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A Guide to the Best Women-Owned Businesses in Downtown NYC

Small business loans for women

A Guide to the Best Women-Owned Businesses in Downtown NYC

Updated: Feb 5, 2020

A Guide to the Best Women-Owned Businesses in Downtown NYC

We’ve partnered up with Phoebe Lovatt of The WW Club to bring you a guide to some of our favorite women-owned businesses in downtown New York City (and some words of wisdom from the women who run them). 

As the founder of The WW [Working Women’s] Club, I’m all about women who hustle — and there’s no greater hustle than the life of an independent business owner in downtown New York. Overheads are nuts, space is impossible to find, and the sense of competition is really real.

Despite its endless challenges, it’s an exciting time to be in business in NYC. Women business owners here are consistently raising the bar with the ingenuity and execution of their concepts: From the innovative programming and curation at Picture Room, to the globally influential aesthetic of Maryam Nassir Zadeh, many of New York’s most influential small businesses are growing from strength to strength under the artful management of the women who run them.

Better yet? The spirit of collaboration and community that exists among these owners. These women are supporting each other every way they can – be it through hosting collaborative events (a la Sky Ting x CAP Beauty), showcasing each other’s work (find a gorgeous Meta Flora display any day of the week at DIMES), or generally providing a helpful sounding board for other women trying to figure things out (pretty much every woman I’ve encountered since I moved here last year).

In celebration of what we can only hope will be a new era of empowerment for women in the United States, here are some of Bond Street and The WW Club’s favorite women-owned businesses in downtown New York.

SKY TING YOGA

Owners: Krissy Jones + Chloe Kernaghan
Address: 55 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002
Recommended by: Amy Woodside, Phoebe Lovatt

sky ting yoga amy woodside
Amy Woodside at SKY TING YOGA.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a woman business-owner in New York City, and how have you overcome it?
We’re lucky in that, for us, this question hasn’t been so relevant. Perhaps because our industry has such a strong female presence already, we haven’t noticed a struggle in regards to being women. We will say that we are more inclined to collaborate with and thus far have attracted like-minded female entrepreneurs. We rarely are approached by male-run businesses, maybe they can’t handle our strong femme vibes?

Do you have a woman entrepreneur or business owner that has inspired you to do what you do? If so, who (and why)?
Our mentor Nevine Michaan (Katonah Yoga) has definitely paved the way for us to do what we do. She’s the most powerful and influential woman we know — in teaching yoga, creating a community around her work, and inspiring and supporting younger generations to do their own thing. We also are inspired and have learned so much from our female friends who have been supporting us from the start. To name a few special gals: Ty Haney (Outdoor Voices), Sabrina De Sousa and Alissa Wagner (Dimes), Phoebe Lovatt (WWC), Kerrilynn Pamer and Cindy DiPrima (CAP Beauty), and Robyn Berkley (Live the Process).

What piece of advice would you give to women looking to start their own business in New York City?
What has helped us most in starting our own business is finding support from within our own community. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, find people you love to work with! Also, when starting something you have to be super clear about what you’re looking to create and what you believe in. When working from a place that is honest and true to you, your product has a better chance of flourishing!

DIMES

Owners: Sabrina De Sousa + Alissa Wagner
Address: 49 Canal St, New York, NY 10002
Recommended by: Kenzo Minami, Phoebe Lovatt, Krissy Jones + Chloe Kernaghan

Sabrina De Sousa (co-founder of DIMES).

Maryam Nassir Zadeh

Owner: Maryam Nassir Zadeh
Address: 123 Norfolk St, New York, NY 10002
Recommended by: Sabrina De Sousa

Outdoor Voices

Owner: Tyler Haney
Address: 251 Centre St, New York, NY 10013

Tyler Haney at Outdoor Voices.
Tyler Haney at Outdoor Voices.

American Two Shot

Owner(s): Olivia Wolfe + Steph Krasnoff
Address: 135 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

american two shot olivia wolfe and steph krasnoff
Olivia Wolfe and Steph Krasnoff at American Two Shot.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a woman business-owner in New York City, and how have you overcome it?
The biggest challenge in being a women-owned business was coming to terms with the fact that it was as stereotyped as it could be in the beginning — a lot of “oh that’s cute” and “who runs this thing for you”. But that can be mostly about ego, and being concerned with how other people see you. Once we were able to let go of that and realize that we were the bosses, it opened up a whole new world. Being a female employer is amazing because you bring a lot more to the table (sorry fellas). We can connect with our employees and people we work with in a very unique way, and we think that speaks to the kind of company we want to be, the kind of employers we want to be, the kind of people we want to be.

Do you have a woman entrepreneur or business owner that has inspired you to do what you do? If so, who (and why)?
I think before we opened, we were inspired by our friends who are so wonderfully creative, and by our moms most definitely who happened to have raised two women who believe that they can do whatever they want in life. Cheesy as it sounds, it really starts there. Later on, we were lucky to have started American Two Shot at the same time as a few other of our now favorite lady-run businesses. It’s been both empowering and comforting to be able to see a business thriving from an outside perspective, but also be able to relate to the internal struggles that are very real in any small business. Grass Roots Juicery in BK, Baz Bagel and Dimes are businesses that we always want to shout out, because they’re awesome spots and the owners are awesome ladies so it’s a real no brainer.

What piece of advice would you give to women looking to start their own business in New York City?
The advice we’d give to a young woman trying to start a business would be to ask everyone for their advice, especially an entrepreneur or business owner you admire. You can ask for 15 minutes to pick someones brain over a cop of coffee, and as long as its a good cup of coffee, probably most people will say ok! That being said, once you get all of the advice, pick through it and see what speaks to you because at the end of the day, YOU know best. So many women we know have really outrageous gut instincts, and a lot of the decisions we make in our business are made on our gut (after we’ve done our due diligence, of course). If you want to make something happen, you just have to go make it happen! And you can. We’re here for you 🙂

Meta Flora

Owner: Marisa Competello
Recommended by: Tyler Haney

Marisa Competello meta flora

What piece of advice would you give to women looking to start their own business in New York City?
My advice to a woman looking to start a business would be to combine a strong sense of focus and reckless abandonment. Visualize. Manifest.

Coming Soon New York

Owners: Helena Barquet + Fabiana Faria
Address: 37 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Recommended by: Taylor Okata, Sabrina De Sousa, Scarr + Los Francos

 Coming Soon New York

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a woman business-owner in New York City, and how have you overcome it?
It can be hard for women to find financing since it seems that lending sometimes can be a boys’ club. Finding a lender or an investor can be about who you know.
Do you have a woman entrepreneur or business owner that has inspired you to do what you do? If so, who (and why)?
So many women inspire us everyday: Anna Sheffield from Anna Sheffield and Bing Bang, Maribel Araujo from Caracas Arepa Bar, Sarah Schnieder from Egg Shop, Sabrina de Souza and Alissa Wagner from Dimes, Sandy Liang from Sandy Liang, Rachael Yaeger and Rebecca Zhou from Human NYC, Rachel Berks from Otherwild, Lindsey Butler from VEDA, Piera Gelardi from Refinery29, Sera Sloane from Lost Hills LA… the list goes on. But all these women inspire us because they are doing what they want and succeeding in it. Doing what you want requires an enormous amount of courage, and all these women are taking the risk and putting it out there.
What piece of advice would you give to women looking to start their own business in New York City?
Don’t take anyone for granted, always try to support other women and be fearless.

The Odeon

Owner: Lynn Wagenknecht
Address: 145 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013
Recommended by: Baron Von Fancy

Baron Von Fancy at The Odeon.

The Sill

Owner: Eliza Blank
Address: 84 Hester St, New York, NY 10002
Recommended by: Anna Sheffield, Jordana Kier + Alexandra Friedman

anna-sheffield-the-sill
Eliza Blank and Anna Sheffield at The Sill.

What piece of advice would you give to women looking to start their own business in New York City?*
There is no single piece of advice that will help prepare you for entrepreneurship. My point being – each business is unique, and there’s no right way to go about starting one. People around you will be throwing so much advice your way – solicited and unsolicited. Don’t let yourself get distracted. Don’t rely on discovering the ‘magic bullet’ outside of yourself, your product, or your customer. Stay focused and stay the course. Entrepreneurship is trial and error (mostly error); it’s blood, sweat, and tears; and most importantly, it’s hard work and perseverance. *or men

CAP Beauty

Owner: Kerrilynn Pamer + Cindy DiPrima
Address: 238 West 10 St, New York, NY 10014
Recommended by: Krissy Jones + Chloe Kernaghan

CAP Beaty krissy jones and chloe kernaghan
Krissy Jones and Chloe Kernaghan at CAP Beauty.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a woman business-owner in New York City, and how have you overcome it?
KP: I have to admit I don’t believe we’ve encountered challenges that directly relate to us being women business owners in New York City. Or really anywhere for that matter. We work in a field that is filled with intelligent and determined change makers, mostly made up of women, so there’s a strong feeling of us all being in this together. I also believe since we are a mission driven business that primarily caters to women’s needs and wants (we love men too!) we just haven’t run into challenges that directly correlate to us being women.
CP: To be honest, I don’t feel as if we’ve faced any challenges that have affected us specifically because we are women. That isn’t to say there is gender equality in the workforce and in the world of business, but we just happen to exist in a sector that is rich in female leadership and conscious, evolved thinking. We are lucky for that and it isn’t an accident. We created CAP, in part, because we wanted to emerge ourselves in a world where wellness, self-care and modern thought prevail. Frankly, we just wouldn’t do business with anyone who didn’t treat us as equals.

Do you have a woman entrepreneur or business owner that has inspired you to do what you do? If so, who (and why)?
KP: Cindy and I met while working at Martha Stewart so we learned from the queen. Regardless of what you think of Martha, she’s a brilliant business woman with an aesthetic that influences all facets of her business and her life. I’m inspired by her commitment to her beliefs and vision and the fact that they inform all aspects of her life and company. I think the marrying of a personal belief system with a business to be profound and inspiring.
CP: Oh so many! Kerrilynn and I met working at Martha Stewart. Martha is such an icon and a hero and built a business based on the lifestyle she wanted to lead, much like what we’re doing at CAP. Martha created an aesthetic and applied that vision to every aspect of living. We talk all the time about how natural beauty is so much more than a list of ingredients. It’s a lifestyle, a commitment to self care and wellness and a commitment to beauty on every level from the foods we eat to the way we relate to how we care for animals and the planet they inhabit.

What piece of advice would you give to women looking to start their own business in New York City?
KP: Do something you absolutely love. And if you’re looking for a brick and mortar space, find kind and generous landlords. Get yourself a kickass business partner. Create a manifesto that acts as your North Star. And refer to it constantly. And then work really, really hard. But with ease and clarity.”
CP: Be clear about your mission and let it serve as your North Star. And with every decision, check in to make sure that your choices align with your mission. One of the first things we did when we formed CAP Beauty was to write a manifesto. It has guided us in every way and helps us remain clear about why we are here.

McNally Jackson

Owner: Sarah McNally
Address: 52 Prince St, New York, NY 10012

mcnally jackson store new york city

Goods for the Study / Picture Room

Owner: Sandeep Salter + Sarah McNally
Address: 234 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012 / 236 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

picture room sandeep salter
Sandeep Salter at Picture Room.

Mimi Cheng’s

Owner: Hannah + Marian Cheng
Address: 179 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003 + 380 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

mimi chengs restaurant

What piece of advice would you give to women looking to start their own business in New York City?
Don’t be afraid to do something that you have zero experience in. Like most things, you will learn quickly by doing. Experience is the best teacher so get your hands dirty. Also, ignore the naysayers that you will definitely meet; what they say is a reflection of themselves, not you.

Lovely Day

Owner: Kazusa Jibiki
Address: 196 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012
Recommended by: Colin Tunstall + Morgan Collett, Mike Hernandez

lovely day mike hernandez
Mike Hernandez at Lovely Day.

What piece of advice would you give to women looking to start their own business in New York City?
You don’t have to try to work like a man, or someone else whom you are not. You can be a woman entrepreneur and still relax about it. I feel that I’ve been helped by lots of nice people to run Lovely Day. I think what’s important is to have a good communication, be sincere and fair to your staff and vendors. Also, making sure your customers are happy.

Frankie

Owner: Gaelle Drevet
Address: 100 Stanton St, New York, NY 10002
Recommended by: Phoebe Lovatt

phoebe lovatt frankie shop
Phoebe Lovatt at Frankie.
Samantha Novick

Samantha Novick is a senior editor at Funding Circle, specializing in small business financing. She has a bachelor's degree from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. Prior to Funding Circle, Samantha was a community manager at Marcus by Goldman Sachs. Her work has been featured in a number of top small business resource sites and publications.

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