10 Remarkable Women-Led Businesses According to Women for IWD

Business acu(wo)men.

Laura Nezri, founder of Maison Tess.

These women—both the ones quoted and those being mentioned—are innovative, powerful, creative entrepreneurs. In celebration of International Women’s Day, we are spreading the love and shouting out the favourite businesses of some of our favourite entrepreneurial women.


“No. 1 reason: Jenna Lyons. Need I say more? In case I do, this brand embodies women. What is more important than looking into a woman’s eyes? You get to see a part of their soul, and that is magic. LoveSeen lashes are made for women of all ages, skin tone, ethnicity, and shape. I love how inclusive it is and representative of who we are as women. The brand managed to bring electricity to a product that could have remained flat.” — Laura Nezri,  founder of Maison Tess


Prana Snacks

Melissa Lambert.

Marie-Josée co-founded Prana Snacks from scratch alongside her spouse in 2005. Together they created novelty snacks that are organic, wholesome, and delicious. Over the years, she succeeded in developing the market in Canada as well as the United States—a market that is known to be extremely competitive and demanding. Marie-Josée is a true inspiration as, just like me, she is a woman entrepreneur and a mother of three young boys. I find her to be authentic and represent perfectly the new generation of entrepreneurs.” — Mélissa Lambert, founder and CEO of Lambert


Host Consulting

Leigh Joseph.

“I would like to share Host Consulting, which is a consultancy group founded by three Indigenous women that represent the three host nations in and around the Vancouver area. They work on public art installation, decolonial dialogues, and discussions, and project management, and liaising. I’d also love to highlight artist Ocean Hyland. Ocean does incredible illustrations, and I have collaborated with Ocean on design work for both my business and my ethnobotanical research.” — Leigh Joseph, founder of Sḵwálwen Botanicals


Brother Vellies

Aurora James.

“As the founder of a luxury custom leather brand specializing in handcrafted jackets, I am truly inspired by Aurora James (fellow Ontario local and founder of Brother Vellies) and her mission of preserving the handcrafted shoemaking craft in Africa, while opening the doors to new employment opportunities for artisans on a global scale. At By The Namesake, we honour powerful women throughout history who have effected meaningful change. Aurora is a personal muse of mine with her work on the 15 Percent Pledge and constant advocacy of underrepresented voices.” — Rosa Halpern, founder and designer of By the Namesake


Maison Marie Saint Pierre

“Founded by Montreal-based designer and visionary Marie Saint Pierre—I can’t resist her stunning, innovative, impeccable designs that incorporate technology such as laser cutting and bonding with cutting-edge production techniques, all made in Canada.” — Susan Langdon, executive director of the Toronto Fashion Incubator


Salty Cabbage

Jennifer Chan photo by Rich Won.

“I love how Kailyn (owner) has reimagined and rebranded what classic traditional kimchi can look like! Just like her personality, she’s all about making her products beautiful, delicious, and approachable without sacrificing authenticity or flavour.” — Jennifer Chan, CMO of Coho Collective (Coho Collective includes three Coho Commissaries and Coho Coffee)



Claire Lassam photo by Eva McMillan.

“I’ve selected Claire, owner/operator of Livia bakery, as we truly think she’s one of the strongest, more resourceful female business owners in Vancouver. She’s done an unbelievable job adjusting her business model during COVID-19 to continue to excel. Her work ethic, commitment, and passion are an inspiration. She has been a crucial partner and friend of Legends. Claire was one of our first vendors to take a chance on us and hop on board. Our Livia sourdough loaf is one of our top-selling items—like, top five selling items at Legends since Day 1.” — Jillian Sheridan, partner of Legends Haul


Duet PR & Madeup Beauty

Madeup Beauty.

As an entrepreneur – Duet PR has been my absolute favourite women-led business to work with. They are an all-female team that seamlessly amplifies my work while maintaining professionalism, kindness and a great fashion sense. My other favourite is Madeup Beauty—a line of amazing makeup that caters to women of all shades. And the woman behind it is my little sister! — Dr. liza Egbogah, Celebrity Body & Posture Expert and Designer


Hānai Table and YK3

Hānai Family Table.

“The first one that jumps to mind is Tess Bevernage of Hanai Table. Her business focuses on cooking Hawaii-style food she grew up with. The food is both comforting and fresh, with rotating ready-to-eat items and kitchen staples available through their website. They cook out of the commissary close to Dachi, and it’s nice having them in our neighbourhood! Tess is very thoughtful; her food, delicious and personal.

I’d also like to highlight Yuki Kobayashi of YK3, a friend and colleague of mine in the sake industry for the last decade. Their team has been making local sake in Richmond, B.C., for the last eight years. Experimenting with different styles from fruit infusions to umami-driven aged sake, she keeps such an open mind and has pushed sake outside of just Japanese restaurants, bridging the gap with other foods. I’m always excited to see what they are doing next. Yuki’s got a sharp palate and makes a great dinner date!” — Miki Ellis, co-owner Dachi and Ugly Dumpling


Formation Studio

Saschie MacLean-Magbanua.

“I met Saschie MacLean-Magbanua and the Formation Studio team at Core Community when we first opened in July, and I was struck with her overwhelming sense of inclusion and togetherness. Sachie herself is collaborative, inspiring, and nurturing. You can see these qualities in the empowering business that she has created. During this unprecedented time in the fitness industry, when her own in-person studio has been forced to shut, I admire her resilience, perseverance, and optimism.” — Mira Lutsky, founder of Core Community


Lyolya Boutique

Olesya Krakhmalyova.

“I’d like to mention my mom, Tatyana Krakhmalyova. She is a civil engineer by profession but, after working in the industry for many years, decided to become an entrepreneur. She has created and operated a small business in my home town in Ukraine, running women’s clothing and children’s clothing small shops. I’ve witnessed and admired first-hand how being a business owner, she always had to be “present” for her work while also raising me and taking care of our family. My mom was my very first, dear, and close example of how to reach and manage the balance of being an entrepreneur and mom at the same time.” — Olesya Krakhmalyova of Ladurée Canada