5 Female-Founded Companies Invigorating The Wellness Movement

5 Female-Founded Companies

Invigorating The Wellness Movement


It’s no secret that the health and wellness industry has been booming of late. Veganism has grown by 500 percent since 2014, and Yogis have risen by over 16 M since 2012. People care about what they put into their body, and the suppliers of the industry are gearing up for a what will no doubt be a very profitable future in this sector.

With this promised profit in mind, “The Healthy Brand Showcase” was founded by Amanda Leesburg and Paige Wolf, two PR gurus, who hoped to get all of these emerging health and wellness brands together so the media could get a first look at their new offerings.

“The healthy living space has changed over the last five years to focus on specific health needs,” says Leesburg. “Consumers pay attention to labels on their beauty products as much as their food products. As the general public becomes more health savvy, national healthy living companies have adapted to meet the needs of their customers.” Among those at the event, held last week at The Roger Smith Hotel in Midtown, NYC, were 2 dozen vendors representing mostly edible edible goods, with some additional influence from beverage, beauty, jewelry and homeware.

In addition to media, there were a few local names, including Broadway actors Sarah Stiles and Telly Leung, RHONY’s Dorina Medley, and celebrity fitness trainers Layla Luciano and Kira Stokes. And there to inspire their tastes, were a lot of female-focused brands hoping to tap into the woman’s consciousness of her health and physique. We met Farmer Willie’s Ginger Beer, who have come up with a low-calorie alternative to the sugar-packed ginger beers on the market right now, made from real ginger, they were a fan favorite on the day. In good company was this Pistachio farm from the San Joaquin Valley in California, dedicated to providing pistachio-based, low calorie snack alternatives for a mid-day much at your desk.

Women are also behind these brands, and below we spotlights five of their companies from the event, moulding the future of health and wellness with innovative products and honest, ethical branding.

Founder, Deena Jalal
Photo Courtesy of Fomu

For those among the growing population of lactose intolerant or lactose adverse, there’s Fomu. Founder Deena Jalal started the business back in 2011 when she realized the need for a plant-based alternative to ice-cream.

What’s fun about Fomu, is the taste of ice cream and the ingredients you normally find in Ben&Jerrys are still there. 

Deena Jalal

“We have seen far more education around food quality, thoughtful sourcing, and plant-based diets,” says Jalal. “There is still a ways to go, but it certainly helps drive home why is it important to support brands that advocate for those things.”

As a mom, she feels a responsibility to serve her children on the very best. “Being a woman and a mom has played a huge role in our company’s roots and the decisions we make to this day. It instills a level of integrity in our company and product – I have peace of mind serving the product we make to them.”

Kalí Zoë Designs,
Co-founders, Arianna and Callie Spiros
Photo Courtesy of Kalí Zoë Designs

These sisters were the lone wolves in the jewelry department at the event, and boy did they make it worth it.

A sparkling pair, they were showcasing their beautiful intricate line of jewelry. Their signature piece – the Mudra – a fascinating technology, is a curved ring that slides between your thumb and index finger that applies pressure to the LI4 pressure point and increases circulation, rids headaches and migraines and relieves pain, retailing for $140. Their bracelets, that are replicas of fallen tree branches from their childhood homes are incredibly unique and worth a visit onto the site even just to ogle at them.

The pair have also begun to incorporate wellness into the jewelry line, launching yoga retreats and classes, accessible through the website.  “Every day we are proud to be a sister-run company with a mother who was a great woman-in-business role model. When we first began Kalí Zoë Designs, we were sometimes shocked to be the only young women in a room,” says Spiros. “We put great love and care into each design and piece of jewelry. Our retreats bring women of all ages together for long weekends of wellness, yoga, mindful movement, art and together time.”

Callie and Arianna Spiros
Planet Fuel Beverage Company,
Founder, Amy Barnouw
Photo Courtesy of Planet Fuel

Launched in February of this year, Planet Fuel is a beverage company targeted at teens, and aimed at promoting a healthier lifestyle for the younger, soda-prone generations. By blending organic juices with water, the products are naturally lower in sugar and free from artificial ingredients, flavorings, and preservatives. 

Amy Barnouw

On top of her mission to reduce sugar in the everyday teen diet, Barnouw is also donating profits to charities of her choosing that help the environment – a consistent theme throughout all the businesses in attendance. “In 2016 we established the Planet Fuel Charitable Fund to support initiatives to protect wild place and animals around the world.  To date, they have given over $100,000 in grants, including $50,000 to the Ocean Conservancy to support their “Skip the Straw” campaign to reduce ocean plastics. You can find Planet Fuel at select retailers in Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York, as well as schools in CT, NY and NJ, and on Amazon.

Numi Organic Tea,
Co-founder, Reem Rahim Hassani
Photo Courtesy of Numi Organic Tea

Celebrating its eighteenth birthday this year, Numi tea has lasted the millennial test in part because of this wellness movement, but also because of the innovation involved in the tea production. Back in 1999, the company was founded by brother and sister, Ahmed and Reem Rahim in Oakland, California. Their wish was to infuse the teas with more than just flavor – not only are they made with the highest quality organic, non-GMO ingredients that are sourced from Fair Trade and Fair Labor tea gardens, they can serve as holistic help to calm your well-being. “We’ve seen research showing that 80 percent of consumers consider health and wellness to be much broader than just their physical health,” says Reem. “This broader definition can include emotional health, like your happiness, balance, stress-reduction, and relaxation.” Our favorite was Embrace – the perfect way to end your day.

Reem Rahim Hassani
Founder, Lara Amoroso

Lara Amoroso, a single mom, was reading an article one day, when she discovered that 27,000 trees are destroyed every day just to make toilet tissue.”That statistic bothered me so much that I immediately became inspired to find a sustainable alternative for use in my home,” says Amoroso, and that she did. In May of this year, she launched BAMBOOLOO, a luxury toilet paper derived from 100 percent bamboo fiber and made without harsh chemicals, bleaches, chlorine, or additives. In this, she has launched a business that wowed us at the event – with Amoroso’s small frame dwarfed by the stacks of toilet paper on her stand.

“With a little research, I found that bamboo fibers can be manufactured in a way that produces strong and silky tissue paper—a real alternative to the destructive wood-pulp tissues that most of us are using. I also learned that because bamboo is a plant and not a tree, it is highly sustainable and readily renewable.”

Amoroso goes on to explain that bamboo toilet paper is not only more environmentally friendly, but better for your sensitive bottom, because it eliminates the toxic dioxins that form when using chlorine bleach, found commonly on everyday rolls.

You’ll find BAMBOOLOO solely online for right now, but we have a sneaky feeling Amoroso may have hit the jackpot with this idea. She’s just landed her first hotel deal is chatting with others looking to provide renewable and ethical products for their guests. We’ll for sure be following her journey closely.

Lara Amoroso
Amy Corcoran

The Associate Editor of 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.

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