Founder Profile

Talia Frenkel

This is L.

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

Industry
Manufacturing
Year Founded
2011
Location
San Francisco, California
Industry
All Things Consumer
Data as of Publication on Sep 16, 2019
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2019

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

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Joanna Gaines

Magnolia

She parlayed a lifestyle reality TV franchise into a home decor empire.

Joanna Gaines. Getty Images

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

Industry
Retail
Year Founded
2003
Location
Waco, Texas
Industry
All Things Consumer
Co-founder
Chip Gaines
Twitter
Data as of Publication on Sep 16, 2019
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2019

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

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Audrey Gelman

The Wing

She created the leading co-working and community space for women—and inspired others to follow suit.

Audrey Gelman. Courtesy subject

Women today don’t just need a room of their own--they need a whole wing. That was the thinking when Audrey Gelman and Lauren Kassan named their concept for a women-focused networking and co-working space back in 2016. Since then, they’ve grown the Wing to eight locations, with three more opening before the end of year. That’ll put its membership roll at 15,000. The Wing expects to nearly double its locations in 2020 and create a digital membership for women everywhere. The company has raised $117.5 million in venture capital, mostly from women investors, and spends that money hiring other businesses founded and run by women as contractors and suppliers. --Christine Lagorio-Chafkin

Industry
Consumer Services
Year Founded
2016
Location
New York, New York
Industry
The New Girls' Networks
Co-founder
Lauren Kassan
Twitter
Data as of Publication on Sep 16, 2019
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2019

Women today don’t just need a room of their own--they need a whole wing. That was the thinking when Audrey Gelman and Lauren Kassan named their concept for a women-focused networking and co-working space back in 2016. Since then, they’ve grown the Wing to eight locations, with three more opening before the end of year. That’ll put its membership roll at 15,000. The Wing expects to nearly double its locations in 2020 and create a digital membership for women everywhere. The company has raised $117.5 million in venture capital, mostly from women investors, and spends that money hiring other businesses founded and run by women as contractors and suppliers. --Christine Lagorio-Chafkin

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Lisa Gelobter

tEQuitable

After experiencing workplace bias, she created a software solution for reporting incidents and spotting patterns.

Lisa Gelobter Courtesy subject

“If we can send a Tesla Roadster into outer space,” says Lisa Gelobter, co-founder of TEQuitable, “maybe we can use those same skills right here, on our own planet, to help the underserved, underrepresented, and underestimated.” Gelobter has worked as an executive at BET and as chief digital officer for the Department of Education in the Obama administration. But as a black woman in computer science--who has been mistaken more than once for the receptionist--she wanted to be doing more. Her creation, TEQuitable, is a digital platform that offers resources to employees for dealing with workplace bias, while serving up reports to management and using data to identify systemic problems. The company has raised $2 million in venture capital, making Gelobter one of only 40 black women to raise more than $1 million to date--a number so paltry, she says, “it makes me cry.” --Zoë Henry

Industry
DEI Advocacy
Year Founded
2017
Location
Oakland, California
Industry
The New Girls' Networks
Co-founder
Heidi Williams
Data as of Publication on Sep 16, 2019
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2019

“If we can send a Tesla Roadster into outer space,” says Lisa Gelobter, co-founder of TEQuitable, “maybe we can use those same skills right here, on our own planet, to help the underserved, underrepresented, and underestimated.” Gelobter has worked as an executive at BET and as chief digital officer for the Department of Education in the Obama administration. But as a black woman in computer science--who has been mistaken more than once for the receptionist--she wanted to be doing more. Her creation, TEQuitable, is a digital platform that offers resources to employees for dealing with workplace bias, while serving up reports to management and using data to identify systemic problems. The company has raised $2 million in venture capital, making Gelobter one of only 40 black women to raise more than $1 million to date--a number so paltry, she says, “it makes me cry.” --Zoë Henry

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Nicole Gibbons

Clare

Her online tool is reinventing the way consumers select and shop for paints.

After 10 years at Victoria’s Secret, Nicole Gibbons left her position as director of public relations to re-create herself as a design expert. Inspired by Martha Stewart’s business model, Gibbons built on her credentials as a blogger, landing gigs as a design expert on television shows like OWN’s Home Made Simple, where she helped people redesign their living spaces. One of the most common renovation struggles, she found, was paint. “There are literally more than 100 whites to choose from, which is bananas,” says Gibbons. So she created the Clare Color Genius, an online tool that asks customers questions about the space they are painting, creates a highly curated palette, and ships adhesive swatches (no more mini-cans of samples) to the customer’s home. With $4 million in capital from Warby Parker and Harry’s founder Jeff Raider and two of Casper Mattress co-founders, Neil Parikh and Luke Sherwin, Gibbons plans to change the way we shop for paint. --Tim Crino

Industry
Consumer Products
Year Founded
2018
Location
New York, New York
Industry
All Things Consumer
Data as of Publication on Sep 16, 2019
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2019

After 10 years at Victoria’s Secret, Nicole Gibbons left her position as director of public relations to re-create herself as a design expert. Inspired by Martha Stewart’s business model, Gibbons built on her credentials as a blogger, landing gigs as a design expert on television shows like OWN’s Home Made Simple, where she helped people redesign their living spaces. One of the most common renovation struggles, she found, was paint. “There are literally more than 100 whites to choose from, which is bananas,” says Gibbons. So she created the Clare Color Genius, an online tool that asks customers questions about the space they are painting, creates a highly curated palette, and ships adhesive swatches (no more mini-cans of samples) to the customer’s home. With $4 million in capital from Warby Parker and Harry’s founder Jeff Raider and two of Casper Mattress co-founders, Neil Parikh and Luke Sherwin, Gibbons plans to change the way we shop for paint. --Tim Crino

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