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My favorite thing about women entrepreneurs is that they're usually using their business and talents to change the world for the better, in some way.
Below is a roundup of five women who are a true force for nature. These women are shaking things up in ways big and small, and revolutionizing our everyday approaches to sustainability through innovation — and sheer determination.
1. Lindsay Rose Medoff: Founder, CEO, and Lead DesignerSUAY LA / SUAY Sew Shop
Suay LA’s Monthly Community Dye Bath
Lindsay Rose Medoff has set out to change the garment industry to eliminate the devastating waste of fast fashion and to improve working conditions — and she’s doing it. Since founding Suay LA in 2017, she and her team of 30 in Northeast LA have diverted 250,000+ lbs of garments from landfills, launched the nationwide textile donation recycling program, advocated for workers’ rights and wages, fed garment workers during the pandemic, and crafted new pieces from a mix of post-consumer waste, deadstock fabric, and domestically, organically grown fibers in their 100% vertical sewing and production shop and retail space.
Suay is also home to Suay LA’s Monthly Community Dye Bath. Have clothes with stains? How about dingy whites? Or maybe you just need a change? There’s a dye bath for that. Every month, Suay LA offers over-dyeing (what it sounds like: Dying over an existing textile) in three custom dip-dye shades, so you’re bound to find a color (or many) to fall in love with. There’s also often a tie dye option too.
Not local to LA? Not a problem! You can mail your items in, too. Genius, we know.
Get your over-dye game on with the Community Dye Bath to give new life to well-loved threads, and remember Medoff’s advice: “Know your grower, know your sew-er.”
2. Franziska Trautmann: Founder & Co-Director
We’re not going to lie, we found and fell in love with Trautmann and Glass Half-Full on TikTok, and appropriately so. Trautmann founded this game-changing glass recycling operation just a couple years ago, while still finishing her Chemical Engineering degree at Tulane University.
Yes, you read that right—this powerful woman is saving the planet by recycling glass. Did you know that sand is still extracted from the natural world (we’re talking dredging and mining), and that it’s being done so at such a rate that we’re facing a global sand shortage? Neither did we.
These brilliant young people are addressing the sand crisis and solving a problem with the same solution: Recycling and grinding glass. Before Glass Half-Full came along, New Orleans didn’t have glass recycling. Trautmann began the grassroots operation in a backyard (literally), and now recycle NOLA’s bountiful used glass into sand and glass cullet for disaster relief and prevention, coastal restoration, eco-construction, new glass products, and more.
Even better, Trautmann and Glass Half-Full are saving the planet by turning trash into treasure within a viable business model; the raw materials (used glass) is free, and sales for the resulting sand pays for the operation. Plus, diverting all that glass from the landfill saves NOLA money. Sustainability can be good business too.
3. Lily Fulop: AuthorWear, Repair, Repurpose // @mindful_mending
Author and maker extraordinaire, Lily Fulop, is out here sharing her brilliance to help us reduce fast fashion waste one closet at a time. Her book, Wear, Repair, Repurpose: A Maker's Guide to Mending and Upcycling Clothes, and Instagram account offer step-by-step visuals for mending the ripped and torn, transforming well-loved pieces into something new, or upcycling textiles beyond repair into something else useful and beautiful (think braided rugs and crocheted pillows).
Lily inspires each of us to skip the bin and mend what’s broken, and teaches us to do it in style. Get out your needles and thread!
4. Brianne West: FounderEthique
Brianne West is one of the “original” sustainable beauty innovators. When she started shampoo-and-beauty-bar company Ethique (then called “Sorbet”) as a cash-strapped university student in her New Zealand kitchen in 2012, you couldn’t find shampoo bars anywhere—let alone a pH-balanced, waterless shampoo one like the product she pioneered.
Now a decade in, Brianne’s Ethique is a thriving company, ridding bathrooms all over the world of unnecessary plastic packaging with products for hair, face, body, and home. Ethique’s expanding line of waterless personal care and household products are vegan, 100% plastic free, palm oil free, and made with direct-trade ingredients. Even better, the boxes the bars come in are regular paperboard, and recyclable or compostable (no need for access to municipal composting service!).
5. Maggie Pate: Ownerhttps://www.nade-studio.com/
Maggie Pate is the creative force behind the beautiful intersection of art, sustainability, and usefulness that is Nade Studio. Pate makes Nade’s naturally-dyed items using predominantly food waste from local restaurants, floral waste from farmers and florists, and foraged plants. Browse brilliantly dyed pieces in wearables, wall art, home goods, natural pigment watercolors, parceled dye kits, and more. You can also learn to naturally dye yourself from her published book (The Natural Colors Cookbook) or range of e-courses.
Every day, we’re inspired by women pushing sustainability and reconnection with the Earth. Thank you to the above five for helping to change our world for the better.