DMT Beauty Transformation: Meet The Women Dominating The Wellness World
featured Khareem Sudlow

Meet The Women Dominating The Wellness World

March 08, 2020DMT Beauty

#DMTBeautySpot #beauty

Women dominate the wellness industry, asserts Beth McGroarty, director of research at the Global Wellness Institute. “Not only are women large consumers in the world of wellness, but this has been one of the industries that has the most female CEOs and founders,” she says.

The proof is in the chia seed pudding. Women are starting a slew of new businesses, according to a 2017 report by American Express, and a good chunk of those are in the wellness sector, which GWI say is a $4.2 trillion industry.

"You’d be hard-pressed to name another multi-trillion-dollar industry where women represent the 'majority shareholders,' comprising most of the inventors, entrepreneurs, and practitioners — whether in fitness, mind-body, spa, wellness travel, or as HR leaders running workplace wellness programs," the GWI stated in their 2018 trends report. "At the invite-only 2017 Global Wellness Summit for the world’s top wellness leaders, 56% of the delegates were women," the report continued.

The fact is, women have long been change-makers in the world of health. And unfortunately, much of their involvement has been borne by need. “Feminists started the first wellness clinics to make up for the lack of sexual education and information about women’s bodies.” McGroarty says as an example.

Today, women still report feeling ignored or misunderstood by doctors and the medical establishment. The gender pain gap is still prevalent. And it may be part of the reason so many have taken their wellbeing into their own hands and started health-related companies.

The wellness industry spans a wide range of products and experiences — everything from FemTech to athleisure to functional food to travel services. And people who identify as women have their hand in every nook and cranny of the sector. It's impossible to call out every woman-led organization that's doing amazing things in this space. But we did our best, naming a few standouts that you need in your life right now.

Black Girl In Om

Lauren Ash founded Black Girl In Om, a holistic wellness platform that focuses in on women of color. Ash hosts a podcast and runs a blog, but has also created a series of guided meditations and runs mindfulness retreats for her fans.

Ash created her brand to fill a gap she was seeing in the mental and spiritual wellness space. "I created Black Girl In Om because I needed it," Ash tells Refinery29. "I couldn't find or identify a space that provided the kinds of experiences, conversations, and resources that I needed as a Black woman on my healing journey and as a Black woman wellness practitioner."

In Black Girl In Om, she's created a safe space for people of color to learn about and practice mindfulness, self-empowering, and self-care.

Moon Juice 

Every wellness connoisseur I know is obsessed with the plant-based remedies from this natural brand. They sell functional powders, pills, skincare, and snacks. My fave? The SuperYou capsules, a blend of “adaptogenic herbs” that I'm convinced make me less stressed. 

"I created Moon Juice for people interested in a new way of living," founder Amanda Chantal Bacon previously told Byrdie. "Not in a way where you have to erase your past, but in a way fueled by excitement to help yourself live better. I wanted to bridge the gap between the healing world with the foodie world as I had done for myself. Since then, we've become a beacon to a community."

Glamourina 

This activewear brand makes workout clothes with women of color in mind.

"As women of color, we felt highly underrepresented in the activewear market," says Nekol Gaskins, one of the owners. "In 2016 when we started designing activewear, we almost never saw women that looked like us in big-name ads."

"Our mission is to inspire and motivate women of color," adds Kia Phillips, another owner. "By providing culturally inspired activewear (sizes XS-3XL) and showcasing women of color in all shapes and sizes, we hope to accomplish this mission."

MA Warrior Challenge

If you don’t follow Massy Arias on Instagram yet, consider starting. The health coach has 30- and 60-day challenges you can opt into for $2 a day. Each one sets you up with recipes, workouts, and training demos — and you'll be able to connect to a community of “warriors” who are going through the same program. 

Arias created the Warrior Challenge to shift women's focus from "lose weight" to "get stronger." “When I was in [bodybuilding] competitions several years ago, women would go into restrictive diets to achieve a certain goal, but in the process they would be hindering their health and would do various types of yo-yo dieting,” Arias tells Refinery29. “It wouldn’t teach them a system to be sustainable for a lifetime, and I wanted to change this.”

Blk + Grn

This marketplace is like an all-natural version of Sephora. Founded by Dr. Kristian Henderson, it helps people of color find non-toxic, quality-tested health, home, beauty, and feminine-care products.

Plus, all the brands featured on the website are owned or run by Black artisans — and are selected by Black health experts. 

Sweaty Betty

This stylish brand was co-founded by Tamara Hill-Norton. She created the line in 1998 because she thought most women's activewear on the market was "dark and boring" or "shapeless," and she wanted options that made women feel "beautiful and powerful."

Twenty-two years on, Sweaty Betty's all-female design team still works to fulfill that mission. And they use eco-friendly fabrics where they can. For example, their Super Sculpt leggings are made with 17 plastic PET bottles per pair.

Mahmee 

Co-founded by Melissa Hanna, Linda Hanna, and Sunny Walia, this L.A.-based startup assists parents who are navigating maternal and infant healthcare. It's meant to help connect all the professionals who play a role in caring for mother and baby — physicians, yes, but also nurses, lactation consultants, midwives, therapists, and more.

"[The maternity healthcare] industry is lacking the IT infrastructure needed to connect these professionals, and to monitor patients across practices and health systems," Hanna told Forbes. "This creates gaps in care. Mahmee is the glue.”

Kaike 

Before you ask: It’s pronounced “cake.” Keli Smith founded the brand in 2015, with the goal of creating products that could deal with issues unique to "melanated skin." The products contain minimal ingredient lists and many are vegan, organic, or preservative-free — creating a “skincare routine that's as easy as a piece of cake.”

Plenty of their products have developed cult followings already, including their multi-purpose Frosting, which can be used to add moisture to hair, skin, and lips, and the indulgent Sugar Scrub, which contains vanilla and avocado oil.

Fitness Empire 

This company started out as trainer Heather Wilson-Phillips’ side hustle, but grew to be a burgeoning business in Toronto where fitness fans go to stream workouts and get training programs. You can buy packages of "workout challenges" that include fitness calendars, demonstration videos, and meal plans.

Ritual

The CEO and founder of the vitamin brand, Katerina Schneider, created the company with transparency in mind. And no, we don't just mean the vitamins are clear-colored (although they are). She built Ritual with the first visible supply-chain of its kind, which shares the science, sourcing, and suppliers for each ingredient (Omega-3, Iron, and Iodine, to name a few).

305 Fitness

You'll be doing jazz squares in your sleep after a few sessions of this high-energy, dance-cardio class (complete with pink walls and fun lights). It was founded by Sadie Kurzban, who told Forbes that some investors have taken her less seriously, in part because she's a woman. "I believe that my gender and age (and the fact that I'm petite, look even younger than I am and am attractive) have all played a role in investors scrutinizing 305 as an investment a lot more than they would have if a man were sitting across the table," she said.

But being a woman allowed her to create the empowering ethos that's unique to the workout class. "At 305, we say: you don’t need to change," Kurzban told Forbes. 'You are perfect, just as you are. We are dancing away the anxiety, the depression, the endless cycle of self-consciousness and guilt. And we are saying, 'You are enough!'"

Mab & Stoke

Pop one of these "herbal super tabs" into a hot drink to feel the effects of ingredients such as chamomile and Asian ginseng. Christina Mace-Turner, the founder and CEO, says her favorite ritual is drinking the dissolvable blends with a large glass of water, a squeeze of lime, and a little stevia, which she says helps her battle colds and stress.

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

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Molly Longman, Khareem Sudlow

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