Exporting your products globally is difficult enough without having to smash through the glass ceiling.
We found 10 amazing success stories of women who did just that. From dog bowls to health supplements to hand-cooked crisps to smart homes, the stories of these amazing businesswomen will inspire you to get up and go.
This article at a glance
Women-owned exporting businesses deserve a spotlight of their own. This article covers 10 exporting businesses started by women. Be inspired.
Fabraco builds smart homes within weeks, with a focus on sustainable and innovative design. The company was founded by Mairead Mackle, a mother of 7 children and a multi-award-winning entrepreneur. Fabraco aims to take on homelessness through its innovative smart home solution.
2. Hussain Architecture
Hussain Architecture is a multi-award-winning architectural practice founded by Saira Hussain from her childhood bedroom in her parents house. The company now has 4 offices across the UK and now exports to East Africa, South East Asia and Kuwait.
3. Botanica Health
Botanica Health is a wellbeing centre that provides consultations in everything from herbal medicineand acupuncture to nutritional therapy and beauty treatments. It was founded by sisters Naomi and Sophie, who used to go on herb-picking excursions with their father, concocting hay fever medicine from eyebright plants growing along coastal paths.
Botanica Health was so successful in the United Kingdom (UK) that they started selling abroad, with sales continuing to see growth. Now they export to countries including Italy, Spain, and Croatia.
4. Kent Crisps
Kent Crisps is an award-winning crisp brand founded by Laura Bounds that creates traditional hand-cooked British crisps. This writer can confirm how tasty they are.
The opportunity to export came in 2013 after Kent Crisps got a lead from an Italian pub group. Since then, they’ve been exporting most of their product range – even as far as the Middle East and Japan. Naturally, Laura Bounds was awarded an MBE for her significant contributions to British trade overseas.
Papersmiths has a curious founding story. Sidonie Warren and Kyle Clarke moved to a new design studio that happened to have a store front – they saw the opportunity and took it, and thus a stationery shop was born.
They started exporting in 2013, opening their first online shop and selling stationery overseas. Now papersmiths exports all over the world.
6. Amethyst Technologies
Amethyst Technologies provides compliance and development services. Since its founding in 2006 by Kimberly Brown, it has exported to regions all through Africa and the company’s rosta has grown from 2 employees to over 40.
7. Lowcountry Pet Specialties’
Lowcountry Pet Specialties’ was founded by Laurie Hagerman and her husband, John. They would take their Border Collie out for walks but never took a dog bowl along as it was too difficult to carry. They created the Mobowl, a travel pet food and water bowl.
Since then they have exported to Austria and generated $75,000, preventing a lay-off and protecting local jobs.
SpectraSpray is an oral spray vitamin that aims to help people sleep better. Founded by Janet Ryan, who represented genetic labs and supplement lines. After speaking to a Naturopathic doctor who introduced Spray Vitamins to her, she spent years researching. By 2021, the company successfully exported to the Ukrainian market, and has also appointed a distributor in Singapore.
9. Zephyr International
Zephyr International is a manufacturer of safety products – specifically, for helicopter rescue hoist users. Founded by Elizabeth Beilsa-Mitchell, they now export this innovative technology to Germany.
KeepCup is a reusable cup company founded by Abigail Forsyth and her brother Jamie. After running a cafe in Melbourne, they noticed the needless waste caused by disposable cups. And so KeepCup was born.
The first was sold in 2009. And having been involved in the World Barista Championships, they found an overseas market and began exporting to the UK in 2012. Now it’s a global phenomenon.
Removing gender from the exporting equation
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Author: Melissa Yeo
Illustration: Kate Faldina