WHM: Female Founders and CEOs That Leave Us In Awe (Part 3)

Women’s History Month offers us an opportunity to look at women and their contributions to the world more clearly. At Awe Inspired, we honor women every single day, and for Women’s History Month, we have been so proud to partner with women-founded brands and companies that are making a true, positive difference.


In Part 3 of our blog series (we encourage you to also read Part 1 and Part 2), we are spotlighting a nutraceutical brand called Juna and a gift-giving company called Gifts for Good. We hope their stories inspire you.


Get to know: Taylor Lamb of Juna


Juna, a nutraceutical brand that offers science-backed, plant-based solutions to combat stress and other common ailments (like insomnia), was founded by Taylor Lamb and Jewel Zimmer specifically to provide relief to women who are overwhelmed by all of life’s many stressors. We interviewed Taylor to get more insight into the company and how Juna helps women.


Awe: Can you give more information on what a “nutraceutical” is and what sets it apart?

TL: An alternative to pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals draw power from natural foods and plants. They may range from isolated nutrients, herbal products, plant supplements and more that are used to improve health, delay the aging process, prevent chronic diseases, increase life expectancy, or support the structure or function of the body.

 Juna is the leading nutraceutical brand taking a problem solving approach to top women’s issues through science-backed plants. We are on a mission to prove that plants can be as effective as quick-fix pharmaceuticals and provide lasting, long-term benefits.


Awe: What challenges have you had to overcome to make your business thrive? If applicable, what challenges do you think you’ve faced because you are a woman?

TL: I have a toddler and am currently 8 months pregnant so there are clearly some challenges I have had to face being a woman that a man might not have... like how to deal with maternity leave while running a business (twice). But, I personally think being a woman offers way more advantages than challenges. Women are resilient, amazing multi-taskers, complex problem-solvers, have higher EQ, are natural-born nurturers, great listeners and so much more! Not only that but I have an amazing support system of strong women as well. I could never be where I am today without all the amazing female role models, friends, and family who have helped me along the way. 


Awe: Will you elaborate on why it was so important for you to create a product that helped women in particular?

TL: Women everywhere are more sleep deprived, stressed, overworked, and anxiety ridden than ever before and as female founders, entrepreneurs and mothers my co-founder, Jewel Zimmer, and I experienced this first hand. True necessity led us to the creation of Juna because we ultimately were looking for relief but didn’t want to turn to prescriptions and pharmaceuticals. Juna offers plant-powered solutions to optimize mind, body, mood, and sleep. We are looking to redefine the wellness space by offering these effective, yet natural alternatives for women so they can show up everyday as the best version of themselves.


Awe: What is the biggest lesson the process of building Juna from the ground up has taught you?

TL: It really helps to have an amazing co-founder, Jewel Zimmer, where we both bring different ideas, perspectives, and skills to the table. Juna is so much more dynamic and multifaceted because of this.

 I think the biggest lesson I have learned is staying true to our north star, trusting my gut, and only putting content and products out into the world that I personally love and would want to use/read/share. It's also so important that we always stay true to our brand pillars of 1. solving a clear problem/need, 2. are not only science-backed but truly effective and help women feel better 3. our products fit into our customer’s routine verses trying to change it, and 4. all ingredients are 100% plant-powered and incorporate the highest level of clean ingredients. This is the formula we follow when developing into new products and new product categories. 

When it comes to branding and brand voice, we always aim to be authentic and honest. Since my co-founder and I are both within Juna’s target demographic, it makes it a bit easier to always step back and ask ourselves if it resonates with us on an emotional level - did we laugh, learn, or connect with it? And ultimately, is it something we would want to share with our friends? 

 

Get to know: Laura Hertz of Gifts for Good

 

Gifts for Good is a B-Corp Certified company providing gift-giving solutions that are truly authentic and meaningful. The company supports over 60 non-profits and social enterprises in 50 states and 72 countries. In our interview, CEO Laura Hertz explains how everyday purchases can be a force for good.

 

Awe: Gifts for Good is doing amazing work and supporting so many worthy causes. Giving someone a gift is a very personal and significant act. In fact, Awe Inspired was founded because there were so few truly meaningful gifts to give cancer survivors that really spoke to them and honored what they had gone through. In this way, Gifts for Good and Awe Inspired are 100% aligned. It can be so difficult to pick a gift, but what would you say is the most important aspect of choosing one for somebody?

 LH: The most important aspect of choosing a gift for somebody is choosing a high-quality product that is both beautiful, and functional. But beyond the product itself, I believe that every gift given should give back. And that is for good reason—when a gift gives back, it tells a story. Whether the gift is handcrafted by individuals with disabilities or empowering women refugees, the gift becomes a physical token memorializing a moment, experience, and feeling you create for the gift recipient. Gift-giving is by nature an act of altruism — showing unselfish concern for the well-being of others. When you choose a gift that gives back, it is truly thoughtful and serves as a gesture of care that is not soon forgotten. And for the people who worry about what others will think of the gift they're giving someone, giving a gift with a social impact can rarely be taken negatively... who doesn't enjoy doing business or being friends with a kind human being? 

 

Awe: What challenges have you had to overcome to make your business thrive? If applicable, what challenges do you think you’ve faced because you are a woman?

LH: As a young female CEO, I encounter both men and women who don’t take me seriously because of either my age or my sex. On several occasions, I’ve had men directly approach my co-founder to have important business conversations and leave me completely in the dark. Men are often taken aback when I defend a strong viewpoint, or ask to be included in a meeting my male colleagues would never have to ask to be a part of. I’ve learned that it is okay to not take on a new client or a partnership opportunity if I am not treated with respect. I've also learned that if I’m ever going to be considered a true ‘equal’ and be taken seriously by some men in the business world, I need to often be assertive and straightforward and ditch my typical ‘nice girl’ attitude.

 

Awe: How important was it for you to establish Gifts for Good as a B Corp and what did the certification process teach you?

LH: When we founded the business, Gifts for Good was not initially a Certified B Corp. Becoming a Certified B Corp was an intensive year-long certification process that took a lot of time, energy, and dedication from our team; we committed to the Certification process because it was important to both our team, and our stakeholders, to hold ourselves accountable to a high, third party standard of social, economic, and environmental impact. Going through the B Corp Certification process reminded us that beyond our nonprofit and social enterprise partners, and our fulfillment center being run by Goodwill Southern California, there were so many additional ways where our business could have deeper and wider impact on the world—from the people we choose to hire for our graphic design needs, to our shipping policies, to hiring team members from a breadth of different age groups—every decision you make as a business matters and impacts people and the planet. 

 

Awe: For Women’s History Month, we are profiling you and other influential women. Who are some women that have inspired you?

LH: One woman that has truly inspired me every week over the last five years as I have grown Gifts for Good is our Chief Impact Officer, Jenise Steverding. Jenise was one of the founding members of TOMS Shoes global giving program, and has consciously chosen jobs where she can create the most impact on other people's lives during her career including working on the frontlines doing medical relief for Giving Children Hope, and helping those with disabilities at the Special Olympic World Games. She always leads first with impact and makes every decision for the greater good of humanity, and I am always inspired by her leadership. 

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