2 Female-Lead Start-Ups Turning Online Dreams into Brick-and-Mortar Realities 2 Female-Lead Start-Ups Turning Online Dreams into Brick-and-Mortar realities The year 2016 was, as we have all conceded was one of the most atrocious in the history of politics, verbosity and Hollywood, but in the world of glamour, time stops for no woman (or man) and the year of episodic and inexorable woes left a few companies happier than when they started. It’s been a strong year for online retailers. People are finally coming around to the ease with which purchasing can be done from your mobile devices, and more stores are introducing hassle-free returns – aligning themselves even closer to their brick-and-mortar counterparts. And in the cyber universe there is perhaps a few stand-out sites that have been gaining traction for years on the trot now, and 2016 may have just become their breakthrough year. Having had an interesting year politically, perhaps one industry that was unperturbed by the furor at the poles was fashion – and especially an emerging market that lends itself to those women who want luxury, but for high-street prices. Jennifer Hyman Rent-the-Runway, self-proclaimed leader in disruptive commerce, finished off a successful year with a $60million investment that will no doubt propel them right down the long-sought after storefront they have been proceeding to for these last few years. At the moment, they have stores in a few major U.S cities and pop-ups that have only delighted the wanting women, but the plan is one of a much grander scale, and this most recent investment is one way (among others – like a partnership with Neiman Marcus) that will no doubt get them there. As the company almost tripled its revenues between 2014 and 2016, investors crawled to get a piece of the action before the possibility of it listing as an IPO, and CEO Jennifer Hyman looks forward to putting the money to good use. We will be seeing more Rent-the-Runway stores around the block in the near future and this Neiman Marcus partnership will also serve to improve the site itself by giving consumers up-to-date trends and fashion they so desperately want for a price that won’t devastate their bank account. Hyman is not however alone in her success for the year – turning online dreams into physical realities also is Emily Weiss, founder of Glossier, (another of our online beauty favorites.) She also managed to amalgamate a wealth of investment this year after garnering huge fandom for the brand in such a short span of time. Weiss vows that this money will be utilized for product research, production to actually keep up with the high demand that has earned the brand this level of curiosity, and finally an international reach for the first time since its debut. Emily Weiss, Courtesy of Into The Gloss Why these two some may ask? Well for me the answer is simple, these ladies have dedicated themselves to providing a unique service for the women of the world in a simple but incredible way to make female lives better. Will the investments ever stop coming, who knows? What I do know is there’s a Badgley Mischka dress calling my name on RTR that will turn my gloomy January upside down and devour the woes of the previous year in one fell swoop. Amy Corcoran Head of Content at SWAAY: Amy is an Irish writer, avid foodie and feminist with an insatiable appetite for novels and empowering women's writing. She has enjoyed calling Dublin, Paris and now New York her home.