5 (Not So) Small Business By Women, For Women

Written by Emme Ho

If your summer wardrobe needs a bit of flair, you must check out these 5 up and coming female-run retailers.

Founded in 2015 by Gina Esposito, this eco-friendly swim label produces luxury pieces from sustainably sourced material. Esposito works with co-designer Fennis Brown to create elegant beachwear that fits comfortably and sleekly on all body types. The two women have put together a collection of classic silhouettes and also sell simple and sophisticated beach accessories like organic cotton towels, mesh totes, neutral colored sunglasses and vegan skincare products. Wearing Nu Swim’s recycled fiber swimsuits and reef-safe sunscreen, you can soak up Vitamin D all summer with a good conscience. Buying from Nu Swim you can support the environment and a women-run small business.

Started by two best friends, Rachel Motteram and Jameem Zalfen, this boutique Australian designer label is far out. The designer duo built their brand by bringing together a collective of adventurous creative girls: the Dyspnea “Pussy Possé”. Made with glitter, tulle, mesh, and sequins galore, Dyspnea’s delicate handmade garments bring your childhood princess dress-up dreams back to life with a sexy and striking twist—think fairy super model goes to Coachella. Their collections are fun and flirty, revealing and romantic, and their aesthetic is absolutely eye catching.


Aprés Studio’s Instagram bio declares itself, “for the strong women, the style purveyors”. Another Aussie label, their maxim: vous fait regarder, “made you look”, perfectly fits their bold designer pieces. Founder, owner and designer Meg Wilcher is truly visionary. Her high fashion collection pays close attention to detail. While she primarily works with black, white and grey shades, her pops of neon blues and greens make her pieces even more special. You’ll turn heads wearing any one of studio’s statement looks. Their frost bow dress is to die for, an absolute summer must have.

Located in Eagle Rock, Here Now is a newly-opened vintage and custom clothing store owned and run by Stephanie Libanati. Her store is filled with one of a kind, yet affordable staples in every color under the sun. In addition to unisex vintage street wear, Here Now also carries Libanati’s own edgy re-worked designs like her chain-linked hoodies, side striped bottoms, hardware embellished denim, and printed tees and totes. For those that don’t live in LA don’t worry, you’re not missing out, the store’s Depop offers many of the same in-store items at a discount price!

Bringing together unique secondhand pieces and designs produced for their own collection, Courtyard LA has got the timeless yet contemporary vintage look to a tee. What started in 2016 as an Instagram shop has quickly blossomed into an online vintage market where owner Alia Meagan sells her truly special vintage finds. From management and media, to design and factory production, Meagan has assembled a team run entirely by women. Courtyard LA is like Here Now’s more feminine counterpart, offering a selection of tailored and chic garments. Meagan knows exactly what you want, and her site is constantly being restocked with gorgeous blouses, delicate intimates, dresses from every decade and those perfectly thin soft pastel tees that are just irresistible.

*Images courtesy of brand