Fashion Designer Rebecca Minkoff Rolls Out National Campaign for Women-Led Business Network

Emma Feil
Emily Current (left) and Meritt Elliott

Spearheaded in Los Angeles by fashion designers Emily Current and Meritt Elliott of The Great, Female Founders Collective highlights women entrepreneurs in Miami, Chicago and beyond.

Fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff was in a meeting, trying to come up with a way to work with only female-founded companies, when she realized there was no one way to find them easily. After coming across a study that said 82 percent of women are more likely to support female-founded companies if they only knew how, the idea for Female Founders Collective (FFC) was born.

“It proved to me that a symbol or a seal for consumers to recognize would be key for us to find ways to support and give our money to female founders,” says Minkoff, co-founder and creative director of her namesake line.

Following its launch at New York Fashion Week last September and a Los Angeles campaign in January, FFC, an application-only network of female entrepreneurs, expands its national reach with regional campaigns promoting high-profile female business leaders across the country, including a second Los Angeles rollout this week, extending with launches on Thursday in Chicago and Friday in Miami.

Designed to bring together women across multiple industries, the platform — which encompasses everyone from fashion designers to chefs — is also aimed at building awareness of women-owned businesses (WOBs) and supporting their growth. “This is a way for consumers to vote with their wallets and for the collective of these women to help support each other and give each other resources and tools to bridge the gap that much faster,” says Minkoff.

Upon learning about FFC, Emily Current and Meritt Elliott, co-founders of L.A.-based fashion line The Great (and longtime friends and self-described admirers of Minkoff), connected with the designer to become involved on a more formal level. Working closely with Minkoff, the duo spearheads the collective on the West Coast — an effort that including hosting shoots at The Great flagship on Melrose Avenue.

For this week’s Los Angeles campaign release, the pair reached out to top female founders in L.A. including Hollywood-loved fashion designers Rachel Zoe and Anine Bing, Ritual vitamins founder Kat Schneider and the Streicher sisters glam squad (owners of Beverly Hills beauty studio Striiike, who work with the likes of Mandy Moore and Emily Blunt).

“We have an informal network of female founders already in L.A. We have dinners. We have text chains. So when we saw there was an official way to do this and invite more people in, it made sense for us,’ says Elliott, who, with Current, experienced firsthand the male-dominated denim industry with the launch of their denim brand, Current/Elliott (they departed from the brand in 2012).

“With everything we’ve been through in our careers and having our own female-founded businesses, we really value the idea so much. We like to support each other,” says Current.

Following the first campaign, Dana Gordon, founder of Dana Rebecca Designs jewelry (worn by stars such as Angelina Jolie, Sofia Vergara and Miranda Kerr), reached out to longtime collaborators Current and Elliot to connect with Minkoff about championing FFC’s Chicago efforts. For Thursday’s release, Gordon gathered female entrepreneurs including Graziela Kaufman of Graziela Gems, interior designer Kate Marker of Kate Marker Interiors and chef Stephanie Izard of Girl & The Goat for a shoot at her Chicago showroom. “I am all about women empowering other women to be their best selves, and I try to do that at Dana Rebecca Designs, which employs mainly women,” explains Gordon.

And in Miami, Ali Mejia and Mariela Rovito (co-founders of sleepwear, intimates and swimwear brand Eberjey that counts Kylie Jenner as a fan) tapped into their network of high-profile female entrepreneurs for a campaign shoot at the brand’s Coral Gables boutique featuring the likes of The Salty Donut founder Amanda Pizarro and Johanna Mikkola, co-founder of coding school Wyncode Academy. “It is both empowering and uplifting to join a network of strong, independent women who support each other and encourage other women to embrace their differences and inner beauty,” says Mejia. 

Adds Rovito: “We are passionate about supporting other female-founded businesses and the FFC is making it easier to identify these businesses, so that we can continue to bring visibility to female-led companies and encourage female entrepreneurship.”