Founder Q&A

Women's History Month: Celebrating Female Brand Founders

Women's History Month: Celebrating Female Brand Founders

Happy Women's History Month! Throughout the month of March we remember the sacrifices made by women, for women, and celebrate their accomplishments and contributions to society.

How did it become a month-long celebration?

The holiday wasn't always dedicated to a month-long celebration. In fact, it wasn't widely celebrated in America until the United Nations recognized it in 1971. A few years later, in order to persuade schools to comply with the Title IX laws, a task force in California created Women's History Week. In March 1980, President Jimmy Carter declared that March 8 was officially the start of National Women's History Week. By 987, Congress declared the entire month of March Women's History Month.

Key Dates for Women's History Month

  • International Women's Day is celebrate on March 8, and was established as a holiday in 1911.
  • On March 13, 1913, the Women's Suffrage Parade took place in Washington, DC where more than 8,000 women gathered to demand a constitutional amendment guaranteeing their right to vote.
  • On March 22, 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment was passed in the Senate.

While we use the month to reflect on the courage of women in the past generations, it is also a time to celebrate the women who make a difference in our lives today: perhaps a mom, grandmother, sister, teacher, boss, or mentor. At Goody, we are proud to carry over 50% of Female Founded brands. Throughout the month, we are spotlighting a few of these incredible women.

Sabeena Ladha, Founder & CEO of DEUX

Sabeena Ladha, founder and CEO of DEUX, is completely revolutionizing the relationship between health-conscious eating and sweet foods with her good-for-you cookie dough company. DEUX is functional foods brand that believes good for you should taste good. They launched with a line of enhanced cookie doughs that caught fire selling nationwide direct-to-consumer, with Instagram influencers, and on TikTok. Their products are vegan, gluten free, and enhanced with functional ingredients to give a mood boost, collagen boost, or immune boost. DEUX recently expanded with a new line of products under the DRIP umbrella - a healthy (and more delicious) version of "nutella."

1. What inspired you to create your brand/product? 

I came up with the concept when I was taking a ton of supplements during COVID and I had pill fatigue. I just wanted a better way to take my functional vitamins, so I decided to flip my favorite nostalgic dessert and take everything that your body needs to stay healthy and put it into something that your mouth actually wants to stay happy.

2. What female public figure, past or present, inspires you the most and why? 

A person that’s inspired me a ton lately is Jaclyn Johnson. She’s the founder of Create & Cultivate and she recently just launched New Money Ventures. They’re a recent investor in DEUX and they’re only investing in female founded businesses. Female founded businesses only receive 2.3% of venture capital funding so this is super important. 

3. What's currently on your Goody wishlist?

My favorite gifts on Goody right now are female founded food businesses, so you’ve got Brightland Olive Oil which is delicious from Aishwarya. You’ve got Behave Gummy Bears that are so good from Mayssa. I love Ghia, it’s a recent find of mine from Melanie.

Ariel Kaye, Founder & CEO of Parachute Home

Ariel Kaye is the sole founder and CEO of Parachute. What began in Los Angeles in 2014 as a digitally native brand, Parachute has since expanded beyond its roots — premium-quality bedding — to include essentials for all rooms in the home. In the last eight years, Ariel has evolved Parachute into a beloved home lifestyle brand with 14 brick-and-mortar locations in the U.S. Under Ariel's leadership, the brand has expanded internationally into Canada, launched a hospitality collection partnering with boutique hotels, collaborated on innovative product partnerships including Crate & Barrel and grown our trade business to serve over 6k interior designers. Within the Parachute community, Ariel has created a culture committed to wellness and social responsibility, which extends from Parachute’s team and partners to its customers and the planet. Ariel is deeply invested in sustainable practices including climate, responsible materials, ethical manufacturing and the brand’s diversity, equity and inclusion practices. Ariel has participated in prestigious speaking opportunities with Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit, Create & Cultivate and Fast Company’s Innovation Festival and has been honored in prestigious awards such as EY's 2021 Entrepreneur of the Year awards and 2021 AdAge 40 Under 40 awards.

1. What inspired you to create your brand/product? 

Before launching Parachute, I had an interior design blog and I frequently helped my friends and family decorate their homes. I was a super consumer of home goods, and when it came to bedding, I couldn’t find a single brand that was high quality, affordable or easy to buy. I realized there was a huge gap in the market and, in 2014, I launched Parachute as an online-only, direct-to-consumer company focused on creating impeccable bedding products. 

2. What female public figure, past or present, inspires you the most and why?

Rachel Drori, founder and CEO of Daily Harvest. She was able to develop such a simple yet innovative solution to the lack of healthy, sustainable, and quick food options for on-the-go people. Her drive and our shared passion for sustainability inspire me. 

3. What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring female entrepreneur?

A great piece of advice I received and would encourage others to take to heart: Talk to everyone–you never know who is going to point you in the right direction to help you achieve your goal. Ask questions, seek out a network of other entrepreneurs who are a bit further down the process from where you are to learn from their experiences. You have to be your own biggest advocate and be relentless in your determination–get out of your comfort zone. 

4. What's currently on your Goody wishlist?  

I love fresh flowers, so I added a bouquet from UrbanStems that I adore. I also love reading, so I added a new book I’ve been eyeing – Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. Lastly, I adore the chic Bala Bangles that add a bit more to my workout.

Michelle Larivee, Co-Founder & CEO of WTHN

After a ski accident left her with chronic pain and dislocated vertebrae in her neck, WTHN Co-Founder and CEO Michelle Larivee found she had few healing options and many Western modalities were failing her. At the suggestion of her doctor, she tried acupuncture and felt immediate pain relief. Over time, she adopted a lifestyle and routine around Chinese medicine through acupuncture, cupping, herb blends, gua sha and felt transformed. She slept better, was less stressed and built a stronger immune system/fewer sick days. Chinese Medicine, which includes acupuncture, herbs, moxibustion, placenta encapsulation and more, helped Michelle get pregnant with both of her children and supported healthy pregnancies and smoother recoveries.

Michelle’s deeply personal health transformation through Chinese Medicine, along with her life-long passion to help others lead healthier lives, inspired her to create WTHN. Founded in November 2018, WTHN is the first omni-channel brand for holistic healing rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine. WTHN offers at-home healing through acupressure tools, organic herbal supplements, ancient beauty tools and more, as well as in-person healing at their acupuncture studios in Flatiron at Healthquarters in Noho. 

1. What inspired you to create your brand/product?

I was inspired to start WTHN because of my own personal health transformation through Chinese Medicine. It started following a ski accident and a long series of chronic pain, which acupuncture and herbal supplements were able to help me relieve. After that they helped with fertility, less stress, pain, and I wanted to be able to make these amazing solutions more accessible to more people.  

2. What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring female entrepreneur?

I have two pieces of advice for fellow female founders. One is to build a network because creating a company really takes a village and having a group of people that can support you or provide different skills in different areas is really important. And the second piece of advice is to work with a business coach because you never know what’s going to come your way and having someone who's objective can help you through many of the ups and downs of being a founder has been really beneficial for me. 

3. What’s currently on your Goody wishlist?

On my Goody wishlist are Levain Bakery cookies because they’re amazing, Dieux Forever Eyepatches because I’ve seen them all over Instagram and I’d love to try them. And the WTHN acupressure mat which is my favorite WTHN product to help me sleep better and relax at the end of a long day.

Jenna Lyons, Co-Founder & CEO LoveSeen

While president and executive creative director of J.Crew Group, an American multi-brand, multi-channel, specialty retailer, Jenna Lyons was widely recognized as the creative force behind the retail chain’s phenomenal rise from floundering catalogue chain to one of the most coveted fashion brands in the US. During her tenure at J.Crew, Lyons also became known for her interior design work after her Brooklyn brownstone landed on the cover of Domino Magazine. Since then, her Brooklyn home has been featured in Vogue Australia, Vogue Netherlands, British Vogue, Livingetc, and numerous other outlets. In addition, her most recent project, a SoHo loft, has been featured in T Magazine, Vogue Netherlands, Elle Magazine, Allure Magazine, and The Guardian to name a few. Anecdotally, her Brooklyn bathroom has been deemed one of the most pinned bathrooms on Pinterest.

Lyons is now Co-Founder and CEO of beauty brand, LoveSeen, as well as title role and Executive Producer of STYLISH with Jenna Lyons, which Premiered on December 3, 2020 on HBO Max.

1. What inspired you to create your brand/product?

I think the thing that really got me started thinking about lashes was the very first time I went on television and I went on Oprah Winfrey and I remember she came into the green room to say hello and she had on lashes, she was really dramatic and just so beautiful and I looked like a wet rat. And so Troi Ollivierre who helped create these lashes with me went into his case and pulled out every lash he had and they were all just so dramatic and big on me and I realized that there was really nothing there for me. And so we were cutting them apart and he was placing them on really gently and then subsequently any other red carpet event I ever did or TV show I ever was on, we had to do the same thing - cut them apart and glue them on. I thought, ‘why can’t I find something that works for me?’ and ‘am I the only person that has this problem?’. When I started to ask around, I realized that I wasn’t the only person that had this problem. There were a lot of women that wanted a little bit more of a dramatic lash but couldn’t do the really over the top ones that seemed to be prevailing in the market.  

2. What female public figure, past or present, inspires you the most and why?

I think probably one of the most inspiring women I have come across has been Michelle Obama, both for some very obvious reasons and then for some not so obvious. I remember meeting her and what struck me was just how incredibly present she was. She made time for everyone in the room. I didn’t feel like I was in an assembly line so to speak and just getting my hand shaken and then moving on. She really connected, gave time for everyone, really cared. She also cared so deeply about education and was unapologetic. I sat on a panel that she moderated at the White House one year and she really put it to these young kids who were there and wanting to ask those questions and in the end she said don’t take selfies with those people. I want you to get their phone numbers, I want you to get their emails, I want you to follow up, I want you to write them a letter. She really tried to give them tactical, practical, help, but also pushed them and not let everyone just wander off and get a selfie. And let me tell you I got a lot of selfies with people, but there were a few that really followed up. It was really impressive and really inspiring to watch her interact with diplomats and children alike. 

3. What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring female entrepreneur?

I think the single best piece of advice I would give or have been given is to ask for help. I think there is this idea that we have to know everything and what I find is that the people who are the most successful are the ones who are not scared to say I don’t really know what I’m doing here and having the humility to say that and to seek the best advice. Look for advisors, talk to women who are in your industry, do not be afraid. The right people at the right moment will help. They will step up. It took me a lot to feel comfortable just asking for help and when I did it really changed. 

4. What's currently on your Goody wishlist? 

a. Fly by Jing Single Jar Sichuan Sauce

b. Food52 Stackable Colored Glassware Set

c. Hu Kitchen Dark Chocolate Bar 4 Pack

Erica Werber, Founder & CEO of Literie 

Erica Werber is the Founder and CEO of Literie. Before taking on this endeavor, she was a partner at Brand Atelier, a boutique licensing agency. In her 20-year career, she has worked with world-renowned brands like Lacoste, Dom Perignon, Splendid, Swatch and Martha Stewart in various marketing and public relations positions. In her spare time, she enjoys tennis, reading and cooking with her husband and two children.

1. What inspired you to create your brand/product? 

Literie is the brainchild of Erica Werber, a born and raised New Yorker, who can never pass the scent of hot roasted nuts from the corner cart without buying a bag. With the onset of Covid-19 and the exodus from New York, Werber found the city getting an undeserved bad rap and decided to create Literie to highlight the joys of NYC and to allow residents, visitors, and defectors alike to carry the best parts of it into their homes.

2. What female public figure, past or present, inspires you the most and why? 

Definitely my grandmother. She came to this country penniless, after surviving a war, without speaking English and managed to start her own business as a seamstress in New York City shortly after her arrival.

3. What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring female entrepreneur? 

Always trust your gut feeling. It's usually right. If something doesn't feel right, don't do it.  

4. What's currently on your Goody wishlist?

a. Maman Coffee & Cup Gift Bundle

b. Jeni’s Ice Cream Jeni’s Essentials

c. Paravel Packing Cube Quad, Monogrammed

Mignonne Gavigan, Founder & CEO of Mignonne Gavigan 

At Mignonne Gavigan, accessories are the perfect finishing touch. Our philosophy is that sophistication and playfulness can coexist, with thoughtfully designed one-of-a-kind pieces that tell a story of handmade craftsmanship and faraway travels. Founded in 2014, our approach stems from Mignonne’s love of art, nature, architecture, and textiles bringing them all together in accessories that bring joy and happiness.  

With partners in India and Asia, we create modern designs, informed by 100-year-old heritage techniques. Signature styles include embroidered and beaded scarf necklaces, meaningful charms, decadent statement earrings, and intricately detailed brooches, and bracelets. 

Wear, love and elevate your everyday!

1. What inspired you to create your brand/product?

I was draping a runway dress and I had picked up a scrap, tied it around my neck with a safety pin and walked around Soho and three different people were like where can I get that necklace and I was like give me a second and I’ll make it for you. Anyway, a teacher had said if you ever want to have your own brand make sure it’s something unique and sets you apart from the industry and at that point I knew that this scarf/necklace that ended up becoming the DNA for our brand, Mignonne Gavigan, was something very unique and was something that was interesting and exciting to people. 

2. What female public figure, past or present, inspires you the most and why?

Betty White, I would say, is a public figure that super inspires me, inspired me, continues to inspire me, as she has so many other people. She broke through so many glass ceilings just with poise and grace and obviously through her comedy and laughs. She made people feel good, feel happy. She continues to do that even though she’s no longer with us. 

3. What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring female entrepreneur?

One piece of advice I would give an entrepreneur is just to stick with it. There are days where you think am I getting anywhere, are we heading towards those goals that we set, are we staying close to what our business plan told us to do? It’s easy to get caught in the day to day and not look at the bigger picture. Hang in there, keep getting up in the morning and putting one foot in front of the other. 

4. What’s currently on your Goody wishlist?

a. Heyday $100 Gift Card

b. Maison Louis Marie Candle 

c. Insomnia Cookies 12 Classic Cookie Gift

Jasmine Maietta, Founder & CEO, round21

Jasmine is the Founder and CEO of round21, a disruptive brand that combines art, sport and next generation technology, including NFTs, to create limited edition sports lifestyle collectibles for today’s sports fans who live in both physical and digital worlds. 

While many sports products are “blank” and “functional,” round21 reimagines sport as a canvas for self-expression by partnering with leading creators and delivering the final product through a hybrid of digital (NFTs) and physical goods - a business model round21 has coined “digi-fizzy.”  

Jasmine has spent more than 20 years working in sports and fitness giving her a deep understanding of the athletic lifestyle, tech, and the “connected life.” Prior to taking the entrepreneurial leap to start round21 in the spring of 2020, she was Vice President of Global Brand Marketing at Peloton where she led a team of talented marketers and creatives for the tech start-up. Before Peloton, she spent 6 years at Under Armour as Head of Brand Marketing for Men's Training & Running, and also held key marketing roles at Hasbro and Reebok earlier in her career. 

Jasmine’s experience has enabled round21 to develop partnerships with the biggest names in sports, entertainment, NFTs, and art including Coinbase, the WNBA Players Association, the NFL Players Association, The Modern Museum of Art (NYC) Design Store, Bored Ape Yacht Club, Dicks Sporting Goods, Fanatics, Budweiser, and more. By leveraging the full sports lifestyle and the blockchain, round21 is creating a self-expression revolution – by reimagining what you play as a symbol of who you are. 

1. What inspired you to create your brand/product?

I played professional basketball growing up and coached for a number of years and I started to see that this generation of athlete and sport fan cares more about the name on the back of the jersey than they do the name on the front. It’s all about self expression. It’s all about individuality. I do not believe that there is a sports brand designing for this generation, which is in partnership with them not for them. Round21, brings artists and  athletes and tastemakers together to unlock sport as a canvas for self expression and we do that across basketball, football, soccer with some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment. As we enter into new sports, the absolute limit is as much as our creativity and our imagination. 

2. What female public figure, past or present, inspires you the most and why?

There are two answers to this - Cynthia Marshall. Cynthia Marshall has been at the helm of the Dallas Mavericks for a number of years and prior to that had a very successful corporate history. When I think about her chapters of her career, she has been able to reinvent herself through how she connects with her community but she’s also stayed very true to who she is. I also am inspired by Lady Gaga, which is a little bit unusual. She has always been value based around inclusivity, celebrating people's differences, and used her music to be what connects people. Similarly at round21, we’re using art and sport to be what connects people and we’re very value based so Lady Gaga’s unique experience has also inspired me. 

3. What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring female entrepreneur?

My advice is pretty simple - remember why you started in the first place. It might sound cliché but I think through the journey, at least in my experience, you go through highs and lows, you go through big wins and significant setbacks - whether it’s through product development or things related to retail or COVID or community engagement. Thinking or remembering why you started this in the first place can be a very important compass through those challenging and inspiring times. It keeps you grounded. It also keeps you true to what you’re building when other things and other people's opinions may start to come into play. 

4. What's currently on your Goody wishlist? 

A whole bunch of self care. Reinforcing how when you’re not at your laptop or pitching to investors, out there pounding the pavement, what really matters is how you’re treating yourself and your environment around you. Whether that’s certain candles or massage therapy or things that surround and create an environment of fulfillment and enrichment, those were things that spoke to me on my Goody wishlist. 

Melodie Asseraf, Founder & CEO of Bake it With Mel

Hailed from Paris, Chef Mel studied with some of the most iconic French pastry chefs of our time like Francois Payard and Pierre Herme just to name a few. Her innovation comes from mixing popular American desserts with a French Twist which she perfected during the the five years she owned and operated her own bakery in Paris. Back in the US, Chef Mel won Food Network’s CHOPPED twice.

Bake It With Mel is more than just another CPG company, she’s one of the first baking tech companies to revolutionize the industry. Chef Mel founded Bake it With Mel with a simple mission in mind: teach everyone how to bake like a pro. And, she does this by embracing by bringing baking into the digital age. Her baking kits make baking like a pro a piece of cake thanks to the help of next gen technology, QR codes, video tutorials and 24/7 social outreach. Chef Mel is creating a community of modern bakers who want to step up their #BakingGame.

You can spot Mel on the upcoming show Rat in the Kitchen on TBS - and always count on her for some real baking help. Like Chef Mel says, “lLife's short so let’s make it sweet together”.

1. What inspired you to create your brand/product?

Baking hasn’t been reinvented since the 1950’s and yet the way we experience food has. I want to take baking into the digital age and make it more accessible to everyone. The first step is by making it easier - removing the tedious parts like weighing your ingredients and keeping the fun experiential parts like licking the spoon when you’re done mixing. Everyone has a bowl, a spatula and mobile phone that is what I consider to be the new arsenal for modern bakers.

2. What female public figure, past or present, inspires you the most and why?

I’m so blessed to be born into a pretty female dominant family. On my mom’s side, I come from a long line (seven generations) of daughters. And, that’s probably why I have so many fond memories in the kitchen and around the dinning room table with all these generations of women. Outside of my family, Betty White was my idol.- She was incredibly talented star who had an unquenchable, joie de vivre and love for animals and human kind. The kindness she showed was a real strength. I think a little kindness goes a long way.

3. What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring female entrepreneur?

Businesses aren’t like baking, there’s no recipe that you can follow. I think the attraction of starting your own venture can be appealing and maybe a little misleading to those who have never run a business before. I would say that if you are going to start a business then make sure you’re in it for the long haul, that you have a thick skin and keep your determination to succeed at the forefront of your mind no matter what happens.

4. What's currently on your Goody wishlist?

Big beautiful Candles! Hallvah selection I saw, and the Levain cookies.

Mayssa Chehata, Founder & CEO of BEHAVE 

Mayssa Chehata is the founder and CEO of BEHAVE Candy. A lifelong candy-lover, Chehata, like many others, has a soft spot for sweets but often felt guilty when partaking. She created BEHAVE out of the personal desire to discover a candy brand that promoted indulgence over restriction, but was still healthier than other options on the market. 

In collaboration with celebrity chef Elizabeth Falkner, Mayssa worked to develop an inventive yet accessible palette of better-for-you flavors with a distinct, modern, fun and minimalist design for today’s candy-loving consumer who’s looking to enjoy guilt-free.

Mayssa has previously held brand partnerships and business development roles at companies such as the NFL, Uber, Daily Harvest, and SoulCycle. In her downtime, her love for music has her moonlighting as a DJ.

1. What inspired you to create your brand/product?

I've had a massive sweet tooth my whole life, but as I got older and wanted to clean up my eating habits, I could neither kick my candy habit, nor find a good, healthier replacement. That was the initial inspiration - my insatiable need for (not-so) occasional candy binge.

2. What female public figure, past or present, inspires you the most and why?

I'm extremely inspired by my all my badass female friends - Melanie Masarin, founder of Ghia, and Babba Rivera, founder of Ceremonia - are huge inspirations to me right now, in work and in life.

3. What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring female entrepreneur?

Surround yourself with people who believe in you, lift you up, and a couple people who've been through it before. Finding friends / mentors who are a few months ahead of you in their businesses and entrepreneurial journeys is incredibly rewarding.

4. What's currently on your Goody wishlist?

a. 9 Bar, Variety Pack HoneyMama's

b. Jiggy

c. Make Your Matcha Kit Golde

Marisa Scott, Co-Founder of Casamia 

Marisa was born and raised in Laguna Beach, California. From a young age, hosting magical and memorable parties was a part of life. Her mom always threw the most unique birthday parties creating every detail by hand, and has even saved her birthday invites since she was 1! Marisa moved to Dallas, TX to attend Southern Methodist University. After graduating, she moved to New York to start her career in Fashion at Prada. After a handful of years in NY, Marisa met her now husband at an engagement party in Dallas, eventually bringing her back to Texas where she worked for Fossil/ Michael Kors and Ashley Pittman Jewelry. Spending years of her career focused on growing brands, she took her love for product development and creativity to launch her own dress collection in 2019. All the while her passion for entertaining and bringing together her favorite people continued to grow, eventually resulting in Casamia. Now residing in LA with her husband, daughter and dog, she loves her trips back to Dallas to visit family and friends.

1. What inspired you to create your brand/product? 

Nothing brings me more joy than sharing our creations and new discoveries with friends and family, so Casamia is a vehicle to share our thoughtfully curated tablescapes with a larger network. Seeing our customers use products to enjoy countless hours around a table is why we do what we are doing. Those memories made will last a lifetime and we're excited to be a part of them!

2. What female public figure, past or present, inspires you the most and why? 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg! My daughter and I are reading a book on her at the moment and her strength and passion for equality is beyond inspiring. Watching any woman become a mother and continue on her dreams keeps me going!

3. What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring female entrepreneur? 

Keep moving forward every day. Sounds simple but as an entrepreneur it is easy to get discouraged as it is not an easy road so even a small step for one day may be a huge accomplishment.

4. What’s on your Goody wishlist?

a. Ciccetti Boarderie

b. Triple Threat Fly by Jing

c. Sauce Bundle 2 Pack Carbone

Jing Gao, Founder & CEO of Fly by Jing

1. What inspired you to create your brand/product?

I started Fly By Jing as a traveling supper club, where I would see diners’ eyes light up when they tasted Sichuan flavors. What’s now our all-natural Sichuan Chili Crisp was a base for a lot of my dishes. After attending Expo West several years ago and being shocked at the lack of Asian flavors represented, I knew there was an opportunity to introduce more people to the centuries-old flavors and textures of Chinese cuisine — and to give people the opportunity to make these flavors their own. I launched the Sichuan Chili Crisp on Kickstarter, and that was just the beginning of creating the highly personal, non traditional, and modern Chinese food company that is Fly By Jing today.

2. What female public figure, past or present, inspires you the most and why?

Cecilia Chiang is a huge inspiration. She was a pioneer of Chinese cuisine in America, helping to elevate it by introducing San Francisco, and later Beverly Hills and the rest of the country, to authentic Mandarin food. When she opened The Mandarin back in the 1960s, most American diners were only familiar with Cantonese cuisine. By focusing on the region where she was from, she helped to open up Westerners’ minds and experiences with Chinese food. More than half a century later, we’re following in her footsteps and blazing our own trail by doing the same with Sichuan flavors at Fly By Jing.

3. What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring female entrepreneur?

My advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs is to find good mentors within your industry. Many of the problems you’ll need to figure out have been solved before, so don’t be shy about asking for help!

4. What’s on your Goody wishlist?

a. 1 bottle of Ghia

b. Mister Jiu’s In Chinatown

c. Seriously Good Gummy Bears BEHAVE Candy

Morgan Lerner & Annie Slabotsky, Co-Founders, GoNanas

GoNanas’ founders and best friends Morgan Lerner and Annie Slabotsky—who met at the University of Michigan—started the company out of a shared passion for health and baking. While still on campus, the baking duo spent three years recipe-testing and perfecting their banana bread recipe. After testing many variations, it turned out the vegan recipe was the most loved, which led to their decision to make GoNanas a fully vegan company.

1. What inspired you to create your brand/product? 

We met as neighbors in the dorms at the University of Michigan actually, and quickly bonded over our passion for health, food, and of course, baking. We saw so many companies dedicated to cookies, brownies, etc. but none to banana bread (a more versatile treat also, as it's not just eaten for dessert). But beyond that, we saw a lack of healthy AND tasty treats on campus and in the market. Too often gluten free or vegan items don’t deliver on taste, so we wanted to create something SO delicious that truly EVERYONE could enjoy.

2. What female public figure, past or present, inspires you the most and why? 

Sarah Blakely the founder of Spanx! We resonate with and are so inspired by her story of building her business from just her own investment of $5,000 and hustling her way to the top, without any formal business training! We pride ourselves on being scrappy and fiercely driven, learning every step of the way. We aren't MBAs nor seasoned professionals, but rather, two women, extremely passionate about what we're doing, and working hard to make a difference in any way we can!

3. What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring female entrepreneur? 

Figure out what your passions are, what gets you going, what sets your soul on fire! If you're going after that, you're absolutely on the right track. That's how we started our business - just baking one today together, trying to healthify the classic treat we knew and loved (yes, banana bread). Never did we think we'd be here, but years of following our passions led from one thing to another.

4. What's currently on your Goody wishlist? 

  1. Brightland - the premiere olive oil, so great to gift to anyone who loves cooking! The bottles also serve as decor as their own and add to any kitchen counter. I've even used them for vases!
  2. Honey Mama's - for any chocolate lover, honey mama's is a clean yet indulgent choice that ALWAYS satisfies. Big fan!
  3. La Fleur Bouquets - these last for they say at least 2 years, which is unheard of for flowers! Not only that, but they also serve as a great decoration in their elegant boxes, rather than a traditional vase. Everyone I've gotten these for, LOVES them!

Andrea Allen, Co-Founder & CEO, Onyx Coffee Lab

Andrea Allen is the co-founder of Onyx Coffee Lab. She is head of operations for all Onyx cafes and for the roastery. Andrea manages all things people, and she creates and develops Onyx leadership roles. She is also a U.S. Barista Champion and the runner-up World Barista Champion for 2021.

1. What inspired you to create your brand/product? 

Onyx is born out of the desire to source, roast and brew the world’s greatest coffees. We do that now, located in Arkansas and publish all of the data transparently on our website.

2. What female public figure, past or present, inspires you the most and why? 

I’m inspired by the women in my own community, working to build careers, women who are moms, women who are just trying to make it.

3. What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring female entrepreneur? 

When you’re starting out, you don’t have to know everything. I’ve learned so much about what we do here at Onyx as we were creating it, so don’t let your fears or your insecurities hold you back, just go for it!

4. What's currently on your Goody wishlist? 

On my Goody wishlist, I have Boardarie charcuterie boards, Brightland olive oils, Onyx coffee and UrbanStems flowers because I love all things food and beverage and entertainment.

  1. Boardarie
  2. Brightland Olive Oils
  3. UrbanStems