Female entrepreneurship is leading the way – and we’re here for it. From caring for the environment, to living with intention and inspiring a lifestyle of holistic wellness, our women-led brands go above and beyond to lead by example – starting with their values.
This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating 10 women-led brands that inspire us every day. From Chia Sisters and Antipodes to Ethique and Sattva Soul, we’re proud to work with incredible women who empower their communities to lead a healthier, mindful lifestyle.
From their triumphs and inspirations, through to what it means to be a woman, we chat to 10 of our favourite women-led brands making a positive difference and our top picks to give a go in your daily routine.
1. Ethique Founder & CEO: Brianne West
Passionate about restoring and protecting our environment, Founder and CEO of waterless beauty brand Ethique – Brianne West is an entrepreneur from Aotearoa who has earned a name for herself with her solid, regenerative beauty bars. From body wash, hair care and skincare, Ethique’s beauty bars are high quality, vegan and sustainably sourced.
For what first started out in Brianne’s kitchen back in 2012, Ethique has proved itself as a self-sustaining, environmentally proactive brand across the beauty industry – saving more than 18 million plastic bottles from landfills and over 600,000kg in carbon emissions.
“Every year, I’m focused on raising the bar. As Founder of Ethique, it’s working with my team to regenerate our planet through our products, packaging, and practices. Through mentoring and other ventures I run, it’s helping to build the next 1000 better businesses. Personally, I am enjoying my own regenerative conservation projects as I am lucky enough to have ten acres in rural Canterbury to transform into a wildlife haven.”
Our top pick: Ethique – The Guardian Conditioner Bar
Formulated with cocoa butter, coconut oil, vitamin B5 and zesty lime oil, this delightful beauty bar is great for supporting smooth and lush locks. From taming frizzy hair, hydrating dry hair and restoring damaged hair, there’s much to love about this conditioner. It’s also suitable for colour-treated hair and doubles as a superb shaving bar or in-shower moisturiser.
2. Antipodes Founder & CEO: Elizabeth Barbalich
Unable to find natural skincare that offered the same benefits as regular skincare – without unwanted chemicals or animal testing, Elizabeth founded Antipodes. Renowned for supporting incredible results, Antipodes has achieved global success over the years as a plant-powered beauty brand backed by science. Using natural ingredients native to Aotearoa, this eco-minded brand is recognised for being kind to your skin and our planet. Elizabeth’s resilience is a true testament and inspiration to her brand’s success.
“As a mother of three and an entrepreneur, I want results in every aspect of my life. Time is too precious to waste, so I devote my energy to things that give me joy or help achieve my goals. When it comes to Antipodes, it’s important to me that we create the highest performance skincare we possibly can. Women are expert multi-taskers and I’m proud to say, so are Antipodes products!”
Our top pick: Antipodes - Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream
For a nourishing night cream that deeply restores while you snooze, Antipodes have just what you need. Using premium bioactive ingredients like New Zealand mānuka honey to draw moisture and antioxidant Vinanza® Grape to support against free radical damage, this wonderful cream is the perfect way to close out your nightly skincare routine. It’s also suitable for most skin conditions – especially mature and dry skin.
3. Sattva Soul Founder: Celine Wallace
Inspired by her own healing journey, Celine Wallace – Ayurvedic Practitioner and Yoga Therapist, founded Sattva Soul to help support the wellbeing of others more holistically. Celine’s focus with Sattva Soul has been to bring women transformational tools that change their lives, starting with organic herbs like Ashwagandha and a change in lifestyle.
“Being a woman means being authentically myself while inspiring others to stand in their truth and do the same. Being authentically me right now means being a pillar for the women in my life and my community, while at the same time staying divinely connected to my feminine energy and knowing when to tap into my masculine to get things done. Let's just say, it's a graceful dance that I'm forever working on navigating.”
Our top pick: Sattva Soul - Organic Ashwagandha & Bioperine
Born out of a desire to support modern-day women dealing with the impact of stress, these supplements hero adaptogenic herb Ashwagandha – renowned for supporting a healthy stress response and balanced cortisol levels. Whether it’s short-term or long-term stress, they’re an ideal option for anyone looking to support a balanced mood, healthy energy and rejuvenation during tough times.
4. YUM Granola Founder: Sarah Hedger
YUM Granola was born when founder Sarah Hedger was inspired to create cereal that felt good – and tasted good too. Being sensitive to wheat and gluten, Sarah wanted to find a solution that championed real, natural ingredients while still being delicious for everyone to enjoy. Being naturally high in healthy fats, low in carbs and rich in fibre, YUM is a great way to fuel any day and helps keep you full for longer.
For what initially started out at a farmers' market, Sarah’s success with YUM has allowed her to go on selling her range across Aotearoa. For a sustainable breakfast option that’ll leave you feeling amazing, YUM’s delicious range is worth adding to your pantry.
“One woman that inspires me is Kris Tompkins, philanthropist, conservationist, and business woman – who purchased 14m acres in South America to restore, preserve, and regenerate land in South America, Conservación Patagonia. She then returned it to the government so more people could enjoy it. An example of a true legacy to leave the world better than we found it.”
Our top pick: YUM Granola - Dark Chocolate + Goji Berry Granola
What better way to kickstart your mornings than with a delightful bowl of crunchy granola? Featuring feel-good ingredients like coconut, dark chocolate, hazelnut, chia seeds and goji berries, get your sweet tooth fix with this healthy and oh-so delicious brekkie or afternoon tea treat. Serve over yoghurt and seasonal fruit or enjoy it as it is with your choice of milk – yum!
5. MenoMe Co-Founder: Deanne Werder-McCrea
Run by women for women, MenoMe was created to support women going through perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause. On a mission to empower, educate and inspire middle-aged women, co-founder Deanne Werder-McCrea has created an incredible range of Aotearoa made herbal supplements that help gently and naturally balance hormone levels.
“ Challenges I’ve faced have been finding balance between family life, business and ‘me time’, while at the same time making a positive difference in other women’s lives through MenoMe®. Having the courage to start a menopause business 7 years ago and talk about it openly at a time when it was more taboo than today has been a real triumph in my business career. I like to think I’ve played my part in bringing the conversation out into the open.”
Our top pick: MenoMe LotsaLocks
Looking for a natural herbal formulation to support strong, lush locks and healthy nails? MenoMe LotsaLocks is a fantastic choice. Using scientifically researched keraGEN-IV and Biotin, this award-winning bestseller is suitable for vegetarians - and packaged in recyclable packaging that's good for our planet.
6. Holistic Hair Founders: Nicky James-Baird and Jodene Fendall
Co-owners Nicky and Jodene, founded Holistic Hair back in 2006, with a mission to provide New Zealand made natural haircare products that were suitable for everyone – regardless of their hair type. From sustainable packaging made from 100% recycled plastic to gentle, plant-based formulas that help nourish hair from root to tip, there’s much to love about this incredible brand.
“We often think about women in less fortunate circumstances and hope that we can have a positive impact in other women’s lives. The partnership with Cleanhub has allowed us to help fund a women-led plastic recovery & recycling business in Indonesia.”
Our top pick: Holistic Hair - Hydrating Shampoo - Scalp & Hair
For an option that supports a nourished scalp and thriving hair, this botanical shampoo from Holistic Hair is worth adding to your haircare routine. Formulated with Geranium and Lavender to cleanse and deeply moisturise a healthy scalp and Avocado and Palmarosa to hydrate and restore hair from root to tip. Its gentle ingredients also make it a kind choice for little ones (ages 2+) whose scalp and hair may require a little more attention.
7. Plant Potions Founder: Louise Mills
Organic, ethically sourced essential oils that have you – and our planet in mind? Designed with all eight chakras in mind, Founder Louise Mills’ range of plant-based scents are here to help create harmony between our breath, and external senses – sound, smell and touch.
Highlighting natural ingredients that are gentle on your skin and nurturing for the soul, they’re a wonderful addition to any wellness wishlist. Self-care session, anyone?
“Being a woman enables me to channel my creativity, power, compassion and follow my heart - I feel connected to our Earth even more so because of this feminine aspect. In the most hectic of moments - the solace and composure you need can be found within the breath - this is why I choose to express my message through the medium of scent - Plant Potions literally remind you to breathe!”
Our top pick: Plant Potions I AM CALM - Pulse Point Oil
After a moment of calm in your day? Formulated with a blend of chamomile, lavender, peru balsam and mandarin – this soothing oil is here to support relaxation and feel-good moments.
Thanks to its petite size, it’s a great option to have when you’re on the go – or looking for a new favourite for your self-care ritual.
Did you know? I AM CALM Pulse Point Oil is packaged in a reusable cotton pouch. Repurpose it as you please: jewellery storage, taonga, tooth fairy visits – the list goes on!
8. Misty Day Plant Potions Founder: Rach Dawson
Misty Day Plant Potions draws on traditional values and herbs of TCM and Ayurveda to bring you the best adaptogenic and tonic herbs the plant world can offer. Founder Rach Dawson is a qualified herbalist and naturopath and became fascinated by natural health from an early age.
“For me, my lifetime focus is on stress and the impact that stress has on the mind and body as a whole. I have always loved herbs and mushrooms which support and hold people when stress is knocking at the door, so I think I definitely chose the right path for me.”
Our top pick: Misty Day Plant Potions - Shroom Squad
Using a synergistic blend of five functional mushrooms, Shroom Squad brings plenty of health supporting qualities to the table. Featuring Chaga and Turkey Tail for a healthy immune system and happy gut, Reishi for a healthy liver and calm mind, Lion’s Mane for mental clarity and Cordyceps for hormonal balance and clear airways, support everyday wellness with an easy-to-use powder that deserves a spot in your daily routine.
9. Chia Sisters Co-Founders: Chloe and Florence Van Dyke
Sisters, and you guessed it – founders, Chloe and Florence, of well-known brand Chia Sisters, started the idea after finding there was a gap in the market for nutritious drinks using honest ingredients. Focusing on what was inside rather than what wasn’t inside, Chia Sisters’ wellness tonics were brought to life. Their range of wellness tonics use locally sourced ingredients that are natural, fresh and good for you. Rich in nutrition and incredibly tasty, their drinks are a wonderful way of nourishing and replenishing our bodies – what's not to love?
“Being a woman is about owning our own voice, rather than trying to act in a traditional way whether it be in the boardroom, on a sales call, or at home. We are also aware of our privileged position as leaders in business. We use this position to lift up women around us and celebrate women in leadership.”
For an immune-loving tonic your insides will love, this hot tonic by Chia Sisters uses a blend of warming ginger, turmeric, Keri Keri lemon and Golden Bay mānuka honey to uplift and revive. Containing shelf-stable probiotics, it doesn’t require refrigeration and tastes best when enjoyed with hot water.
10. AWWA Co-Founder: Michele Wilson
Committed to unpacking the stigma around periods, co-founder of AWWA – Michele Wilson, wanted to create a natural alternative to traditional period products – the period underwear. Suitable for all shapes and sizes, AWWA uses sustainable fabric that’s super absorbent, moisture-wicking and leak-proof – keeping you dry and fresh all day long. Being washable and reusable, AWWA’s range of period underwear is a great alternative to single-use waste and is a better choice for your wallet too.
“For me, a big part of being a woman is being a mother to my two children. My 2 daughters make me feel like a woman. I am strong, independent, brave, sensitive, vulnerable and care more for my children than anything else in this world and the ability to be all of those things makes me feel like a woman.”
Our top pick: AWWA - Cotton Full Brief Black
Enjoy comfortable and dry underwear all month long with AWWA’s Cotton Full Brief. Holding and absorbing up to two regular tampons or pads worth of flow – a great choice if your periods are neither heavy nor light. They’re also a wonderful option if you’re dealing with spotting during post-partum.
Whether it’s the work they do for our planet, our wellbeing or their community, there’s plenty of feel-good reasons to make these women-led brands your new favourites this International Women’s Day. Here to make a healthy difference – for you and our planet too, feel supported on your journey with these empowering brands.