Wearing All the Hats: A Spotlight on Women Business Owners
By Kaitlin Friedmann
Whether they’re heading up a million-dollar enterprise or the owner of the local apothecary, women are facing challenges and opportunities in our digitally evolving world. According to Gusto, a human resource cloud software company, 49% of new businesses in 2021 were women founded, up from 28% in 2019.
“The growth in women-led businesses, particularly during and post-pandemic, does not surprise me,” said Andrea Cid, CEO of beauty manufacturing incubator Miami Growth Machine. “Over 80% of my clients are women. A combination of tech-enabled ecommerce growth, layoffs, and the need for flexibility has given women entrepreneurs the opportunity to launch new CPG businesses,” said Cid.
Two resourceful and driven women who own their home businesses recently discussed how they got their products off the ground, and how they are redefining what it means to be a woman-led business today.
GS1 US member companies Cecile’s Bath and Body and served® each started out looking to solve a specific problem in their lives and created a solution that others found useful.
After being laid off and struggling to find the money for holiday gifts in 2011, Jackie Granchamps started looking for solutions, “A friend suggested that I make bath products, which I was already making for myself. It would be a good thing to do, create something unique.” A quick trip to the grocery store for sea salt, fruit, and herbs yielded “the most beautiful, fragrant, fluffy concoction” and the start of Cecile’s Bath and Body.
Bryn Wilson, the founder of served®, was stuck at home like the rest of us in 2020 but dreamed of a day when we would gather with friends and family again, with more practical storage containers for food and drinks. Unable to find exactly what she wanted, Bryn decided “realized the solution was already here, I’ll take what I’m already seeing in my water bottle and put it into serving dishes,” and created served®, copper lined, vacuum-insulated double-walled serving dishes with tight-fitting lids.
It wasn’t always a smooth journey for Granchamps and Wilson. Uphill battles are part of their success story.
Before the pandemic hit, Granchamps struggled with her health and was forced to pause production for two years. But in 2020, according to her “the pandemic allowed me to focus on the business and refashion it into what it would be in the future.” In the face of uncertainty, Granchamps saw an opportunity and took advantage. “It allowed me to kind of go back and do the things that I hadn’t done, like thinking about product design,” she explained.
For Wilson, learning on the fly was not always the easiest experience, “I was a corporate attorney before. This is so out of my wheelhouse,” she said. Wilson manages all aspects of her business. “It’s like I am wearing all the hats.”
Beyond focusing on the product design and packaging, Granchamps noted, “I kept seeing that I needed barcodes to sell wholesale through RangeMe.” Both business owners were newly introduced to the world of barcoding. The ubiquitous UPC barcode, seen every day on thousands of products, is a necessity for selling a product through retailers. However, each business owner did not have previous experience with how the system of product identification works.
As she continued to build her business, Granchamps did her research, “I know now that larger retailers like Target require barcodes from GS1 for their inventory and warehouse, and to track the actual product. Without the correct barcode, it would have been really difficult to even try to work with the retailers I want to work with."
But for Wilson, the effort is worth it, “The barcode feels like the cherry on top—a last, but critical component to bring the products to market. With the GS1 US barcode, you can actually get scanned at the point of sale and someone walks out with the product.”
Having barcodes from the start can also help with scalability. “Women and other underrepresented groups receive a tiny fraction of investment funding. Making sure every dollar is used to the max is critical to surviving a cash flow crunch as a company grows. Not having to redo packaging for larger vendors will ultimately save significant time and money,” said Cid.
She always advises clients to use GS1 US for UPC barcodes after having to relabel thousands of boxes for a client who was sold used barcodes from a less reputable seller. “It pained me to have to sticker over the barcode, their packaging was lovely. But it was either sticker, or throw out and reprint thousands of boxes,” she said.
served® and Cecile’s Bath and Body are selling products in a variety of places including their websites, Amazon, and independent retailers, with dreams of expanding to more channels.
Wilson acknowledges her consumers are in different places. For example, being on TikTok gives Wilson the opportunity to highlight how the served® product works, “My husband’s new favorite party trick, is to turn the pitcher upside down when it is full of cold water to prove that it doesn’t spill!”
Granchamps is working on expanding into retail outlets and exploring unique sales channels like distribution into cruise ships. No matter where Granchamps’ company expands, she is confident in her product. “I feel like that’s one of the advantages of my business, is that I’ve been agile from the very beginning. I’ve always live market-tested my products, and then reiterated on them based on customer feedback. I know my products really well and I’m excited to share them with the world.”
To access GS1 US’ free digital tools, visit:
4 Ways to Win Online Sales: https://www.smallbusinessdigitalalliance.com/tool/four-ways-to-win-with-online-sales/
Small and Microbusiness Roundtable Whitepaper: https://www.smallbusinessdigitalalliance.com/tool/small-and-microbusiness-roundtable-whitepaper/
Barcode Estimator: https://www.smallbusinessdigitalalliance.com/tool/barcode-estimator/