8 Women Who Will Totally Inspire You

Starting a business takes hard work, dedication and commitment. There are so many amazing, badass business women who have innovated and changed the way we live and care for our bodies!

We decided to talk to 9 awesome women that inspire us, about why they started companies focused on women’s health and empowerment, and what their daily routines look like. 9 women who we think should be on your radar are:

  • Sara Panton – Vitruvi
  • Elena Favilli – Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
  • Francesca Cavallo – Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
  • Kat Schneider – Ritual
  • Miki Agrawal – Thinx
  • Chakameh Shafii – TranQool
  • Ashley Wiles – Sole Girls
  • Bunny and Taran Ghatrora – Ellebox

Sara Panton – Vitruvi

Website | Instagram

Sara Panton Vitruvi

What inspired you to start a company focused on women and health?

I was always fascinated by the health practices and rituals of other countries and cultures. My undergraduate degree was in Global Health Sciences and during that time I worked for the organization WE. Working with them allowed me to travel and learn about practices in Kenya, India, Morocco and around the world. While I was in medical school studying the cranial nerve for scent (the olfactory nerve) and I loved the benefits that scent had on the brain and body. 

Vitruvi then became my passion project and I loved getting to share the traditional practices and uses of essential oils from around the world and pair them with a modern approach to blending and using essential oils in our everyday lives. 

Being able to make products for women that allow them to take care of themselves is really a dream. It’s so incredible to know that the products we work so hard to create have a positive influence in women’s days and my hope is that vitruvi products give them a little more energy, or balance, or grounding so they can take on the world. 

What does your ideal healthy day look like?

I really do love being part of a company that stands for wellness and intentional living and our office culture reflects that. We have healthy breakfasts as a team everyday, snacks and a policy where people are welcome to workout or take a exercise class during their lunch hour.  My days are pretty busy and I travel quite often so I keep my wellness and health practices as consistent as I can. My motivation and focus for these is to keep my brain and body as sharp as possible so I can do my best work. 

A few things that I do regularly that I think keep me healthy:

  1. Morning Smoothie (I’ve had the same thing every morning for 4 years): Almond Milk, Vega Vanilla Protein Powder, Organic Blueberries
  2. Espresso, because it’s a health food to me  
  3. 30 minute workout in the morning: I switch up my routine. Sometimes it’s as short as 15 – 20 minutes, but it just clears my head and I find I hold myself and my posture better throughout the day when I workout in the morning. Staying physically strong is really important to me, days can be long and there are times that I am sitting constantly, so strength training is all that I do. 
  4. To-Do Lists / Journaling: I use a Moleskin notebook, I have for years and I have my own system for each day that I’ve created over the last 7 years of using them, tasks and key deliverables for different areas of my life, and a short journal to reflect on where I am and what’s going on. It’s important to get things out on paper and also makes it great for reflecting  
  5. Essential Oils: I diffuse a mixture of Cedarwood and Bergamot essential oil at my desk everyday and it helps keep me grounded and in the zone.  At the office I put Peppermint and Lemon in our diffusers in the morning to help everyone wake up naturally  While I travel I use our Focus Mist to get in the zone to do emails on planes and hotel rooms. 
  6. Greens: I eat a lot of plants and I am mostly vegan, I find my energy and stamina are better when I eat as green as I can. 
  7. Supplements:  I take a mixture of vitamins everyday. Probiotics, Vega’s Chlorella tablets, Iron, Selenium, B vitamin complex, Omegas, Rhodiola, Vitamin D, and Calcium (this is especially key when I’m travelling) 
  8. Sleep (I’m working on this one, I get usually 6 hours a night and try to do 8 hours on the weekends if I can) I use our sleep mist every evening especially when I travel. 
  9. Friends / phone calls: Depending on what city I’m in I try to connect with friends at least once a week, I’m lucky to have a pretty awesome network of brilliant woman in different cities around the world. A glass of wine or cup of tea with a girlfriend can really do wonders  Also, I call my parents at least 3 times a week to check in and get the update from them, they are awesome and keep me grounded when work and life are swirling. 
  10. Eucalyptus + Grapefruit Steam: Each evening I do a face steam with eucalyptus and grapefruit oil, if I’m in a rush (most evenings) I will put 1 drop of eucalyptus and 2 drops of grapefruit oil on a hot washcloth and hold it over my face for a minute. It helps clean out the pores and the aroma refreshes me before bed — it’s become a habit wherever I am. 
  11. I make my own products: I design all my own skincare products using our essential oils, cleanser, eye cream and face oil — It allows me to keep my skin balanced and use only organic products and makeup on my face. 

What’s your mantra? Do you have a quote that you live by?

“If not you, then who?” It’s a great test to see what projects and opportunities you are truly passionate about. It’s my personal and professional mantra  

Elena Favilli (left) & Francesca Cavallo (right) – Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls

Website | Instagram: Elena, Francesca

Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

What inspired you to start Rebel Girls?

We had been working in the children’s media space for the past 5 years and witnessed from the inside how gender stereotypes still permeate books for children of all ages. Parents are offered little resources to counter this trend and they are especially concerned about the lack of strong female role models in children’s media. That’s why we decided to create this book.

It’s important for girls to see female role models. It helps them become more confident and set bigger goals for themselves. We’re both in our early 30s, we’re female entrepreneurs, and we know firsthand how hard it is to succeed, to be considered, to be given a chance. Research shows that by the time girls reach elementary school, they already have less confidence in themselves than boys. That is why changing the narrative early on is so important.

We wanted to feature women from as many countries as possible, because children’s media productions don’t just lack diversity in terms of gender, but also in terms of race, sexual orientation, religious background. We also wanted to feature women in as many careers as possible: we wanted to have trombonists, marine biologists, judges, Presidents, spies, chefs, surfers, poets, rock singers.

Finally, we selected women whose personal stories had something that could be particularly interesting for a child, for example the fact that the famous chef, Julia Child, started her career as a spy, cooking shark-repellent cakes during WW2.

 This is the most important thing we’ve ever worked on. It comes from a very personal place for both of us. We both deeply care about women’s rights and we wanted our work to have an impact on female empowerment. We want to get this book on the nightstand of every girl, because we’re sure it will help them make big inspirational dreams and encourage them to fight for who they are and what they want to accomplish.

You run a health positive company, what does your ideal healthy day look like?

We found a lot of benefits in terms of focus and energy by integrating exercise in our life. We lift weights and do cardio about 3 times per week and we take long walks at the end of each day. During campaigns, we have less time to hit the gym but we never give up walks!

 We don’t buy processed foods and sweets. We force ourselves to go out if we really want an ice cream!

 Francesca: I love Headspace and I start every day meditating for 15 minutes with their app, it’s the best subscription I’ve ever had. Worth every penny.

 Elena: I know that to stay focused I need to sleep for 8 hours a day.

What’s your mantra? Do you have a quote that you live by? 

One of our favorite ones is the Italian Nobel Prize Rita Levi Montalcini’s quote, contained in Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: “Above alldon’t fear difficult moments. The best comes from them.”

Kat Schneider – RITUAL

Website | Instagram

Kat Schneider Ritual

What inspired you to start a company focused on women and their health?

When I was pregnant, I cared more than ever what I was putting in and on my body– I switched out the deodorant, toothpaste and other products I was using daily for ones with better ingredients. When I took a look at my vitamins I realized that the same potentially harmful ingredients (aluminum, carrageenan, etc.) that I was avoiding throughout my house were in the vitamins I was taking everyday.

The more I researched the vitamin industry the more I realized that it was a black box. I couldn’t find a brand I trusted or really connected with, so I decided to build Ritual from the ground up. The result is a totally reinvented daily vitamin.

You run a health positive company, what does your ideal healthy day look like?

I’m all about stringing together small, healthy habits that make for an ideal day when executed one after the other. I’m an early riser – usually wake up around 5 am when my daughter starts calling for me – but I do my best to get at least 6 hours of sleep.

Before I head out, I’ll take my Essential for Women (sometimes with a mix of coconut water and blue algae) and I always get in some exercise during the day – even if sometimes it’s only my walk to our office! The most important thing for me in staying healthy is knowing not to strive for perfection but to strive for balance – having a healthy habit helps you fall back on something constant. Also, enjoy your life because it’s short!

What’s your mantra? Do you have a quote that you live by?

Trust yourself. Everyone has an opinion about everything. You should listen to the opinions of others, but to ultimately go with your gut and trust your intuition. The more you hone your ability to weed out opinions and to make quick but important decisions, the more you will succeed.

Miki Agrawal – THINX

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Miki Agrawal THINX

What inspired you to start a company focused on women and health?

I just kept having period accidents every month. After talking with a lot of women, it became clear that most women had tough, messy period experiences too. I simply wanted to provide a better period experience for all women, while also breaking the period taboo once and for all. I also wanted to support women in the developing world who didn’t have access to menstrual products. I knew that I won the lottery of life to have been born with access to my most basic needs and wanted to do something about it for those who didn’t.

Now I’m focusing on tackling my next taboo: poop.  Did you know that the way we wipe (with toilet paper) hasn’t changed since the 1800s and is causing chronic infections like UTIS, hemorrhoids and yeast infections, not to mention killing 15 million trees per year to make toilet paper? Crazy right?

So I created Tushy, a modern, designer bidet attachment that clips onto any standard toilet and upgrades your health, your hygiene and quite literally, your life. And it’s only $69 for the most game changing thing you could possibly do for yourself. Oh and it’s great for when you’re on your period too 

You run a health positive company, what does your ideal healthy day look like?

I meditate every morning (even if only 10 minutes sometimes), go to the gym every other day, drink smoothies, eat tons of organic berries, try and get to nature at least a few times a month, spend time with positive, smart, generative people and genuinely love the challenges of breaking taboos and changing culture through business innovation and design. I love what I get to do every day which makes life so much more fun! 

What’s your mantra? Do you have a quote that you live by?

Iteration is perfection. Life is an iterative process and there will be twists and turns and big wins and big disappointments but as long as I keep learning, growing and am in full integrity within myself, then it’s all worth it. 

Chakameh Shafii – TRANQOOL

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Chakameh Shafii TRANQOOL

What inspired you to start a TranQool?

I started TranQool because of my personal experience with anxiety and the power therapy gave me. Not only was I able to face my anxiety at the time, but gained life skills that have made life much more enjoyable for me.

You run a health positive company, what does your ideal healthy day look like?

My day starts early at around 7am. I either meditate for 10 minutes or write in my 5 minute journal. I have to exercise daily so I make time for it during lunch (there are exceptions when meetings come up and that’s when I go in the evening). So I’d say my secret health hack is daily exercise, and I make sure to do different classes so it’s not boring. I do combinations of cardio, weight and endurance training.

What’s your mantra? Do you have a quote that you live by?

Never stop dreaming. I’ve always been a dreamer, every time I’ve stopped dreaming my life has become miserable. Dreaming allows me to imagine and my favourite quote is by Gloria Steinem “Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”

Ashley Wiles – SOLE GIRLS

Website | Instagram

What inspired you to start a company focused on women’s empowerment?

My own experience as a girl and as a woman.  I know that we all have a story and there is a lot of shame and fear in being our best selves. Women and girls are so powerful and beautiful and need to know that. I was inspired by Amanda Todd who took her own life in 2013 because of mental health and bullies and realized that girls need more from us. 

You run a health positive company, what does your ideal healthy day look like?

I train for Ironman so I am always active and recognize the power of eating proper fuel and what it does for my mental and physical performance on the daily! A regular day looks like a morning meditation (short!) morning workout (swim/bike or run) recovery nutrition and breakfast, work, lunch, work and sometimes 2nd workout and then dinner. and work/relax. My health hack is planning – plan meals, plan accountability buddies, plan the things that are hard to stick to. 

What’s your mantra? Do you have a quote that you live by?

Wooo!!! I have a lot of mantras but I sign my emails with: Believe you Can! and Say often: Sole Awesome! Release your inner Awesome Find your Happy Pace And live by them all.

Bunny & Taran Ghatrora – Ellebox

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inspiring women Bunny and Taran Ghatrora


What inspired you to start a company focused on women’s health and empowerment?

Taran: Ellebox was first and foremost born on the premise that periods could be made easier, and that pads and tampons should be delivered monthly. I was living in Wales for law school and found that I could have any essentials delivered to my door via subscription, except feminine hygiene products, a real monthly need. After doing some research, I concluded that this space was overlooked, probably because of the taboo and stigma around periods.

Around the time we started Ellebox while in my final year of law school, my sister and co-founder Bunny learned she had PCOS. We discovered that there is a link between ingredients in mainstream tampons and symptoms of PCOS, a condition that 1/10 women experience. It was disturbing and disheartening to find out that the mainstream tampons women have been using for years aren’t required by the FDA to disclose their ingredients.

We are both deeply tied to solving this problem. We value sisterhood, empowerment and transparency. We’re very conscious of the products we put in and around our bodies, and their ingredients. Pads and tampons should be no different and becoming a woman should be celebrated.

You run a health positive company, what does your ideal healthy day look like?

We start the day with green smoothies and coffee, always coffee. Mornings are really important because they set the tone for the day Both of us have 5 Minute Journals and take some time to set our intentions for the day.

We recently started using ClassPass to add more variety to our workout routines. Living in Vancouver means we’re lucky to have the mountains, so we get out and hike a few times every month, too.

For the products we use for personal care and life in general, we’re conscious of the ingredients, whether it be our laundry detergent, toothpaste or deodorant. Transparency is important. No endocrine disruptors! 

To unwind, we spend time with our family, friends and dog, Junior.

What’s your mantra? Do you have a quote that you live by?

Have fun and get shit done! And wherever you go, take a little sunshine.