hand experience that there’s a psychological impact of being ‘otherized’ and made to feel that something about you is undesirable or difficult,” Batts says. To alleviate this, the ex-Viacom director launched an inclusive blow-dry bar in 2017 in her native Detroit, alongside co-founders Katy Cockrel and actress Sophia Bush. Their startup, Detroit Blows, offers blow-outs to serve all ethnicities and hair types starting a just $40, as well as other standard salon beauty and makeup services--all with nontoxic materials. It also commits a portion of all sales to the local community--in part through its own philanthropic arm, Detroit Grows, which invests in female entrepreneurs. “Every day, we have the opportunity to build women up and empower them,” Batts says. “I don’t take a day for granted.” --Zoë Henry
Looking for luxury in a laundry detergent? She sells hers in boutiques.
Having handled corporate sales for Chanel, Lindsey Boyd knew that her clients hated taking their designer duds to the dry cleaner. But they had to, because mainstream detergents are far too harsh to wash these fabrics at home, and few eco-friendly products are effective at removing odors and stains. So along with one of her former Cornell classmates, Gwen Whiting, who had been working at Ralph Lauren, Boyd set out to fill an obvious void in the market: luxury detergents and cleaning products. “We wanted to turn a necessary domestic chore into a luxurious experience,” she says. Launched online in 2004 and now with products in boutiques worldwide and its own store, too, the New York-based Laundress is bringing an elevated laundry experience to the masses. Next up: Rolling out more stores in 2020. --Jill Krasny
Clean ingredients and a color-matching widget give her DIY hair dye a modern gloss.
Dying your hair is either a big expense at a salon or a gamble at home, and Amy Errett is tackling this problem head on. After starting her career in investment banking, she saw her entrepreneurial opportunity when her wife asked her to pick up a box of hair dye. Errett was shocked at the ingredients that would be going onto her loved one’s head. In 2014, her Madison Reed began direct-to-consumer sales of hair dye made without ammonia and parabens, and she helped users match their color with online augmented reality tools. Two years ago, the San Francisco-based company branched out from online sales to a network of color bars where customers can pay a stylist about $60 to help with the application, half the cost of a typical salon. (The dye costs $26.50 a bottle.) Madison Reed products are also for sale in all of beauty retailer Ulta’s stores. The company has raised $121 million in fundraising to date from investors including Norwest Venture Partners and Danny Meyer of Shake Shack and will have a dozen color bars in New York, California, and Texas by the end of the year. Next up: color bar franchises. Errett expects at least 500 to open within four years. She says: “I’m hell bent on changing this industry, not just having the best product.” --Anna Meyer
With a buy-one-give-one model, her company, now owned by P&G, makes its period products available to girls and women who once had to do without.
Talia Frenkel can’t pinpoint the moment she knew she wanted to help needy girls and women gain access to sexual and period products—she just instinctively felt it had to be done. “An anger arose in me,” says the former photojournalist. “There was a lot of talk about strengthening the collective power of women and girls, but when it came to sex and periods, it was as if the conversation stopped." Frenkel had spent nearly a decade working with the Red Cross and the United Nations documenting humanitarian crises in countries like Cambodia, but she had no background in business, technology, or consumer product goods. So, she says, she “naively started” This Is L. with the goal of creating organic, affordable goods that women would actually want to display. “The L represents the love that is at the core of each product,” says Frenkel, who initially sold a condom to protect women and girls from HIV and AIDS. This year, L expanded its line to include light organic tampons and fragrance-free organic wipes. With its products now sold in more than 5,000 stores across the U.S. as well as online, This Is L.--acquired earlier this year by Procter & Gamble for an undisclosed sum--also partners with women entrepreneurs in more than 20 countries to improve product accessibility. --Jill Krasny
She parlayed a lifestyle reality TV franchise into a home decor empire.
During the five-year run of their hit show Fixer Upper, Joanna and Chip Gaines ruled HGTV—and reality television in general. The business empire the couple has created in its wake, which is headquartered in their hometown of Waco, Texas, has been designed to last much longer. In addition to their construction and real estate company, the Gaineses’ portfolio of businesses now includes a restaurant, a few Texas vacation rentals, a quarterly publication, a series of home improvement books and cookbooks, several lines of furniture, paints, and home accessories, and a sprawling Waco shopping complex undergoing a $10.4 million expansion this year. Their latest move: teaming up with Discovery to launch their own cable network in 2020. The Gaineses will serve as the talent and the chief creative officers for the network, focusing on home design, food, travel, entrepreneurship, and other family-friendly content.--Lindsay Blakely