You know that little thrill that comes with hitting "complete transaction" when making an online purchase? The promise of the perfectly sheer lip gloss or outfit-completing crossbody bag that will be a part of your life in two to five business days? Well it feels even better when you’re buying from an up-and-coming brand. Your purchase not only enriches your life, it also supports a real person who’s following their dream and trying to make a difference in the retail world.
This May, Instagram launched @shop — an account that features a cool product from a different small business every day. You can shop directly from each post, meaning you can tap each image or video to learn more about the product and go to the brand’s website to buy what you see.
@shop has featured more than 90 small businesses since its inception — and for Bustle's Rule Breakers digital issue, the account is spotlighting 11 special brands that were started by rule-breaking women founders. From @susan_alexandra's bold beaded bags to @golde’s superfood face masks to @girlfriend’s sustainable yoga leggings, these pieces, like the women who made them, stand out. Shop this special edition of Bustle’s Most Wanted, and follow @shop for more!
A few years ago, KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson, friends from business school, were sharing beauty woes over a few glasses of wine. Both women were looking for the perfect nude lipstick but nothing they found was a perfect match for their skin tones. Thus, the inspiration for Mented (short for pigmented) was born. “At the beginning, it was very much just the two of us trying to solve our own problems,” Johnson says. The brand’s Skin by Mented foundation sticks come in 16 shades and are vegan, hypoallergenic, and cruelty-free.
For Ellie and Quang Dinh, co-founders of Girlfriend Collective, it was a kitchen table conversation that led to an aha moment. Ellie felt there was no brand on the market that fit her active but amateur workout lifestyle — or that of any of her girlfriends. So the pair set out to create pieces that worked for every workout on every body. Even better, they made their pieces sustainable: Each pair of Girlfriend Collective Compressive High-Rise Leggings (which come in sizes XXS - 6XL) is made from 25 upcycled water bottles.
“There’s no rulebook with how you should wear our stuff,” says Isabella Giancarlo, who partnered with Laura Kraber to launch non-binary beauty brand Fluide in 2018. “Makeup is a powerful tool for self expression and self actualization,” Giancarlo says. “We’re about using your face as a canvas instead of saying ‘hey you should look like this’ — which was the message I received from a lot of beauty companies growing up.” The brand’s bold-colored polish is also 7-free, meaning you can get a bold pop of saturated color without any toxic ingredients in the mix.
It’s not uncommon to find jewelry with a modern aesthetic. But pieces inspired by the ancient world and printed using 3D technology? That’s a bit less common. Xenophora designer Karissma Yve says she’s been fascinated by the civilizations of Egypt, Rome, and Greece since she was a kid. Those interests played into the jewelry she started making in her teens. Now, the Detroit-based creator has evolved her process to use the latest design technologies, leading to products with an unexpected (some might say rule-breaking) duality. Yve's pieces are also often inspired by nature: Her latest collection, featuring the sterling silver Bamboo Cuff, is titled Lotus in the Mud.
Who says you need to have a SoHo showroom to be the industry’s buzziest jewelry brand? Mother-daughter duo Brinker and Eliza Higgins’ colorful, sea-inspired jewelry is handcrafted in their Connecticut home. “We hand-make everything,” Eliza says. “We don't want to be mass, like the big huge brands out there — that's not what we're about.” The brand's Mermaid Fringe Barrette combines two big hair trends: clips and cowrie shells.
Makeup artist Gloria Noto turned to herbalism and aromatherapy when she was in her 20s to help with skin care issues. But Noto says that the natural beauty brands that were on the market at the time didn’t speak to her. “I wasn’t seeing diversity in that space as a queer woman,” she says. “And I wasn’t seeing any minimalistic designs, either.” So Noto started experimenting with formulations and used her clientele to test her own products. Her line, Noto Botanics, includes the Deep Serum, which features marula, grapeseed, sea buckthorn, grapefruit oil, green coffee oil, and more. (And it smells great.)
“Nobody thought it was going to be a thing,” says accessories designer Susan Korn of the response when she first told family and friends about her vision for a technicolor beaded accessories empire. But when Korn launched Susan Alexandra in 2014, it became a thing — quickly. Susan’s maximalist, textured, often fruit-inspired pieces have been spotted on everyone from Gigi Hadid to Suri Cruise. The Strawberry bag is the perfect size for your essentials and is handmade in New York City.
Golde co-founder Trinity Mouzon Wofford has always been into wellness. As a child, she and her grandmother studied ingredient labels to better understand what was in every product they put in or on their bodies. So when Wofford started thinking about starting her own line (aimed at making wellness accessible), she started with the ingredients — specifically superfoods like turmeric and spirulina. Golde’s Clean Greens powder-to-gel face mask makes your skin feel extra clean, fresh, and healthy.
There’s a subversive historical undercurrent to Emily Bode’s menswear designs. “I work with fabrics that are mostly traditional domestic textiles,” she explains. “And those have historically been created by women. So I like the idea of using something very female focused, but making it for men to wear.” Thankfully, the CFDA 2019 Emerging Designer of the Year and first woman designer to show at NYFW: Men’s does have a few entry points for most shoppers — Bode's pieces, like the Jaipur Sleeper Shirt, make a chic statement no matter how you identify.
“We're a future-forward body brand,” Chromat founder and designer Becca McCharen-Tran says. Founded in 2010, Chromat has broken new ground in terms of representation in the fashion industry. “All the press from our shows was about the models — their size and diversity,” McCharen-Tran says. “I thought, ‘Well, this should be normal, this is normal to me,’ but it was shocking for a lot of people.” Chromat’s summer collection, including the Mikito suit, is utility-chic and ethically made from sustainable Italian fabric.
Katie Sturino was chafed about, well, chafing. Specifically, heat-related thigh chafing. So in 2017, the style blogger started a business to tackle the personal care issues she felt weren’t being addressed in the beauty space. “We wanted to take these shameful problems and take the stigma out,” she says. Her company Megababe launched with two products: Bust Dust powder and the Thigh Rescue anti-chafe stick, the latter of which sold out within a week when it was first introduced in 2017.
Yoga Bra, Yoga Legging, Sport wear, Wricking Fabric, Shape wear - Yubo,http://www.yubofs.com/