Here’s our Take..

5 Empowering Success Stories of Women-Owned Businesses

As a female entrepreneur, you probably get a lot of conflicting information about how you “should” act. Is it OK to be assertive? Or will that make people not like you? Is it OK to be kind, or does that mean people will take advantage of you?

Introduction & Inspiration from Women-Owned Businesses Success Stories

Here at She Reigns Creative, we truly believe in the power of impactful stories. Encouragingly, there has been an exhilarating rise in women-owned businesses that are heavily transforming the business landscape. The women at the helm of these businesses are shattering barriers and driving innovation, leaving indelible marks on their respective industries. More and more, we’re seeing awe-inspiring success stories of resilient women entrepreneurs – stories that deserve to be told and celebrated.

Our expert, Steve Andrews, has been closely observing this fascinating shift. Steve notes, “The rise of women in entrepreneurship and business leadership is indeed opening new potential and opportunities. These success stories prove that with determination and resilience, anyone can disrupt industries and redefine norms.”

In this article, we shed light on five unique women-owned businesses success stories that offer a wellspring of inspiration as well as practical strategies to aspiring entrepreneurs. Let these narratives of overcoming challenges and breaking down walls guide and inspire you on your entrepreneurial journey.

Interesting snapshot:

  • 42% of businesses in the United States are now owned by women.
  • Women-owned businesses employ 9.4 million workers and generate $1.9 trillion in revenue.
  • Startups co-founded by women tend to generate more revenue (78 cents for every dollar) compared to male-founded startups.

Stay tuned as we delve deeper and uncover the journeys of these powerhouses, the trials they faced, the pinnacles they reached, and the lessons they gathered along their way.

Success Story 1: Madam C.J. Walker

Background and challenges faced

Our journey through women-owned businesses success stories begins with the remarkable story of Madam C.J. Walker. Born as Sarah Breedlove in 1867, she faced significant challenges as a black woman in the early 20th century. Despite systemic barriers and discrimination, Walker’s unwavering determination and entrepreneurial spirit led her to become the first self-made female millionaire in the United States.

Achievements and impact on the beauty industry

Madam C.J. Walker revolutionized the beauty industry by creating a line of hair care products specifically designed for black women. Her products were not only effective but also empowered black women to embrace their natural hair and take pride in their appearance. Through her keen sense of marketing and business understanding, she built a vast network of sales agents, helping her products reach a wider audience. Her hard work and determination led her to build an empire that generated wealth for herself and provided economic opportunities for thousands of other black women.

Key strategies and lessons learned

Madam C.J. Walker’s success story highlights the importance of perseverance, even in the face of significant challenges. From her, we learn the power of understanding your target market and designing products that cater specifically to their needs. Her innovative approach to marketing her products through a network of sales agents demonstrates the importance of distribution in achieving business success.

Her story also underscores the importance of using business success for broader social impact. Madam C.J. Walker used her wealth and influence to support various philanthropic causes, including funding scholarships for black students and supporting the NAACP. She serves as an inspiration for entrepreneurs, especially women and people of color, who continue to face systemic barriers in the business world today.

At She Reigns Creative, we believe in the power of stories like Madam C.J. Walker’s to inspire and empower budding female entrepreneurs. As our expert Steve Andrews often says, “Success stories of women entrepreneurs are not just about celebrating their achievements. They also provide valuable lessons and strategies for those who aspire to make their mark in the business world.”

Stay tuned as we explore more empowering stories of women-owned businesses.

Success Story 2: Mary Kay Ash

Background and Challenges Faced

In the world of cosmetics, few names are as iconic as Mary Kay Ash. However, her journey to establish one of the most successful women-owned businesses was not without hurdles. As a woman in the early 1960s, she faced significant discrimination and systemic barriers in the male-dominated business world. Despite these challenges, her unstoppable spirit and innovative mindset turned adversities into opportunities.

Achievements and Impact on the Cosmetics Industry

Mary Kay Ash founded Mary Kay Cosmetics in 1963 with a humble investment of $5,000. Her vision was to create a business that would empower women, and she did just that. Today, Mary Kay Cosmetics is a global brand with millions of beauty consultants across the world, thanks to Ash’s remarkable leadership and her philosophy of putting people first.

Ash’s business model provided women with opportunities for financial independence and personal growth, positively impacting the lives of countless women around the globe. Mary Kay Ash received numerous awards in her lifetime, including the Horatio Alger Award, highlighting her success in overcoming adversity and achieving significant success. Her legacy continues to inspire women worldwide to pursue their dreams and make a difference in their communities.

Key Strategies and Lessons Learned

Mary Kay Ash’s success can be attributed to her innovative approach and dedication to empowering women. She recognized the importance of celebrating the achievements of others and giving back to the community. These principles were not just business strategies; they were the foundation of her brand’s identity.

Her leadership style encouraged her beauty consultants to aim for their goals, fostering a culture of mutual support and encouragement. As Steve Andrews, our expert at She Reigns Creative puts it, “Mary Kay Ash’s story teaches us that success in business does not have to come at the expense of others. Instead, it can, and should, uplift those around us.”

One of the critical lessons from Mary Kay Ash’s story is the power of persistence. Despite facing numerous challenges, she never gave up on her dream. Her story serves as a reminder to aspiring entrepreneurs that setbacks are not roadblocks; they are stepping stones towards success.

Mary Kay Ash - women-owned businesses success stories

In conclusion, Mary Kay Ash’s journey is an inspiring testament to the power of determination, innovation, and a people-first approach. Her story underscores the importance of staying true to your brand values and putting people at the heart of your business. It is these values that have made Mary Kay Cosmetics one of the most impactful women-owned businesses success stories in history.

Success Story 3: Sara Blakely

Sara Blakely - women-owned businesses success stories

Background and Challenges Faced

Meet Sara Blakely, an entrepreneur who, like many of us, faced several hurdles before finding her path to success. She aspired to be an attorney, but after failing her LSAT exams twice, she found herself in a series of jobs that didn’t fulfill her. Yet, she didn’t give up. She knew she had a knack for sales and believed she could do wonders if she sold something she created and cared about. She was right.

Achievements and Impact with Spanx

One evening, getting ready for a party, Blakely cut the feet off her pantyhose out of frustration with her outfit. That’s when she noticed that the control top created a smooth line under her clothes, giving birth to the idea for Spanx, a brand that has since transformed women’s undergarments.

Over the next few years, Blakely worked tirelessly, traveling, pitching her idea, and looking for the perfect supplier. Her perseverance paid off when she landed a meeting with the luxury department store chain, Neiman Marcus, and secured a deal. Soon, other major retailers like Saks, Bloomingdales, and Bergdorf Goodman started carrying her brand. From there, her business took off, with Spanx being named one of Oprah Winfrey’s Favorite Things in 2000 and Forbes declaring her the world’s youngest self-made billionaire in 2012.

Sara Blakely’s journey from a small startup to a billion-dollar empire is an inspiring example of how determination, creativity, and a belief in oneself can lead to success. Her story has had a significant impact on the fashion industry, inspiring women worldwide to feel confident in their own skin.

Key Strategies and Lessons Learned

Blakely attributes her success to her father’s teachings to experiment and not fear failure. She also emphasizes the importance of seeing obstacles as opportunities. “With every obstacle that has happened to me in my life, my brain immediately says, ‘Where is the hidden blessing?’ In starting a business and growing a business, every day is learning how to manage obstacles,” Sara Blakely asserts.

Her story reinforces the importance of resilience, creativity, and the determination to turn challenges into opportunities. It also highlights the value of believing in your idea and the products you create.

At She Reigns Creative, we believe in the power of such women-owned businesses success stories. They serve as a testament to the power of resilience and creativity, highlighting the importance of self-belief in the face of adversity. Blakely’s story is a powerful reminder that every challenge is a hidden opportunity waiting to be discovered.

Success Story 4: Whitney Wolfe Herd

Background and challenges faced

The tech industry has historically been male-dominated, making it a challenging environment for women to break into and thrive. This is the backdrop against which Whitney Wolfe Herd, a young entrepreneur, found herself when she co-founded Tinder, the popular dating app. However, her journey wasn’t without obstacles. After leaving Tinder due to a challenging working environment, she faced the daunting task of starting a new venture in a competitive space.

Achievements and impact with Bumble

Undeterred by the challenges, Whitney Wolfe Herd started Bumble, a dating app with a twist. In a bold move to empower women, Bumble is designed so that women are the ones to initiate conversations in heterosexual matches. This innovative approach has not only disrupted the online dating industry but also resonated with millions of users globally. Today, Bumble is a household name, valued at over $8 billion, and Whitney has been recognized as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2018 and Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in 2017 and 2018.

Key strategies and lessons learned

One of the key factors to Whitney’s success is her commitment to social responsibility. She has used her platform to advocate for gender equality and women’s rights, and has worked tirelessly to ensure Bumble’s workplace culture is inclusive and supportive. This strategy has not only elevated her company’s reputation but has also set a new standard for workplace culture in the tech industry.

Furthermore, Whitney demonstrated that success in business is not just about having a great idea, but also about how you execute it. She understood her target audience and developed a product that not only met their needs but also aligned with their values.

At She Reigns Creative, we believe Whitney’s story underlines a fundamental truth about entrepreneurship: success is not determined by the industry you’re in or the challenges you face, but by your ability to innovate, stay resilient, and stay true to your values. Her story is a powerful addition to the growing list of women-owned businesses success stories, reminding us that with determination and a clear vision, you can not only create a successful business but also make a positive impact on society.

In the next section, we move from the tech industry to the media empire as we explore the success story of the iconic Oprah Winfrey.

Success Story 5: Oprah Winfrey

Background and Challenges Faced

Oprah Winfrey’s story is a testament to the power of resilience and self-belief. Raised in poverty and faced with numerous personal challenges, Oprah’s journey to success was far from easy. Yet, she remained steadfast in her pursuit of her dreams and overcame obstacles that would have deterred many.

Achievements and Impact in the Media Industry

Oprah Winfrey is a household name and a media mogul, having built a media empire that includes a successful talk show, a television network, and a magazine. She is not only the first African-American woman to own her own production company but also became the richest African American of the 20th century. Her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, has been hailed as the highest-rated television program of its kind in history.

Oprah’s impact extends far beyond her media accomplishments. She has used her platform to address important social issues, promote literacy and education, and inspire millions of viewers around the world.

Key Strategies and Lessons Learned

One of the key strategies that propelled Oprah’s success is her authenticity. She has always been open about her personal struggles and experiences, which helped establish a deep connection with her audience. This level of authenticity and openness is what set her apart in a crowded media landscape.

Another crucial element of Oprah’s strategy is her relentless focus on quality content that resonates with her audience. She understood that to truly engage her viewers, she needed to delve into topics and issues that mattered to them.

A key lesson from Oprah’s success is the importance of self-belief and determination. Despite the numerous obstacles she faced, Oprah never lost sight of her dreams and continually pushed towards them.

At She Reigns Creative, we believe that Oprah’s success story is a powerful reminder to female entrepreneurs that no challenge is too great to overcome. As we celebrate these women-owned businesses success stories, we draw inspiration from their journeys and reaffirm our commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs in realizing their dreams.

Key Takeaways and Advice for Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs

The success stories of women-owned businesses reveal patterns of resilience, self-belief, and a commitment to authenticity. As you venture into the world of entrepreneurship, let these patterns guide you. At She Reigns Creative, we believe that these are foundational qualities for success. Here are some key takeaways and advice for aspiring women entrepreneurs.

Importance of Self-belief and Resilience

Just as Latasha McRae from Peeks Cosmetics stated, “No one is going to believe in you like you do.” As an entrepreneur, you are your biggest advocate. Embrace your passion and let it fuel your actions. Expect setbacks, but understand that they are stepping stones to success. As our expert Steve Andrews often says, “Resilience is the cornerstone of entrepreneurial success.”

Balancing Assertiveness and Authenticity

It’s crucial to find the right balance between being assertive and staying true to who you are. Julianna Curtis from The Energy Barre reminds us that it’s about coming to the table exactly as you are, not trying to fit a mold. Confidence comes from recognizing and embracing your talents and skills, and from not being afraid to stand next to any male or female counterpart.

Staying True to Brand Values

Your brand values and messaging should guide your decisions. The sister-owner trio at boutique swimwear brand Nicole, Jennifer, and Colette emphasize that staying true to your brand values in everything you do is key. This consistency builds trust with your customers and sets your brand apart.

Prioritizing Self-care and Mental Health

Self-care is an essential part of entrepreneurship. It’s easy to overlook personal needs when you’re busy running a business. But as Steve Andrews points out, “Taking care of your mental wellbeing and personal hygiene is crucial for success. It creates a sense of self-nurturing that carries into your lifestyle choices.”

Embracing Challenges and Staying Focused on Goals

Challenges are inevitable in entrepreneurship. Embrace these challenges, learn from them, and stay focused on your goals. Remember, successful entrepreneurs are not those who never fail, but those who never quit.

Importance of Networking and Seeking Support

Networking and seeking support from mentors, allies, and advisors is vital. They can offer guidance and support, helping you navigate the entrepreneurship journey. Aspiring entrepreneurs should never shy away from seeking help.

These key takeaways and advice draw from the success stories of women-owned businesses and our experiences at She Reigns Creative. We hope they inspire and guide you as you embark on your entrepreneurial journey.


The inspiring tales of Madam C.J. Walker, Mary Kay Ash, Sara Blakely, Whitney Wolfe Herd, and Oprah Winfrey are just a handful of countless women-owned businesses success stories. Each woman’s journey encapsulates the trials, tribulations, and triumphs that come with entrepreneurship, proving that with resilience and determination, success is achievable.

These stories serve not only as a testament to the power and potential of women entrepreneurs but also as a beacon of inspiration for those who aspire to carve their own path in the business world. Remember, every great entrepreneur started somewhere, faced challenges, and overcame them to build something extraordinary. You, too, can create your own success story.

At She Reigns Creative, we understand the unique challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. Our commitment is to empower you to achieve your business goals and create your own success story. We offer the support, strategies, and expertise needed to scale your business to new heights. As our expert Steve Andrews often says, “The entrepreneurial journey is an exciting one filled with opportunities for growth. Embrace it, learn from it, and let it guide you to success.”

Let the success stories of these impressive women serve as your guide and inspiration. But remember, your journey is unique and your story is yet to be written. Let’s create your success story together!

women entrepreneurs - women-owned businesses success stories

Let’s get started on your journey to success. Connect with us at She Reigns Creative today.

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