Consumers are showing a growing interest in the background of the products they buy: What's their environmental impact? Are the ingredients safe? Are the factory workers treated fairly?
Now comes a way to identify products and services from women-owned businesses. Fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff, famed for her handbags and accessories, is planning to launch a "female founder" symbol so shoppers can use their pocketbook to help those businesses succeed.
"First and foremost, we want a symbol that can be recognized on packaging, or websites, or storefronts," Minkoff told USA Today small-business columnist Rhonda Abrams. "We want to galvanize a community to buy from and support each other... We can educate the consumer in the [same] way that she's been educated to turn over and see [if a product] is non-GMO or organic."
Minkoff launched the Female Founder Collective last September; it already has 3,000 members. The product symbol is one goal—"an overwhelming majority of women (82%) are more likely to buy from companies owned by other women, if they only knew who they were," Minkoff's website says—but another is to create a movement and support network.
"The goal is to have a directory of all these [women-owned] brands," said Minkoff. "It will be a b2c [business to consumer] directory, and a b2b [business to business] portal for these companies to continue to help one another."
The designer has also launched a partnership with Visa to help empower and educate female entrepreneurs. Today, which is International Women's Day—March is also Women's History Month—the Female Founder Collective and Visa's She's Next program, a global initiative, are hosting a series of workshops in New York City to offer women insights on how to grow their businesses. The collective and the She's Next program plan to offer an array of resources and opportunities, "from streamlining payment methods to linking women small-business owners with like-minded peers and experts," says Visa.