In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we’re calling all the ladies to the dance floor because this song is for you! Women form an integral part of both the local economy and of the Oliver’s family – from our employees to our vendors, we depend on creative and talented women to bring our customers the very best service and products possible. We’re taking this opportunity to say “thank you” and call-out some of the incredible female-owned and/or led businesses that keep Sonoma County thriving! We’ll also shed some light the struggles women continue to face in the marketplace, as well as let you know all the ways you can help. It’s ladies’ night, and the feeling’s right!
Why Women in Business?
It’s the essence of the American Dream: a business, built from the ground up with passion and dedication, becoming a thriving member of the local economy and the source of personal financial independence. While enterprising women have always been able to carve out a niche in this dreamer’s market, it is only recently that women on the whole have begun to receive recognition in the world of business, and it’s more recently still that women have begun to make inroads into traditionally male-dominated industries and to take on roles typically filled by men. The effect been measurable: according to a 2015 study conducted by Babson College, female-owned or led businesses were valued at both first and last funding to be worth more on average than their male-run counterparts (approximately 64% more at first funding versus 49% more at last). Similarly, a 2016 global survey conducted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that increasing the presence of skilled female managers by just 30% was linked with a 15% uptick in net revenue margins. The same study noted a distinct link between the presence of female leadership and profitability, which it attributed to the unique perspective and diverse ideas women add to the workplace.
Despite the clear advantages, women still make up less than 10% of the world’s corporate CEO’s, and less than half of all major corporations include women among their board members or lower-level executives. Nevertheless, it is possible to see improvement! For an example, let’s take a look at the wine industry. In a 2011 survey of California wineries, only 10% reported having a woman in the position of lead winemaker; however, a follow-up survey conducted in 2020 showed that number had increased marginally to 14%. The survey found that many of these women were the first woman at their winery to hold a high-level leadership position, and it also noted an increase in the number of women starting independent wine labels or acting as independent winemaking consultants. While the industry is still undeniably dominated by men, and while women on the whole face a far more rigorous vetting process than men in the same position, this steady increase in female leadership hopefully points toward a trend that will only increase in the future.
The Power of Women in Small Business
While it is incredibly important to include more women in corporate leadership positions, female-owned and led small businesses are the real economic powerhouses and the foot-soldiers in the fight for women in business. Collectively, female owned or led small businesses add almost $2 trillion to the economy annually, and employment at woman-owned small businesses account for around 13 million jobs! Despite this overwhelming (and growing) proportion of female entrepreneurs, woman-owned small business are still vastly underrepresented in terms of funding and marketing. According to a 2019 study conducted by the Columbia Business School, woman-owned and/or fronted businesses are still 63% less likely to receive venture capitol funding versus their male counterparts, and in the 2020 Visa “State of Female Entrepreneurship Report”, an additional 66% reported trouble receiving funding overall. With less money to spend at startup and difficulty receiving funding once established, many female-owned companies face slow growth and a potential loss of their competitive edge in the marketplace.
So, what can we do to help? Why, buy from female-owned companies, of course! With literally millions of businesses to choose from, making the conscious choice to buy woman-owned or led is the easiest way to make your voice heard while also providing vital funding to grow and maintain woman-owned businesses. You can also support organizations that provide education, funding, advocacy, and marketing resources specifically for women in business, like the National Women’s Business Council or The Boss Network. You can also choose to shop at places like Oliver’s that support local female artisans and entrepreneurs year-round through their business! This week, we’re showing off some of our very favorite lady-owned, lady-made, and lady-led products so you can play your part in supporting these incredible business-women with ease – check out what’s in store below!
Assorted Cookies ($1.99/ea, 2oz)
The brainchild of owner and accomplished pastry chef Tracy Mattson, Cookie: Take A Bite combines European sensibility with Sonoma County artistry. Every cookie is baked in-house and fresh to-order, and no cookie is too big nor too sweet, meaning you can enjoy every delicious morsel and still have room for coffee! Plus, with over a decade of culinary experience at some of the finest restaurants in the country and the world, Tracy’s cookies are guaranteed to be creative and delicious every time. Pick up a pack today, and take a bite for yourself!
Fratty Corners ($39.99/lb), Laychee ($8.99/ea, 6oz)
Pennyroyal Farm produces everything from fine wines to farm-to-table cuisine, but we know (and love) them best for their cheeses! Under the watchful eye of head cheesemaker and herd manager Erika McKenzie-Chapter, Pennyroyal produces cheeses that are rooted in seasonality and sustainability. Pennyroyal’s small-batch cheeses are created using milk from their own sheep and goats and ingredients grown right on their farm, allowing their cheeses the individuality and authenticity that only comes with farmstead production. Their animals are also allowed to go through their natural reproductive cycle, keeping their herds happy and healthy despite meaning they can’t produce certain cheeses year-round. Enjoy a taste of luxury with their uber-decadent Fratty Corners, or try some the ultra-seasonal and super fresh Laychee!
Sriracha Glass Noodle Salad ($7.99/lb), Curried Tofu Salad ($3.99/ea, 8oz)
Based out of San Francisco, Epicurean Solutions is the bay area’s premier provider of gourmet vegetarian salads! Owned and operated by power-couple Kelly Heiser and Moira Tokatyan, this dynamic duo share a dedication to their craft that is evident in every salad they produce. Each dish is made using the freshest ingredients possible, and all their salads are prepared with care by hand. Epicurean Solutions always allows their ingredients to dictate their salads and never back down from a challenge, so every salad ends up a celebration of both creativity and flavor. This week, add some kick to your lunch with their Sriracha Glass Noodle Salad, or swap an ordinary chicken salad for their deliciously vegetarian Curried Tofu Salad instead.
Sparkling Water ($3.49/ea, 8pk)
From the mind that brought you Late July Snacks, we’d like to introduce the latest and greatest in sparkling water – Nixie! Created by noted natural foods entrepreneur Nicole Bernard Dawes, Nixie strives for total transparency in everything they do. This means they never uses synthetic additives or preservatives, and their waters are always contain 0 calories, 0 sugar, and 0 sodium. Plus, Nixie always flavors its waters using USDA certified organic ingredients, so you can always sip with confidence. Nicole comes from a proud tradition of natural food entrepreneurs, and the care she brings to here projects is clear in every refreshing sip – try it for yourself, and taste the difference!
20% Off Vegan Dairy Products
The original vegan dairy, Miyoko Schinner and her creamery have a simple but direct mission: to inspire compassion for all living creatures through plant-powered goodness! This Sonoma County-based company has gone through a serious growth spurt since their early days in Miyoko’s home kitchen, but their philosophy has never wavered, and it shows in their products. Everything from sliced deli cheeses to gourmet aged rounds are produced in their 30,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art production facility, each one a combination of quality organic plant ingredients and the latest in scientific innovation. In addition to being the queen of the vegan dairy scene, Miyoko herself is always working for the betterment of animals and the planet through her tireless environmental, animal, and vegan advocacy. Try any of her incredible vegan dairy products today, and find your own phenomenally vegan-self!
Soaps ($4.99/ea, 4.75oz)
Started initially to provide a prematurely-born daughter with soap gentle enough for her delicate skin, Three Sister’s Apothecary has blossomed into a family business for the ages. Mother and daughter team Pandora and Sabrina (plus Pandora’s sister Emma) still produce their locally-inspired, all-natural herbal soaps right here in Sonoma County, and their products have always been an Oliver’s favorite for a reason! Each bar is hand-crafted with ingredients pulled directly from nature and wrapped in sustainable packaging, and their products never include synthetic preservatives or emulsifiers. As a result, their soaps are gentle on sensitive skin, cleansing and nourishing without stripping or leaving residue. Choose from an assortment of enticing scents, and add some fun to bath-time naturally!
2017 Sonoma County Zinfandel ($15.99/ea)
While being the daughter of Dry Creek Winery’s founder must have come with its perks, president Kim Stare Wallace has more than earned her place at the head of one California and the nation’s leading wineries. Kim’s influence can be felt in every aspect of life at the winery, from the nautical labels to the world-class wines to the incredible events, and her passion and creativity are a big part of what has kept Dry Creek at the forefront of the US wine market. The core of Dry Creek’s philosophy centers on vineyard diversity, as it is this diversity in climate, soil, etc. that allows Dry Creek to produce their incredible range of wines. To this end, Dry Creek always does their best to perfectly match varietal to vineyard, and the results speak for themselves – nuanced wines that are grounded in the land from which they sprung. Perfect for pairing with food or sipping alone, Dry Creek’s wines are sure to be hit with any wine-lover!