Commentary

My Cannes Suitcase: I'm Packing Only Female-Founded Brands

Earlier this month, I decided I would dress head-to-toe in clothing by female founders while I’m chatting with them on  panels and networking at events during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Since I’ve started working with female brand founders, I’ve learned that it only goes so far to talk the talk. If we’re really going to change the marketplace, we have to walk the walk, too. And that means seeking out and buying products from female founders so that our money is literally where our mouths are.
It’s actually much harder than it sounds. There’s a healthy selection of product currently available from female founders, yet a lot of it is at a high price point, so building out an entire wardrobe is cost-prohibitive. And while finding special pieces isn’t a challenge, if you get too specific, like searching for “female founded pantsuit,” you may come up with nothing.

I had to comb through brands I knew individually to find what I was looking for. I’m currently using the app, “Good on You” which focuses on ethics and sustainability, and it would be amazingly helpful to have a quick reference for female founders. Until then, it’s a labor of love.

Some other resources are popping up to help in the meantime, like Gender Fair, which rates companies on their fairness practices, the Female Founder Collective, a network designed to enable and empower female entrepreneurs and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, which certifies female-owned businesses.  

With all of these challenges, it was an eye-opening experience to get my Cannes wardrobe together. Here’s what I’m bringing, with input from my stylist:

-- A Cuyana bag

-- A comfy Yumi Kim jersey jumpsuit  

-- Sclandaris shoes

-- Tkees flip-flops

-- Seamless underwear from Underclub, one of our Girl Brands Do It Better clients

-- Easy summer pieces, shoes and bags from Rebecca Minkoff, whom I often invite to appear on panels since she started the Female Founder Collective

-- A short pantsuit by Alice and Olivia accessorized by Rebecca Minkoff

-- Hands-free leather handbags from GGMaull

-- A dress from Kate Spade

-- An easy Reformation dress

-- The Accessory Junkie

-- Dayo Women loungewear

-- A Chromat swimsuit, another Girl Brands Do It Better client

-- Makeup from Thrive Causemetics. For every product purchased, the company donates to  help a cause thrive 

-- Skincare products from Rodan and Fields

-- And packing it all in a roomy Away bag

My commitment extends to the festival itself and the events I’m hosting. I’m bringing Pomp and Whimsy gin in my suitcase (from a female founder who started the Women’s Cocktail Collective) to serve. Instead of pouring the big-brand Champagne that everyone’s expecting, I’m serving Le Grand Courtage sparkling white and Tres Chic Rose, which is owned and managed entirely by women and is also a part of the Women’s Cocktail Collective. We’re filling our gift bags with items from female founders, from “I invest in women” shirts made from LLShe Pitch winner Society Nine to towels from Hammamas. We’re also sourcing a female photographer and florist.

With these purchasing decisions, I’m making a small impact and inspiring others to do the same. The more we demand that the marketplace promote female-founded brands, the easier it should become to support them.

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