Forbes listed 60 American billionaire and millionaire women founders this year who built their businesses and careers from scratch. Nearly half of all women on the list hail from California and 9 from New York. Wisconsin, Nevada and Florida were also popular homes for independent women entrepreneurs on the list.
Popular fem industries like fashion, cosmetics, music, accessories, books and retail made up a good third of the list.
Fashionista founder Vera Wang is worth $630 million and ranked number 29. She told The Business of Fashion that her mother, a translator for the United Nations, helped her discover her passion and her father inspired her to be an entrepreneur like himself. Vera kicked off her career right out of college as the youngest editor for Vogue, later became design director for Ralph Lauren, and then successfully established her bridal couture line in 1990, according to Forbes. Wowsa!
SPANX inventor and mother of four, Sara Blakely sold fax machines door-to-door before she saved up enough money to buy a patent for a devilishly thigh-slimming undergarment design. Her success is worth $1 billion.
Nora Roberts published her first romance novel in 1981, with dozens of books on #1 New York Times Bestsellers list since 1999. It beats me how she finds the drive to crank out multiple novels a year, but she’s a bold example to aspire to.
And how can we forget major celebs on the list? Oprah, Beyoncé, Céline Dion, Madonna, Barbara Streisand and — come again? — Taylor Swift.
Women on the list thrived in industries like construction, agriculture, technology and finance.
Diane Hendricks co-founded ABC Supply, a roofing, siding and window distributor. She ranked second at $4.9 billion and is based in my home state: Wisconsin!
Shout out to the founder and CEO of Health IT system Epic. Judy Faulkner ranks number 6 and accumulated $2.5 billion from the business. Near Wisconsin? See if you can get a tour of the headquarters, or settle for a few snapshots. Women involved in Google, eBay and other software developers made the ranks.
Lynda Resnick is the only agriculture icon on charts. She ranks number 10 at $2 billion. She, along with her husband, owns almond, pistachio, orange and pomegranate fields in three states. She’s the marketing executive behind bold brands: Pom Wonderful, Halos, Wonderful Pistachios, and Fiji Water. Washington Post interviewed her about her career journey here.
Role models and sheBOOMers all!