Alexis DeSalva Kahler
Alexis is a Senior Research Analyst at Mintel. Alexis focuses on US Retail and eCommerce reports.

This is part two of Mintel’s interview with Rebecca Minkoff. If you missed it, check out part one here.

The goals of the Female Founder Collective are clear: to empower and support female businesses in hopes to normalize female leadership and positively change communities. However, its impact goes beyond that, with plans to better inform consumers in order to flow revenue into female-led companies, creating more profitable and sustainable businesses. That type of action can help, in the long term, make changes to larger issues like the gender wage gap, and provide more measurable and realistic views. Beyond that, Minkoff’s hopes reflect that of a changing family dynamic: reinventing the workday to be more conducive to the modern, working woman, including mothers.

Alexis DeSalva:

New York Fashion Week just wrapped up, and given that there are more players in the fashion industry that are joining the Female Founder Collective, what type of presence do you see the FFC having in the fashion industry, in general, moving forward?

Rebecca Minkoff:

Source: The Female Founder Collective

I think that because my company is fashion, it attracts a lot of designers. Emily [Current] and Meritt [Elliott] who have the company The Great out in LA, they have really taken and spearheaded the growth of the west coast FFC. You have Anine Bing and A.L.C. and Rachel Zoe all joining and then it’s sort of trickled down from there. So I think it’ll always have a heavy fashion presence. Which is fine with me, but I think that as female designers, there’s still a lot to go as far as being even on the same playing field with a lot of the male designers in those companies. So I think the more we can dance together versus fight is definitely beneficial.

AD: I believe that the FFC just celebrated its one year anniversary. What are some of the initial results that stand out to you? How have you seen it grow and what kind of impact have you seen on the current participants?

RM: It grew from an idea and a static page, a launch campaign, and has grown to over 5,000 members, which has been incredible. I think the impact is felt through the founders, which I meet a lot of them. “Thank you so much for starting this. Since you started this, I connected with a lawyer that helped me figure out this one glitch in my business.” It really has been those small things – that seem like small things – but sometimes it can unlock and change the course of a woman’s business. So, the networking component has been what I’ve seen as the biggest difference and I think you’ll continue to see that. I think again, with the consumer seeing this symbol and beginning to recognize it, will start to put her money there.

AD: You’ve talked a lot about your future plans for evolvement. In a perfect world, if you had to think of where you would want to be this time next year with the FFC, what would be some of your main priorities?

RM: We will have launched the database; we will have launched the directory; we will have launched paid memberships. We will, I’m hoping, have figured out our digital education. We have an ambassador program that we have been waiting for the website to be done to be able to turn the lights on that. And the only way you’re going to get access to these investors is through being a member of FFC. I think that is as good as these companies are and ready for investment, they’ll be able to take that money. So I think that’s a very exciting thing.

I think the whole world is operating on Henry Ford’s nine-to-five. I think for women or people that want families, I know that doesn’t work for me even though I’m still doing it.

I think the key to this was also that I brought in a co-founder. Her name is Alison Wyatt. She was formerly Co-founder and President of Girlboss. Along with longtime founding team member Elisabeth Leonard, Director of Community and Brand Partnerships, she will be instrumental in building The Female Founder Collective’s network, partnerships, and community.

AD: (Laughing) Yeah, how do you do it?!

RM: (Laughing) It’s been great to have them.

AD: This is our last big question. What are your hopes for the female entrepreneurs of the future?

RM: What I’m hoping is that it just becomes normal and I’m seriously banking on the fact that we’re going to change the workday hours. I think the whole world is operating on Henry Ford’s nine-to-five. I think for women or people that want families, I know that doesn’t work for me even though I’m still doing it. So how could we reinvent what work looks like – not just ours, but how to be a mom and an involved mom, and have a healthy business? And that will happen with more female founders leading companies. And that you begin to see the wage gap that everyone talks about. At a high level, people say it can be eliminated in the next 50 years. Well, that only happens if you pay five more people $20 million each. Right? So it’s not really a true picture. It brings the average way up. So I’m hoping that the seal becomes very prominent and visible and women start seeing more money flowing into their businesses; that on a grassroots level, from the solo entrepreneur working out of her house to the woman like Farmgirl Flowers who has a multi-million dollar company, you’ll actually be able to measure the wage gap closing that way, and be more on par.

Stay tuned for more as Mintel continues to follow the work of the Female Founder Collective.