Milk's 2018 Female Founder Holiday Gift Guide

#ShopFemale this holiday season with this female founder gift guide.

Milk's 2018 Female Founder Holiday Gift Guide

Welcome to the third annual Milk Holiday Gift Guide. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to #shopfemale this holiday season. From innovative fashion brands desiging jackets bras and bags for real women to menstrual and lactation support products, we have found a diverse mix of products made for and by women.

We asked each female founder to share a bit about her company and her story with us. These women are building the world they want to live in.

(P.S. Meet some of these women in person at Womyn, our holiday pop up in New York City on Dec. 15th. Scroll to the bottom for more details)



Feminist Speakeasy is... an intersectional gift shop, pop-up shop, and hideaway for people in desperate need of a hideaway from the patriarchy. It was founded on International Women's Day (March 8, 2018) as a way to channel outrage at sexism, Trump’s America, and Britain’s Brexit into something positive.

What do you do differently at your company?
I run one of many feminist gift shops, but this one globally helps bridge the wage gap and it's intersectional. Every purchase supports multiple woman-owned businesses. At Feminist Speakeasy we believe that real change can only happen when we all come together to dismantle racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, transphobia, ableism, and classism. The products we offer, the events we host, and the conversations we lead online are indicative of the spirit of inclusion and people want to be part of that resisterhood.


Clay & Brass is... a ceramic jewelry company that aims to create modern accent pieces using traditional materials.

Describe the moment when you decided to start your business.
Although much of the idea to make jewelry has been evolving over the past four years, I can pinpoint one moment things were coming together and I needed to start a shop. About a year ago I spent some time in meditation at a retreat. I can remember at the end of a couple hours of meditating, I had this strong conviction to create an Etsy shop. It was strange because I hadn't gone on the retreat with any goals to think about my work: if anything it was to take a break from producing. Although I was surprised by what felt like a thought that came out of nowhere, I began to see this was forming much longer than I realized. After trusting my instinct and creating a shop it's been exciting to see a steady and natural growth of the business.


At Aruku, our mission is to make women’s lives beautifully practical, by combining style and functionality to create bags that suit the needs of women today. We’ve recently launched our leather backpack which is beautifully designed both inside and out, with style, comfort and practicality in mind. With padded laptop and tablet sleeves, an easy access phone pocket and a spacious interior, as well as a key holder and comfortable padded straps, our backpacks are the one bag you need to see you through your day.

Our bags are designed in London and handmade in the same factory as one of the world's most well-known luxury brands, but we only sell direct to our customers so we can provide a more affordable approach to luxury.

Describe the moment when you decided to start your business?
I was trying to find a bag that was both beautiful and practical, allowing me to carry everything I needed for my day, but that was also affordable. The products already on the market only seemed to deliver on one of these benefits. So I decided to create a company where style and beauty combines with practicality to make women’s lives a little easier. We believe in creating beautiful, luxury products that meet the needs of our consumers every day.


BIKO is... a ʻmodern nostalgicʼ jewelry brand. Each piece is conceptualized and hand-crafted with love by a small team in Toronto, led by founder and designer Corrine Anestopoulos.

BIKO's collection is inspired by contemporary design, global curiosities and nature's delicate forms; a celebration of the playful patterns in the world around us. With hand-cast pendants, natural stones, and sleek mixed metals, Corrine creates a refined, modern silhouette. Each element is infused with a high level of craftsmanship, luxe materials and a signature design aesthetic.

Describe the moment when you decided to start your business:
I had been making jewelry for fun while in University, and loved to wear my pieces to school and out with friends. I quickly became obsessed with creating new styles, and girls began asking if they could purchase them. I applied to a local craft show to see if I could sell some pieces. Low and behold, I sold out of all my designs within a few hours! It hit me then and there that I could build on this, and I thought to myself: "I have a business here."


LESH is... a line of hand-woven jewelry created by photographer turned fiber-artist Summer Moore. Combining unique color palettes and patterns, each piece is handwoven in Brooklyn using cotton fibers, recycled thread, and hand-dyed cord.

When did I decide to start my business:
I knew I wanted to start a small business since I was young, I just wasn't sure what it'd be. I started weaving after an inspiring trip to Peru in 2010, and a few years later I took part in an artist residency in Cappadocia, Turkey where I focused on the woven jewelry ideas I'd had. Having that dedicated creative time in the studio made me want to create that back home in Brooklyn, and once I found my studio there, the business soon followed.


Silk diaries are.. one-of-a-kind silk scarves and silk scrunchies.

Describe the moment when you decided to start your business:
When I graduated college and started my first full time job as a visual designer, I was struggling with my self-confidence, fear and anxiety due to Imposter Syndrome, which is a psychological pattern where you consistently doubt your own accomplishments. Typically, I'm a happy-go-lucky kind of gal, but I couldn't kick the anxiety that I felt in a corporate environment. Extremely fed up, I started to observe my past behaviors and what helped me cope. I knew I wanted to tap back into the creative, expressive side of myself and I knew I needed a form of comfort in my times of panic. That's when I was inspired by the silk trim of my blanket as a child, I used to rub it on my face at night to fall asleep. Soon after, I found myself in the midst of Silk Diaries creating botanically dyed silk products that shine light on the issues women face in the workplace.


MILLENNY is... Created for the female force that’s driving us forward and changing what it means to be a woman in the 21st century, MILLENNY supports the female go-getter, the entrepreneur and the bold and brave woman worldwide.

Founders and fearless friends Yulia and Olya are the driving force behind MILLENNY. Setting out to create a brand that empowers women and supports their busy modern day lifestyle, the pair launched MILLENNY with their much-anticipated debut 3-in-1 BRERA Work Tote.

What power did you discover you had as an entrepreneur that you didn't know you had before?
At the beginning of our entrepreneurial journey, like any startup, we had little knowledge of what kind of obstacles and troubles we would have to face on our way. And now we can say that the experience of getting through them and learning how to avoid them in the future is priceless.

The power that we discovered, even though our journey just started, is that we have the ability to share our knowledge, our experiences with so many other female entrepreneurs. Help them get through their obstacles.

Each journey is different, but our actions can inspire, our stories can empower and the most important - support can help us overcome any fears.



Bootsy Health is... about empowering people to take control and learn about their hormonal and menstrual health with the same passion and interest we do fitness, nutrition or beauty. We want to create a positive global understanding of menstrual and hormonal health so use our cycle as our strength, and not a perceived weakness.

Our flagship product is a Hormone Balancing Elixir, supporting hormonal equilibrium for women and people with a uterus, so we can all feel empowered every damn day of the month. Our plant-based liquid formula combats absent or irregular cycles, period pain, PMS, PMDD and menstrual acne.

Describe the moment when you decided to start your business:
The moment I began Bootsy Health, I remember feeling exhilarated and excited, but very nervous. The self doubt was very real - would I really be able to put something out into the world that was such a personal reflection of me and my values? What if I failed, or even, what if it succeeded? Am I really ready to be a public advocate for menstrual health? But I felt so passionate about the purpose of Bootsy Health - creating a positive global framework around menstrual and hormonal health - that I felt compelled to move forward and face my fears. While we are still very much a small, growing business, I am so grateful that I had the support network to take that leap of faith.


Savorista Decaf Coffee is... a craft decaf coffee company, born when Kait, the Founder, gave up caffeine because she was struggling to sleep. She quickly was quickly disappointed with the available decaf options. So she traveled the world on a quest for decaf worth sharing and Savorista was born!

What do you do differently at your company?
At Savorista, we start with joy. Central to our mission is to create joy for all of our stakeholders, our customers, our employees/consultants, our suppliers and our other partners. We ask our customers what about your experience with Savorista brought you joy? And what didn't bring you joy. We ask those same questions to our key partners and suppliers. And we also do random acts of joy to brighten the day of our stakeholders."Joy" is a really high bar to set, and we embrace that challenge.


MilkBliss provides... lactation goodies to support a healthy breastfeeding journey for nursing moms. Our soft-baked cookies and protein-packed overnight oats are a healthy and delicious way to indulge!

What power did you discover you had as an entrepreneur that you didn't know you had before?
Definitely the power of resilience. We've been hit with so many curveballs and so many things we didn't expect that make us keep having to regroup - and we do! As an entrepreneur, you try to plan for the things ahead but there's always so much to learn. We've learned to be resilient no matter what comes our way and make everything a positive teaching moment.


Tampon Tribe is.. an awesome totally organic feminine hygiene company created by women for all women. You can create your own product mix and we deliver to your door, every month, so you never run out. Our products are all certified organic, completely plastic free and affordable.

The moment when you decided to start your business
When Gaby and I heard about a cool subscription concept for men, we realised that there were very few available for women. We also noticed a huge gap in the market in terms of organic feminine hygiene that was affordable and accessible to all women - plus none that had completely plastic free intentions and a heavily-stacked impact model. We created a very brand driven company that is full of love - our products are awesomely-organic, completely plastic free, and our subscriptions are totally customizable. We think about our footprint every step of the way - our passion is to make fabulous products that work, love bodies and also honor our Earth and give back to underserved communities.



Our mission at Wildling is ... to empower women to rediscover and embody their inherent natural beauty. Instead of offering quick, artificial fixes, we use simple, Earth-based ingredients and time-tested beauty rituals that really work.

Describe the moment when you decided to start your business:
We had a conversation about how the beauty industry largely disempowers women by making them feel they aren't enough. We knew we needed to start Wildling, not only because the products work, but because it's a revolutionary act to empower women with simple tools that deliver holistic, effective results. We also wanted to share the message that true beauty starts with health, which is why our products also enhance your overall well being.



Matriarch is.. a small, sister-led and gender-universal footwear brand. We offer a sustainable leather luxury footwear collection in the full size range- this means that all our styles come in all sizes. There are tons of folks out there for whom the strict binary ("mens" or "womens" options only) in mainstream fashion simply isn't relevant. We make beautiful, sustainable shoes for people who can see beyond this binary and who want to make a statement with their footwear.

Describe the moment when you decided to start your business:
After helping another entrepreneur design and develop a small footwear collection with a factory contact he had in Italy, I realized that I had everything I needed to do the same, except making the kind of shoes I wanted to make. I'm a visual, tactile person and experiential learner: when I see that/how something seemingly complex is possible, I can then grasp what bigger possibilites are out there.


Pepper is... the first body positive bra company for small-chested women. The All You Bra was specially designed to fit AA, A and B cups to finally get rid of awkward cup gaps and heavy push up padding.

Describe the moment when you decided to start your business
Pepper was born from a Kickstarter campaign that was 470% funded in 2017. We knew the world needed a brand like Pepper to help redefine body standards when thousands of women started sharing their stories about how ill-fitting bras impacted their confidence and body image. We were 100% funded in the first 10 hours of the campaign!


The Pajama Company was founded... with a simple premise in mind. Life is good when you’re wearing your favorite pajamas! We offer a variety of pajama sets and separates for men, women, and families. We are thrilled to launch our new Daisy Alexander collection in a beautiful cotton with fresh happy prints in classic pajama sets, nightshirt and pants.

Describe the moment when you decided to start your business
I started my career out of college working as a retail buyer in the dress market. I loved the buzz of life in a department store, in the garment center, in the fashion biz. In my late 20's I left the business and moved to Europe with my husband to start a new adventure. There I would stay, raising three kids and finding new passions and involvements for the next 15 years. While my life evolved, that surge of addreniline when I walked into a department store, never dimmed. The sights, sounds, scents of retail always excited me, especially around the holidays. We moved back to America in 2004. I had an idea. At that moment my long passion for fashion combined with my newly aquired passion for technology and my long held passion for lounging intertwined and launched in the spring of 2005.

The journey as an online retailer has been exciting and stressful, energizing and exhausting, happy and pensive. Through it all, the opportunity to be creative, to sell something I love, to expand the brand across social media networks has been a dream. What a treat to interact with customers from around the world and to see our pajamas truly making people happy season after season.


Argent is... a woman-owned and run San Francisco-based maker of fashion-forward and functional workwear for women launched in 2016. Argent aims to fill a gap in women’s work attire and visually inspire women to be bold, break the rules and take their seat at the table.

What do you do differently at your company?
Argent is introducing functionality into women's workwear which is something that has traditionally been left out. From our technical fabrics to our interior credit card pockets, all of our garments are created to be functional. All of our blazers are equipped with pockets - exterior pockets, a catch-all pocket, media pocket and stylus/pen slots. Our button-downs feature our signature Smart Cuff to keep sleeves in place and our trousers come with a loop for a corporate ID badge and a hidden credit card pocket. We also have a fully reversible program and a jumpsuit that allows for easy restroom trips.



Hartford Prints! is... an urban goods brand that is all about handmade and homegrown love. Addy (Older Sister), Callie (Middle Sister), and Rory (Younger Sister) joined forces in 2012 to create letterpress stationery that is modern and fun. Hartford Prints!’s designs are always a collaboration over many iced coffees and multiple inspiration boards. We use the humor that our mom gave us and our dad’s attention to detail to bring our stationery and designs to life, blending illustration, bold color, and modern graphics. We print everything by hand in our studio on our trusty Vandercook 4T and spend countless hours making buttons, lining envelopes, and telling stories. We love seeing our work in action and hope it inspires people to get a pen, lick an envelope, and know their local mailbox!

What do you do differently at your company?
Embracing the idea that a company can both make and do good things, we opened our flagship store in downtown Hartford in 2013 and the Hartford Prints! brand was born. Retail with real purpose, Hartford Prints! offers letterpress stationery, urban streetwear, and locally-sourced goods. We continue to be an active retail space, using the power of our press to create positive vibes about our local community.


The Rare Device storefront is... filled with lovely, approachably designed items for your home, yourself, and your family and friends. Every object in the store has its own story and has been chosen because it is either handmade, well-designed, useful, beautiful or all of the above. The aesthetic is modern and fun while remaining warm and inviting.

Describe your leadership style:
We have a wonderful staff of 10 and I have intentionally been learning and growing as a leader in the last few years. I value my entire staff's growth, I believe that if all of us are growing, then the company also grows so it's a win-win for everyone. As a leader, I am a direct, honest and compassionate communicator, I am a good listener and a role model. I see the potential in each person on my team and foster a company culture where they can excel here and beyond.


Burke Mercantile is... a modern, unisex lifestyle shop with a design focused and eco-conscious sensibility. Things for people, simple as that. In our effort to give back to the community, we donate 5% of all net profits each quarter to rotating local and national charities.

What do you do differently at your company?
I am always looking for ways to give back whether that is financial or experiential. I like sharing education and encouraging activism, bringing a bit of politics into my retail business. Where and how you spend your money is a huge part of being an activist, so I like to incorporate that mindset into the business and help people feel good about items they are investing in by offering thoughtfully made products, and by donating ourselves! I also am constantly on the hunt for the most uniquely designed modern & contemporary goods and I especially love when every day objects are designed unexpectedly beautifully! I'm always looking to offer items that are multifunctional and that blur the lines of what is deemed appropriate or expected for a certain age or gender. Hence our motto - 'Things for people, simple as that.'


Abeego saves food by picking up where the peel leaves off. It protects and breathes like nature's peel and rind to preserve food longer than ever imagined.

What power did you discover you had as an entrepreneur that you didn't know you had before?
Tapping into a female entrepreneurial network supported a greater opening into my own power when I saw how my own contribution can change the world. We don't have to fight, struggle, prove ourselves or play small. We all have this power. Imagine the impact when we come together!


Luna + Quartz is... Handmade small batch crystal infused goods. Our mission is to create a space for all to come to, to heal, to offer knowledge, and to aid those that seek it.

Describe the moment when you decided to start your business
Starting Luna + Quartz had been a long time vision but the nudge to act on it came to me while working as a women’s fashion designer. I no longer felt at home in the hustle and bustle of the fashion industry and knew it was time to embark on a path of healing, spreading light, and opening peoples eyes to the magic that lay all around us. Somewhere I have always felt most at home my whole life.


Bespoke Glass is... a studio-based business producing stained glass for your home/life and sometimes for the places you visit.

What do you do differently at your company?
One of the things Bespoke does differently than other stained glass studios is say no a lot. I have a pretty good handle on what I do well and what other studios may be better suited for, whether those are logistical or aesthetic distinctions. For the most part, I try and keep a relatively narrow focus on the types of projects and ideas that make sense to me, utilize my particular skills, and feel like something I haven't seen before. I'm also interested in using stained glass in new ways, such as the current line of Rounds, which are pretty counterintuitive: disk-shaped pieces with no fixtures that are essentially shelf art. I'm into how minimal they are and how they change so much depending on where they sit and what sort of light passes through them. I like that my clientele seems to be open to being a little creative with how they display the things I make, and I have always tried to encourage that sort of impulse.


BTW Cermics: I hand form each piece from start to finish, never using molds, with high quality porcelain and small batch hand mixed glaze. My aim is to create modern but quirky ceramics that will seamlessly integrate into your home while adding a little pop!

What power did you discover you had as an entrepreneur that you didn't know you had before?
I think the power I discovered as a small business owner is my determination to get things done no matter the hour of the day or what obstacles pop up. I will figure out a way no matter what to make it happen, whatever it happens to be!


Chelsea Miller Knives: I make handmade culinary knives from repurposed materials. I grew up the daughter of a blacksmith in rural Vermont and my love of art, food and storytelling has lead to the crafting of these rustic, elegant, dually functional knives.

Describe the moment when you decided to start your business
I decided to start my own business when I realized I craved something of my own. My talents had been spread too thin and the process of reeling it all back was life changing.

What power did you discover you had as an entrepreneur that you didn't know you had before?
I discovered my own voice. I had been an actress for many years and only felt confident with a script to follow. Now I speak about my art and process in an authentic way and hopefully inspire others to follow their passions.


Jaclyn Frances’ Rockwater Pottery is... a small batch pottery studio whose work is inspired by the rustic farmhouses of New England where she lives. A rustic color palette of creams and browns modernize the beauty of hand hewn beams and milk paint lending her work to complement various interior spaces.

Describe the moment when you decided to start your business
After selling my first piece as Rockwater Pottery, I then realized my life changed. I was making something that a stranger would be using on a daily basis and they’d be getting joy from. It was a pretty powerful moment. Still after 4 years, it warms my heart when I hear people say that my pottery is a main part of their lives and they smile every time they use it. The ability to give that to a stranger is amazing.



Ellevate Network uses the power of community to facilitate genuine, lasting connections between you and other supportive working women. Ambitious, experienced and thoughtful, the women in our community will help you take the next step in your career -- whatever that might be. Attend an in-person event in your city, join an online Squad, and learn from the experienced and expert women here to make your next move.

If you are in New York City, join us on December 15th for a live pop up event featuring female founders, Womyn at Grand Central Atelier in LIC.
When: Saturday, December 15, 11am - 6pm
Where: Grand Central Atelier Art Gallery, Long Island City (Near MOMA PS1)
RSVP to be entered to win raffle prize from The Karcher salon.