5 Badass Women Leaders In Retail (and Why We Love Them)

Happy International Women’s Day from Narvar! We thought we’d take this occasion to publicly celebrate a few of our favorite ladies in the retail world—women who are taking charge, disrupting the industry, and, well, just doing really cool things in their careers.Below, we highlight five badass women in retail who inspire us on the daily:

Angela Ahrendts - Apple Retail

Named one of Fortune's most powerful women of the year, Apple Retail’s SVP Angela Ahrendts (previously CEO at Burberry) oversees 60,000 retail employees and spearheads the company’s innovative in-store initiatives. A master of omnichannel execution (Apple’s estimated combined revenue from in-store and online sales is nearly $50 billion), Ahrendts is certainly someone we look up to at Narvar, and who women—and men—across the industry should want to learn a thing or two from.

Emily Weiss - Glossier

Glossier Founder and CEO Emily Weiss’ is a marketing genius, as evidenced by her ability to turn her beauty blog Into the Gloss into a cult favorite brand that’s seen product waitlists get up to 10,000 people.

Oh, and she’s achieved it in under four years. She also knows what it means to put in the work—she once told The Cut about her time at Ralph Lauren as a teenager, “You have to be a sponge, you have to be respectful, you have to roll up your sleeves. I really earned my right to be there. I was just like, ‘Put me to work! I love work!’” That mentality has obviously paid off.

Nancy Green - Athleta

With over three decades of experience in the industry, current President and CEO of Athleta Nancy Green has been around the retail block, influencing and growing brands such as Gap, Shabby Chic, and Pottery Barn.

Last year, she told HuffPost that “I love to build. Build teams, build brands, build businesses. I am passionate about connecting with how people live their lives, and using those insights to create and build product, experiences, culture and business.” We find that passion incredibly inspiring.

Kirsten Green - Forerunner Ventures

As the Founding Partner at commerce-focused, early-stage VC firm Forerunner Ventures in 2010, Kirsten Green is no stranger to taking risks. We admire that. In this uncertain, constantly-changing industry, it’s important that women don’t let a fear of the unknown get in their way.

Kirsten is a great role model here in that she looks for creative solutions instead of running from challenges. With portfolio companies including Bonobos, Glossier, and Warby Parker, Forerunner Ventures is obviously invested in innovation and forward-thinking strategies, and it’s great to see a female-founded firm seeing so much success and making such an big impact on the industry.

Maureen Sullivan - Rent the Runway

COO at Rent the Runway, Maureen Sullivan is a business growth and process expert. And talk about a woman’s woman—before joining the Rent the Runway team, Sullivan worked as President of and oversaw its lifestyle brands, including the storytelling platform MAKERS, which features female trailblazers of all kinds. She’s an inspiration to us because of her ability to keep her eye on the prize: she told Rent the Runway Foundation’s Project Entrepreneur that “When you’re working to scale—and do it in a profitable way—it can be easy to make trade-offs that could negatively impact the customer, however the original north star of delivering the best possible experience and solving a real customer need has to remain front and center with every scaling decision.”

There are of course many more women in retail who inspire and amaze us, today and throughout the whole year. Here are lessons from some women retail leaders we chatted with last year.

We’ll be in Miami next month to hear the stories and advice of plenty of powerful ladies at this year’s Women In Retail Leadership Summit. If you’ll be there, too, come meet with our team to learn more about what we’re doing to simplify the customer experience across every touchpoint.More about powerhouse women in our circle of friends:Janie Yu of Fung Capital: Investing in the Future of Retail (video)Jenny Lefcourt of Freestyle Capital (video)

Catherine Dummitt

Catherine is VP of Marketing at Narvar. Prior to joining, she worked for a number of AdTech & MarTech companies including Zeta Global and IgnitionOne, transforming marketing teams into growth catalysts.

Sign up for our newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest Narvar and industry news.

We Recommend