These CEOs Want You to Shop Women-Led Brands

In an effort to garner support for brands with women in leadership roles, these female-led companies are banding together Wednesday

Celebrate women's leadership this Wednesday before Thanksgiving. (Courtesy Sh*t That I Knit)
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This Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, a group of companies with women founders or CEOs are banding together to encourage people to shop one another’s brands. 

Called Women-Led Wednesday, it’s the brainchild of Wild Rye cofounder Cassie Abel, who began planning the campaign just last month when she and her business partner decided to launch their holiday sale the week before Thanksgiving.

There must be a women’s shopping holiday, she thought. There wasn’t. So she decided to start one. “There’s a lot of conversation about the pay gap, and there’s a lot of conversation about the lack of women at the top,” she says. Abel wanted to balance that out by helping boost exposure for the numerous brands that already have women in charge.

Over 80 brands are on board this year. The only requirement for participation is to promote the campaign and encourage customers and followers to shop women-led brands, similar to Small Business Saturday. (Because of the short notice, not all are offering sales, though that’s the intention for future years.) Abel says she hopes Women-Led Wednesday will become an annual holiday and that the website will serve as a hub for consumers looking for companies led by women.

Here are a few products we love from this year’s participating brands.

Kate’s Real Food Ten-Bar Gift Box ($30)

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(Courtesy Kate's Real Food)

In the years she spent ski-bumming in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Kate Shade developed a homemade energy-bar recipe that kept her energized and happy during long days lapping the resort’s famous tram. Now those bars have turned into a business. This gift box features a sampling of the company’s six flavors—all made in small batches with ingredients like oats, brown rice, chocolate, and dried fruit—including the original Tram Bar that started it all.

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Wild Rye Mauna Kea Raglan Base Layer ($109)

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(Courtesy Wild Rye)

Abel and fellow cofounder Katy Hover-Smoot left jobs at Smith and Specialized, respectively, to start Wild Rye, a company that makes ski base layers and mountain-bike apparel for women. Their muted colorways, fun prints, and spot-on fit have earned them fast popularity. The latest addition to their line is the Mauna Kea, made of superfine, supersoft merino wool with a slightly loose fit that’s comfortable without being baggy.

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Sherpa Kalpana Hike Tights ($80)

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(Courtesy Sherpa)

High mountains and Himalayan culture run deep in this brand, which was founded by a Sherpa (and now has a woman CEO). But the company makes more than just technical mountaineering apparel. We love the Kalpana Hike Tights, which feature an abrasion-resistant nylon-Spandex blend, a wide waistband, and zippered pockets on each thigh.

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Sh*t That I Knit Carlisle Beanie ($100)

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(Courtesy Sh*t That I Knit)

This high-end hat company grew out of founder Christina Fagan’s lifelong passion for knitting. Fagan designs the hats and then outsources the knitting to a group of Peruvian women who work from their homes. We love all the styles and their soft Peruvian wool and hand-knit quality, but the two-tone Carlisle is an instant classic.

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Pappy and Company Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon-Barrel-Aged Pure Maple Syrup ($38)

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(Pappy and Company)

Old Rip Van Winkle is some of the most sought-after whiskey in the country (premium distiller Pappy Van Winkle releases just a few thousand bottles once a year). Pappy Van Winkle’s triplet great-granddaughters now run a spin-off business of their own, selling everything from bourbon-barrel cutting boards to this bourbon-barrel-aged maple syrup, which sits in Pappy Van Winkle barrels before being bottled.

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