Women-Owned Business Series: Meredith & Carrie from SWAIR
Jun 07, 2023 brooklyn,brooklyn women-owned,business owners,community,empowerment,female founded,female founder,love brooklyn,women-owned,women-owned business,women-owned business spotlight series
Welcome back to our Women-Owned Business Series! We are excited to feature Meredith & Carrie from SWAIR, an environmentally-focused & ingredient-sensitive haircare line! While training for the New York Marathon, which requires so much training, the two felt they sometimes had to choose between working out and washing their hair. Read on to learn about their journey in creating SWAIR below!
First, tell us about your business and anything special we should know about it or you.
SWAIR creates time-saving hair care for people who workout, formulated with clean ingredients. I met my co-founder, Meredith, training for the NYC Marathon, and we were frustrated that we needed to wash and dry our hair after every sweaty run. It was a time consuming process and it was wreaking having on our scalp and hair. We tried dry shampoo, but it was not effective on vey sweaty hair and we knew that the best performing ones contained carcinogens. We knew that other active women shared this pain point, so we started calling labs to hep us create our dream product. The end result was Showerless Shampoo, a non-aerosol spray that actually cleans hair without suds, rinsing or residue.
Why do you feel a connection to your work?
I feel very connected to my work because I am creating products that directly benefit my own life! There is no hair care brand dedicated to people with an active lifestyle, and I am so excited to be creating innovative products that provide safe and convenient solutions for the fitness community.
As a business owner, community is everything. In what ways do you serve your community and how has your community served you?
This is such a great question, and we are lucky to be part of so many different communities. First and foremost, Meredith and I met while training with Team for Kids. It is a running group that raises money for youth track programs in underserved neighborhoods, and it is a cause we are deeply passionate about. We have made some modest donations to the organization, but our hope is to one day partner with them in a more formal way.
In addition, we have surrounded ourselves with different fitness communities as we get the word out about SWAIR. We’ve developed mutually beneficial relationships with run crews, studios and influencers where we provide product for free or at a discount in order to have a platform to share SWAIR with their individual communities.
Last but not least, we are members of several female founder groups. We share resources, collaborate and sometimes just commiserate about the journey of starting a brand. In addition to business relationships, we have created trusted friendships with many of these women.
What advice would you give to young women who want to start a small business?
For young women just starting out, my advice is to think of asking questions as a super power, and don’t be afraid to use it! As a first time founder and industry outsider, I find myself asking many basic questions to other founders, suppliers, and investors. I used to feel embarrassed, but a vast majority of people are incredibly understanding and willing to help.
What women inspire you and why?
Holly Thaggard, founder of Supergoop, is truly an inspiration. Her ability to identify a gap in the market, develop a solution, and build a successful brand is a model that we try to emulate at SWAIR every day. She also uses her platform as a well known founder to encourage other female entrepreneurs and lobby for more females to be in positions of leadership.
What do you think are the most significant challenges for women business owners or women in leadership positions?
We are considering doing a pre-seed fund raise and I have learning a lot of about the limited access to funding for female founders. In 2020, only 2.3% of all venture funding went to female founded business. This is an inexcusable number. While I have seen a large number of grant competitions for women-led business, these are for smaller amounts of money that will not necessarily be “game-changing” for a company’s growth. We need to ensure that there are adequate opportunities and standards for female founders to have access to real capital.
SWAIR achieved its highest grossing month to date in May 2023! In addition, they were named one of Glamour magazine’s top 100 female-founded business of 2023. Congrats to SWAIR! Check out their website to shop their products!