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Empowering women through ecommerce

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Every year on March 8, the world celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD) by highlighting the numerous achievements that women have made in all areas. 

And every year, IWD updates its theme. For 2024, it’s all about inclusion, with the slogan/hashtag #InspireInclusion.

Women are crucial to every facet of life, and this includes the ecommerce industry, where their impact is felt more than seen. 

Studies have shown that:

  • 42% of all U.S. businesses (13 million)  are owned by women
  • Women-owned businesses employ over 9.4 million workers 
  • Women are 3% more likely than men to start a business 

At Omnisend, we’re proud to join in on the celebrations. This year, we want to highlight stories of Omnisend brands that are founded and led by women.

So we reached out to some real-life superheroes to see how they celebrate IWD, the types of campaigns they’re using for their brands, and advice they can give to women starting their own ecommerce business.

What International Women’s Day means 

For our women-owned business customers, IWD holds a special significance, providing an opportunity to reflect on their journeys, celebrate progress and inspire others.

Jamelia Donaldson, Founder & CEO of UK-based Treasure Tress believes the world would be a better place if women were celebrated, connected and educated more often.

Jamelia Donaldson, Founder & CEO of UK-based Treasure Tress

“That’s why everything we do at TreasureTress is rooted in celebrating, connecting and educating women. It’s also why we remind ourselves to do the work daily to elevate, educate and support women consistently,” Jamelia tells Omnisend.

For Sunaina Ramisetty, founder of jewelry brand Tarinika, IWD is the path to encouraging us to create a better society for everyone. She feels that this day can help us “address women-related issues, and encourage and provide resources to women-led businesses across time and space so that we become a society that cherishes, values, and inspires women and men equally.”

For these reasons, both brands strongly promote women-focused events, not only during IWD, but throughout the year as well. Treasure Tress hosts a number of events throughout the year, such as their famous “For Black Girls Who Can’t Braid.” 

At Tarinika, women make up the core of their business.

“From the founder to the women artisans trained in making elegant ornaments targeted toward our women customers,” Sunaina says, “we acknowledge the power of femininity and endeavor to encourage more and more women in the workforce at every step.” 

Overcoming the challenges of being a woman entrepreneur

Despite the progress made in terms of gender equality, women entrepreneurs still face numerous challenges in their pursuit of success. The unique hurdles that women entrepreneurs encounter, such as gender bias, unequal access to opportunities, and a lack of support, can often be discouraging.

For Jamelia, being underestimated is the main challenge that comes with being a woman. 

Anna Benson, CEO & Founder of ByBenson, feels that women “sometimes have bigger challenges for business in general. There are situations when I know it would be different to be a man.”

Sunaina agrees: “As a woman, you need to speak a bit louder, struggle a bit longer, and go that extra mile just to be listened to in the first place.”

The research tends to agree with this outlook. A study by Simply Business showed that 32% of female entrepreneurs have faced sexism, and 19% faced unequal access to opportunities.

Other results are equally alarming:

Nonetheless, the women ecommerce owners we spoke with are still optimistic. “You can overcome all of this by surrounding yourself with supportive men and women who believe in your ability and share your vision,” Jamelia says.

For Anna, it’s about staying the course: “I love to run my business and I believe very much in my products. The others will come around. No matter if I am a woman or not.”

“You’re going to have ups and downs,” says Jamelia. “You’re going to have successes and failures—probably more of the latter than the former, at least in the beginning. But if you keep at it, and stay focused.”

For Sunaina, overcoming these challenges coincides with overcoming challenges in the ecommerce jewelry business: 

“You always have to be on your toes and keep abreast with the changing trends. In an ecommerce scenario, the emphasis is on making the entire online shopping experience user-centric.”

Sunaina Ramisetty, founder of jewelry brand Tarinika. Source

Despite these obstacles, the women interviewed remain optimistic, advising that entrepreneurs can overcome these challenges by surrounding themselves with supportive people, staying the course, and remaining focused on their goals. 

How to promote IWD

All of these brands are using Omnisend to talk to their customers every day, using email, SMS or push messages. In fact, Omnisend has released International Women’s Day templates and other useful resources to help make IWD communications much easier.

For these women, International Women’s Day is another opportunity to talk to their customers in traditional or innovative ways:

“Omnisend’s forms can be used to create different polls emphasizing women-centric issues that must be addressed,” Sunaina says. 

“You can also send out emails to all your customers with an attractive discount to be used on IWD only. We can talk about the inspiring journey of the Tarinika and Paksha brands and the women we employ and support.”

Jamelia is using Omnisend to continue talking with their customers “on a day to day basis. Let them know where  their latest delivery is, to help ease their worries.”

What I wish I knew when I got started…

Starting an ecommerce business can be both exciting and overwhelming. With so many moving parts to consider, it can be challenging to know where to begin.

Sunaina wishes that, when she was just starting her business, she had understood just how crucial it was to have a clear vision for the company and the conviction to achieve that vision. 

“Robust competitor research and making a comprehensive report in that direction are of utmost importance,” she says now. “It will help you set up realistic parameters for your own business.”

Jamelia wishes something similar:

“Organize your documents and processes before you begin hiring your dream team. This way, when you’re ready to bring on some employees, you’ll have a clear idea of what needs to be done, and how it needs to be done.”

Teamwork is a crucial point for Sunaina and Anna as well: 

I think working with a great team is necessary due to a lot of things to focus on,” Anna tells Omnisend. “I learn things every day. And this is a dynamic world with a lot of changes all the time and it is impossible to stay updated on everything. That’s why you need a great team around you.”

Anna Benson, CEO & Founder of ByBenson. Source

Sunaina agrees: 

“Hiring the right talent who are as excited to work with your brand as you are is very important.”

In that sense, it’s also important for these women to encourage other women to start and run their own ecommerce businesses. For Jamelia, the best way to do that is to showcase more examples of women successfully doing so.

Sunaina believes it’s also an issue of awareness and knowledge:

“Many women are unaware of the government programs and subsidies that they can utilize to start any business. There are many training programs about government subsidies that teach women how to begin a business and start monetizing from their efforts.” 

Even more, she believes that current women-led businesses can start programs like “Earn while You Learn” to motivate a greater number of women in business.

The women that inspired me

For many entrepreneurs, inspiration comes from the women in their lives, both past and present.

Jameila, Sunaina and Anna all pull inspiration from women in their lives, and influential women in the global sphere.

Sunaina draws inspiration from as vast a range as Florence Nightingale to Savitribai Phule, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, and Margaret Thatcher. “Each one had to overcome insurmountable odds,” she says, “and each one prevailed, be it a pharma company, the first woman educator, or the PM of the United Kingdom.” 

For Jamelia, it’s “Beyonce, my mum and my nieces.” That’s because they are prime examples of women and girls with a strong sense of self, a desire to fulfill their life calling, and are inspirational to those around them.

“They have been a constant source of encouragement and motivation for me,” she says. 

“My mum is always there for me when I need her most—whether it’s just to vent about something or to celebrate with me when things go well. My nieces are always excited about what I’m doing and think it’s really cool that I’m trying to make a living off of the things I love doing! They’re also great at making me laugh when things get stressful.”

Wrapping up

As we celebrate International Women’s Day and embrace the theme of inclusion, it’s important to recognize the achievements of women entrepreneurs in the ecommerce industry.

The women-led brands we spoke with demonstrate the importance of celebrating, connecting, and educating women, and promoting women-focused events throughout the year. Despite the challenges they face, these women remain optimistic and emphasize the importance of having a clear vision, a supportive team, and a commitment to staying focused. 

Together, by actively supporting and empowering women-led businesses, and addressing the challenges and inequalities faced by women, we can work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society that values and respects all individuals regardless of gender.

Vaida Niparė
Article by
Vaida Niparė

Vaida is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Omnisend. She’s a well-versed marketing strategist with a list of successful product launches. An altruist at heart, she’s a passionate advocate for volunteering. Loves to blast rock music in her headphones.