The Entrepreneur’s Index to Creativity + Ethics

In staying true to our

mission, and in response to some of the world’s current and global conversations, we’re sharing a follow-up piece to our 2015 story, The Creative Entrepreneur’s Index to Success. In similar fashion to this initial edit, enjoy an updated curation of collective tools, resources, and anecdotes that a few of our interviewees shared in their respective stories and have learned throughout their endeavors. Discover tidbits on how they’re building ethical brands and businesses, what inspires their work and mission, and enjoy our full stories with each of the featured women below (also stay tuned as we unveil all-new stories coming soon to The Style Line)!


I now value quality over quantity when it comes to fashion, and thanks to Housing Works, I’m able to get just that. I’ve found many designer gems in our Thrift Shops along with clothing made by sustainable and local companies.” – Natalie Skoblow, Communications Coordinator at Housing Works

“Creativity is a huge part the world’s bigger conversations – we need to use our influence as designers to create a positive impact on our world. I am currently working with an amazing organization called Her Future Coalition, which works with survivors of sex trafficking in Calcutta India to give these young ladies and women shelter and employment in the jewelry industry.” –Lisa Salzer-Wiles, Designer and Founder of Lulu Frost

“For me, part of the excitement of starting my own company was imagining a beauty company that prioritized sustainability and giving back. Our products are all manufactured at a wind-powered facility in California and we constantly seek to minimize our environmental footprint, using 100% recyclable materials for all packaging. We’re also a member of 1% For The Planet, donating 1% of sales to local environmental non-profits. We’re proud to be part of a community of companies that understand the power of collective action and that we all have a responsibility to protect our planet.”– Johanna Peet, Founder of Peet Rivko

“I saw the documentary Girl Rising and was shocked to learn about the millions of girls around the world who are denied access to education. When I later learned that school uniforms were often the cost barrier to education, I felt strongly that I could create a fashion brand to authentically address this clothing driven need. Rallier will continue to benefit the girls’ schools we work with in Kenya and we are currently exploring ways to be part of a solution for American girls as well. It’s important now and it has always been important.” – Olivia Wright, Designer and Founder of Rallier

“Female entrepreneurship has always been close to my heart. Women, like Shawna X, donating profits from her art to Planned Parenthood, Katie Kimmel, illustrator, ceramicist and a big advocate of the ACLU, or This Is Sweden — an incredible Stockholm-based brand hand making bombers with an anti-racist agenda. For many of these Tictail brands, it’s not just about sales, it’s about using their work to create a conversation.”  – Briana Feigon, Director of Communications at Tictail

“In addition to my work with CTWF, I do project management for a branding company, Lauren Ledbetter, and I volunteer my time to help design products for a social enterprise that I’ve been involved in for years, fashionABLE.” – Jordan Duncan, Consider the Wldflwrs

“One of the reasons why AELLA started with pants is this: pants are a symbol of mobility, specifically women’s. It allowed more movement, both literally and societally. At the core of AELLA’s ethos is the expression of empowerment.” – Eunice, Cho AELLA

“Young people literally have the world at their fingertips. They’re the ones that define what the future becomes, what people can do or have access to, the way we get to take care of our Earth. At We Speak, our models are health conscious and drug-free. Each model undergoes a thorough approval process. Consumers who want to support change can buy from companies hiring healthy models. Our humble list of designers (the Client Pride Directory) grows every day, providing more and more options to consumers.” – Briauna Mariah, We Speak

“A percentage of every scarf purchased goes somewhere. For each collection a different Donni Charm team member chooses a cause they are passionate about and we donate a percentage of proceeds there. We also design specially customized scarves for different organizations and raise funds for them directly. For example, the Art Therapy Outreach Center is one that I am extremely supportive of.” – Alyssa Wasko, Donni Charm

“I ruminated about the fashion industry’s social and environmental repercussions constantly but lacked the ability to condense my thoughts to draw guiding principles from until I saw the documentary The True Cost. It was the catalyst that made me want to shift my shopping habits and I began digging around to find companies that were aligned with these values.” –Hélène Heath

“I appreciate working in fashion because it is an industry that I simultaneously love and take issue with. There are so many points of intersection that matter to me, and I get to make decisions that positively change women’s interaction with fashion – even in super small ways. It’s stealth activism! LSG is great because we cater to a community that shares those values and wants to interact with fashion in a new integrated way.” – Olivia La Roche, Lisa Says Gah


“Sustainability is very important at Cook Space. We encourage people to eat with the seasons, to cook with what they have and to be resourceful.” – Nini Nguyen, Chef at Cook Space

“We’ve created a ton of free resources to address safety and security when using video for activism. The majority of us with access to the internet and digital media are watching video, not creating it. We all have a role too… It takes creativity to share these stories in a way that will cut through that noise and get policy makers, lawyers, really the whole world’s, attention. The reality is, activists and survivors of human rights abuses often use the same digital channels to share stories of abuse that the rest of us share cat GIFs on. It takes knowing how to package these critically important stories in a compelling way, without ever sacrificing the integrity of that person’s experience, to open all of our eyes to what’s happening around the world. WITNESS was founded on the belief that there is nothing more powerful than visual imagery. At our core we are a creative organization, committed to storytelling for good and we fervently believe that the video of human rights abuses move people to action, and ultimately change.” – Matisse Bustos-Hawkes, WITNESS

“This is probably the most L.A. thing I’ve ever said, but I’ve been here for three years now, so here it goes: we need art to be humans… The idea, first and foremost, was to publish work that the industry had deemed unpublishable—too long for magazines and too short to be stand-alone books. But it’s inevitable that sometimes a piece, in the best iteration of what it is, is going to end up at that word count, and that there’s nowhere for them to go just seemed like a silly, Old Guard technicality.” – Deena Drewis, Nouvella

“If you look at Simon Sinek’s Golden Circles, Technology is the ‘How’ or the ‘What’, but in my opinion, it’s the ‘Why’ that should be driving conversation. Why do we do what we do at VINAYA? Because we believe technology has the power to help us elevate our human potential. Making use of technology – our most powerful resource – across all industries and ways of life is, in my opinion, the best way for us to optimize humanity, solving problems and saving time, so as to leave room for the stuff that really matters, like family, health, and fulfillment.”– Kate Unsworth, VINAYA

“I also get anxious – who doesn’t? – and when anxiety about writing would hit, I’d read from Dinty W. Moore’s “The Mindful Writer,” which analyzes quotes from writers on the writing process, with the basic message of: finish the thing, and calm down. ‘For us there is only the trying. The rest is not our business,’ from T.S. Eliot, was a quote I returned to frequently.”– Stephanie Clifford, Author


“Feliz is meant to be a platform that provides makers to sell their pieces directly to clients and for Austinites to connect with creative local designers. Our hope is that it’s a fun event that brings the Austin community together.” –  The Feliz design team

“I like to think Little Black Book can play a role in helping creative women find that balance, by offering practical advice on how to make creative work pay.” – Otegha Uwagba, Author of The Little Black Book

“The goal with Create & Cultivate has always been to create an encouraging but also informative space for female entrepreneurs to grow and learn from each other. You don’t have to do it alone— get the answers from those who have come before you and make it into something of your own. Collaboration is king (or queen in some cases) when it comes to modern living and biz.” – Jaclyn Johnson, Create & Cultivate

The Dream, Girl viewer is any girl or woman who wants to step into her power and pursue her dreams. We made this film hoping to speak to girls in elementary school who are just starting to notice gender differences and how they impact access to opportunity as well as women who have been working in the corporate world and are struggling to feel seen or heard. Through Dream, Girl we hope to inspire and encourage them to listen to that little voice inside of their heart that’s telling them to dream big and pursue what’s most meaningful to them.” – Komal Minhas and Erin Bagwell, Dream, Girl

“I greatly encourage collaborations with likeminded friends in different disciplines. It opens up ideas and audiences. Some of my greatest creative moments were in a group, like projects with Nouveau Classical Project or with photographer Barbara Anastacio. Currently, I am working with Twice, a creative agency by my friends in Paris, and our collaboration has been really inspiring.” – Beau Rhee, Atelier de Geste

“The mother-daughter relationship is unique in its female nature. For the most part, it has to be constantly nurtured through communication and offer a source for advice, support, and empowerment. And if you ask my mom, it also needs a good dose of baby Panda videos and emojis. In our quest to create a tool that does all of this, we came across some other women-led initiatives that the Mumsy team loves and would recommend for mothers and daughters: Grown and Flown for moms who are empty nesters, My Mother, My Daughter, My Friend led by my friend Jenna and her mom Ellen, and Brit + Co for moms and daughters with that hidden creative side!” – Michelle Nemirovsky, Mumsy

“Remember that you have a unique perspective that matters. Find out what you believe in, find your community and your tribe, find your purpose, and the causes that make you feel alive, and align your decisions and collaborations around these core values. It’s never been a more exciting time to start a project that matters you, and there are more opportunities than ever to be able to do this, in your way. I talk a lot about this in my classes, and I always recommend that people surround themselves with people they admire and believe in, and who believe in them. And once you find what you are passionate about, be willing to start, to try, to fail, and to get up again, and try again. The work of Brené Brown, Dan Pink, Seth Godin, Bryan Stevenson, and Joseph Campbell has been very inspiring for me in this sense.” – Flynn Coleman, International Human Rights Lawyer + Fashion Entrepreneur