Women’s History: Business Icons
Silhouettes of women for SHG's blog post "Women's History: Business Icons"

It’s Women’s History Month, so let’s celebrate and find inspiration in the stories of some of the most famous, most successful businesswomen ever! There are countless examples of female entrepreneurs, but here are a few who’ve both started their own businesses and taken existing businesses to a new level.

Madam CJ Walker

Madam C.J. Walker was an African American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and is acknowledged as the first female self-made millionaire in America. She overcame adversity to establish a business empire. She founded the Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company, developing a line of beauty and hair care products specifically for African American women. Her business model included direct sales through a network of agents, empowering many women to become financially independent. Learn more about her here.

Elizabeth Arden

Elizabeth Arden was a Canadian-American businesswoman who built a cosmetics empire in the United States. Arden was a pioneer in the beauty industry, advocating for the idea that beauty should be accessible to all women. Named after herself, her company became a global cosmetics empire. She was instrumental in developing the modern cosmetics market, introducing eye makeup to American women and developing the concept of the “makeover” in her salons. Learn more about her here.

Brownie Wise

Brownie Wise was an American saleswoman largely credited with the success of Tupperware through her development of the home party model of direct selling. She was the first woman to appear on the cover of BusinessWeek. Wise’s innovative sales strategy involved Tupperware parties, where women would gather in a host’s home to see demonstrations and buy products. This direct-selling approach revolutionized the way products were marketed to women. Learn more about her here.

Katharine Graham

Katharine Graham was an American publisher who led her family’s newspaper, The Washington Post, to national prominence. Born into the family that owned the Post, she took over as publisher after the death of her husband. Despite having little experience in the business initially, she became one of the most powerful women in American publishing. Under her leadership, The Washington Post solidified its reputation as a leading national newspaper. She oversaw the publication of the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate scandal reporting. Her tenure significantly influenced journalism, making the Post synonymous with investigative reporting. Graham’s stewardship not only transformed the newspaper into a media giant but also paved the way for women in media and publishing industries. Learn more about her here.

Rosalind Brewer

Rosalind Brewer is an American businesswoman recognized for her leadership and influence in major corporations, Brewer has made significant strides in promoting diversity and innovation in the business world. She has served as CEO of Sam’s Club, Starbucks, and Walgreens Boots Alliance. Her leadership at these major corporations has been marked by efforts to drive growth, innovation, and inclusivity. Learn more about her here.

We could list so many other interesting women, but the ones we’re most interested in are you! We’d love to hear your sucess stories and which female entrepreneurs instpire you. Let us know on Instagram or Facebook!

Carol Gavhane, owner of Sparkle Hustle Grow

I’m Carol Gavhane, Owner of Sparkle Hustle Grow. My team and I use this blog to share our favorite business tips, introduce you to thought leaders in our community and to feature products from SHG boxes.