What motivated you to pursue your brand full-time?
“After working for someone else for almost 20 years, I was ready to work for myself. I knew how to run a business and knew how to create a brand that performs. With Tushbaby, we knew we had a winner. We created a product that solved a real-world problem and made parents’ lives easier.” - Sara Azadi, Co-Founder and CMO of Tushbaby
“I’ve always been deeply passionate about building things and creating products that change the way people move through the world. I’ve been deeply passionate about hair since I was young— it’s such a major part of my identity and I realized the disconnect between the way the industry and professional lines talked about haircare, versus how I was talking with my community about it. It all started with a Google doc of recommendations and it became so clear that what I wanted to recommend to friends didn’t exist in the world, so I decided to start Crown Affair.” - Dianna Cohen, Founder and CEO of Crown Affair
“I spent a year conceptualizing Alala before leaving my full-time job. During that time, I did a lot of research into understanding the white space I was going after and making sure that there was a big enough opportunity. I wanted to pour myself into the brand full-time once I hired a designer to design the first collection. I do think it’s important to understand your financial situation before you decide to jump into your brand full-time because a lot of the time it’s difficult to start making money right away.” - Denise Lee, Founder and CEO of Alala
“I’ve always struggled to shop for swim, so I wanted to start a company that just got it. That made beautiful, well-made swimsuits that are easy to shop for and easy to wear. I ran a Kickstarter campaign for Andie, and when it got enough traction, I decided to quit my day job and pursue Andie full-time. That was before we even launched, so it was a scary time! But well worth it.” - Melanie Travis, Founder and CEO of Andie
“As I looked at the world of wellness 6+ years ago, it was pretty intimidating and overwhelming. I was inspired to create something in wellness that felt truly easy, approachable, and fun for everyone.” - Trinity Mouzon Wofford, Co-Founder of Golde
What’s a major challenge you’ve had to overcome as a female founder?
“People can be really unkind, and sometimes even more so, to women in business. We’d have people say to us, ‘Isn’t that why you have hips?’ or ‘Wow, moms have really gotten lazy if they need this product’ or ‘What do you two know about business?’ These things were said to us without knowing our history in business or our own personal struggles as caregivers and working moms looking for better solutions. When encountering these folks in meetings, I like to say, ‘Well, we have feet for walking too but thank goodness someone, my guess, probably a woman, invented shoes.’ It usually gets a laugh or two but also turns this perspective on its head. Just because we’ve been doing something one way for a long time, doesn’t mean it’s the right way.” - Sara Azadi, Co-Founder and CMO of Tushbaby
“We live in a world where leadership is ruled by masculine energy. I’ve worked at some of the highest-growth consumer startups from the last decade and it was all operated and built through that lens. The pandemic showed us that the old ways aren’t sustainable— we need a thoughtful, intentional — what I call ‘no splashing’ approach to building a business and being a leader. Lead with grace, a sense of calm, tapping into the feminine energies that defy what traditional success has looked like. It takes time and unlearning, but building something from that aligned place is one of the greatest joys of my life.” - Dianna Cohen, Founder and CEO of Crown Affair
“One major challenge I’ve had to overcome as a founder, in general, is the mental challenge of imposter syndrome, and feeling like I am just as capable of building a successful company. It’s a journey that I don’t think we ever complete, but it is an important one in every founder's evolution.” - Denise Lee, Founder and CEO of Alala
“Fundraising has always been the biggest challenge. As a woman fundraising for a female-focused brand, many investors I pitched just didn’t see the potential. Thankfully, ultimately I found great investors who really believe in me and in the vision so it all worked out.” - Melanie Travis, Founder and CEO of Andie
“Self-doubt is something that so many female founders, myself included, have struggled with. Imposter syndrome can lead you to believe that you don’t really deserve to be in the spaces that you’ve made it to. Over time, I’ve learned to get better at quieting that voice inside.” - Trinity Mouzon Wofford, Co-Founder of Golde
What’s the one piece of advice you would give a female entrepreneur?
“If you truly believe in the idea, know it will solve a real-world challenge, and, most importantly, you’ve sought and gotten great feedback on your idea from other women you trust and admire, then go for it! The one thing about women is that we are naturally attuned to solving problems and are great at building communities. Use those instincts to your advantage and then get the data to back it all up and continue to enhance and grow your idea.” - Sara Azadi, Co-Founder and CMO of Tushbaby
“Women are so powerful and incredible but I know so many of us are recovering ‘perfectionists’— I would say to us: bring people with you on your journey. Share as you go. People want to be a part of what they help create. Operating from a place of abundance and releasing the idea of failure is so powerful as a woman.” - Dianna Cohen, Founder and CEO of Crown Affair
“One piece of advice I would give a new entrepreneur is to develop your intuition. There is so much information out there, and so many opinions that if you choose to listen to external sources, a lot of times, you might find it difficult to find the right answer. I found in my experience that my gut intuition is right a lot of the time and what’s thrown me off track was ignoring that and listening to the advice of others.” - Denise Lee, Founder and CEO of Alala
“To surround yourself with great mentors - they can be so helpful when things get hard, they can be great for intros, and ideally they’re there when you just need to bounce ideas around.” - Melanie Travis, Founder and CEO of Andie
“Be yourself. It’s cliché, but as long as you stay true to your own mission and values, you’ll never miss.” - Trinity Mouzon Wofford, Co-Founder of Golde
What’s the most fulfilling part of your work?
“The customer stories of how we’ve changed their lives, especially from those parents with special needs children, make it all worth it. We have a large following from the Cerebral Palsy community. Tushbaby can hold up to 45lbs, so, many children that can’t walk or have trouble walking are no longer confined to strollers and for the first time get to be eye-to-eye with their caretakers, seeing the world from a new perspective. Also, customer feedback fuels new ideas and passion to create new products which I love doing! I love designing and creating.” - Sara Azadi, Co-Founder and CMO of Tushbaby
“Seeing people’s hair health transform with our formulas and tools. Seeing how our customers change the language they use when they think about themselves or their hair. It’s why I do what I do.” - Dianna Cohen, Founder and CEO of Crown Affair
“The most fulfilling part of my work is when I see people I don’t know wearing Alala on the streets and also when I get people telling me that they love wearing their Alala. I get especially excited when I see girls wearing ALALA pieces from many seasons ago because it just speaks to the timeless style and great quality that we strive to put into all our products.” - Denise Lee, Founder and CEO of Alala
“Seeing women wear our product in the wild. That is always the most fulfilling. Going to the beach and seeing women wearing Andie suits is such a great feeling - it never gets old.” - Melanie Travis, Founder and CEO of Andie
“Creating amazing, feel-good products that make our community’s lives better.” - Trinity Mouzon Wofford, Co-Founder of Golde
What has been the biggest risk you took to grow your business?
“I think it comes down to preserving your mental health because people don’t talk about that often enough as a risk. I’ve had those moments of thinking this is too hard. The uncertainty gives me anxiety and I worry a lot more now than I did when I worked for a big corporation. But what always overcomes those feelings of doubt and fear is the fact that I have visibility into everything. I know what’s true and what’s not. This calms me down yet also drives me. I work for me. I work for my success and the security of my family. I no longer have a career path but rather an ‘accountability path.’ I see success through a new lens and that lens is, “what crazy thing am I going to succeed at next?” - Sara Azadi, Co-Founder and CMO of Tushbaby
“None of it feels like a risk— I’m so focused on the why and the what that I haven’t thought about the risks. Risk, by definition, is ‘a situation involving exposure to danger.’ In that sense, I guess everything is a risk, but no matter what happens, I know I’ll pick myself up and figure it out. Consistency and resilience is the key to entrepreneurship. Just show up every day and figure it out.” - Dianna Cohen, Founder and CEO of Crown Affair
“The biggest risk I took to grow my business was to take out a bank loan with a personal guarantee. Product businesses take a lot of capital to grow and because I did not want to take outside investment, a bank loan was the best option for me. I think founders need to understand the financial consequences of taking money from any external source And how they can be personally responsible for repaying those loans.” - Denise Lee, Founder and CEO of Alala
“I have taken so many risks along the way…how to choose! One of the biggest risks I took was launching the business in Australia. Launching in a new geography requires a significant upfront investment, and takes a lot of bandwidth across the team. Thankfully the risk paid off, and now our Australian arm is a significant part of our business!” - Melanie Travis, Founder and CEO of Andie
“We self-funded for three years. There was a lot of personal credit card debt!” - Trinity Mouzon Wofford, Co-Founder of Golde
Which female-founded brands have inspired you recently?
“I’m obsessed with Brother Vellies and their founder Aurora James. She has not only built a sustainable fashion line but is changing the way large retailers support and carry black-owned brands. Also, I love female-led brands that are reinventing established industries. So I'm a big fan of Mejuri, Cuyana, and Parachute.” - Sara Azadi, Co-Founder and CMO of Tushbaby
“I’m inspired by my mentor Ara Katz, who is the founder of Seed. Kelly Wearstler is a huge inspiration to me from an aesthetic and storytelling perspective. Amy Liu from Tower28 is incredible. Also, Gucci Westman from Westman Atietler is so kind and a big inspiration for how to build something thoughtful in beauty.” - Dianna Cohen, Founder and CEO of Crown Affair
“There are so many female-founded brands that I love. Recently, I have been using my friend Lisa’s flower teas from The Qi as part of a new morning ritual and those have really brought me joy in my day.” - Denise Lee, Founder and CEO of Alala
“I am a huge fan of The Sill - I recently moved and got all my houseplants from them. Eliza has built an incredible business with staying power.” - Melanie Travis, Founder and CEO of Andie
“I love brands that have grown in their own unique ways. Rainbo Mushrooms is a favorite in the wellness space. They really own their perspective and don’t try to be anything different from what feels true to them.” - Trinity Mouzon Wofford, Co-Founder of Golde
What are some of your favorite Disco brands and products?
“We love Beekeeper Naturals, also a woman-owned brand, Kopari, and Little Sleepies.” - Sara Azadi, Co-Founder and CMO of Tushbaby
“Brightland, Kosas, and Milk Bar.” - Dianna Cohen, Founder and CEO of Crown Affair
“I love Olive & June and Vegamour.” - Denise Lee, Founder and CEO of Alala
“Faherty is one of my favorite apparel brands. I also love Ettitude’s sheets - so soft!” - Melanie Travis, Founder and CEO of Andie
“So many favorites! Oui the People has amazing body care products, and I never travel without Beekeeper’s Naturals Propolis Spray.” - Trinity Mouzon Wofford, Co-Founder of Golde
What are some of your go-to DTC/eCom resources that have been super valuable to you as a female founder?
“Right when we launched and saw some success, we joined the Female Founder Collective. The Female Founder Collective supports, develops, and elevates the founders of female-owned and led businesses. They bring together women looking to manifest their own economic opportunities and connect them with the tools and education to do it.” - Sara Azadi, Co-Founder and CMO of Tushbaby
“LeanLuxe Slack channel is a goldmine. I also love checking out Thingtesting for reviews and new brands.” - Dianna Cohen, Founder and CEO of Crown Affair
“There are so many great sources for information as a DTC founder. I subscribe to Nik Sharma‘s newsletter and I also really love Chris Harder’s podcast.” - Denise Lee, Founder and CEO of Alala
“There’s a group of female founders called Rad Ladies which has been super valuable to me as I’ve grown Andie. Groups like these are so helpful to get plugged into the community as we all often face similar challenges.” - Melanie Travis, Founder and CEO of Andie
“I think the most valuable resource is your network. I love building relationships with other founders, especially female founders, because we can get real about what’s going on in our lives and our businesses. Sometimes entrepreneurship can feel like a lonely path, so building those relationships is critical.” - Trinity Mouzon Wofford, Co-Founder of Golde
How do you leverage Disco Network’s collective reach, community, and insights to shape your growth and marketing?
“We love that we are able to work with like-minded businesses that are producing beautiful products and that our collective hard work allows us to reach new audiences more effectively. It is really cool to be able to partner with leading DTC brands to drive scalable customer acquisition and revenue.” - Sara Azadi, Co-Founder and CMO of Tushbaby
“Disco’s insights have been so impactful for our marketing team –– we have been able to validate and build several brand partnerships, gain product up-sell knowledge, and learn about our customers in a new way. We are looking forward to Disco’s upcoming opportunities and have loved working with them over the last year!” - Dianna Cohen, Founder and CEO of Crown Affair
“Brand exposure and meeting new customers is always incredibly important to any brand. With paid advertising in the state that it is, Disco has been a great way for us to access and share customer information without the same acquisition costs. It’s also great to understand our customers better by knowing which brands she also loves to shop at.” - Denise Lee, Founder and CEO of Alala
“We leverage Disco post-purchase to help surprise and delight customers with great new brands, just as we appear in the post-purchase landing page of synergistic brands that we love.” - Melanie Travis, Founder and CEO of Andie
“We love partnering with Disco to help our community discover products from some of our other favorite brands! It’s equally cool to see new customers finding Golde through their on-site experiences with other retailers on Disco.” - Trinity Mouzon Wofford, Co-Founder of Golde
Start your customer acquisition journey alongside these inspiring female-founded direct-to-consumer brands, as well as the other 1000+ DTC brands on the Disco Network. Schedule a demo to find out more and get started.