10 Women in Retail Who Are Doing It Well

The wage gap for women in retail may still be at the forefront of everyone’s mind, but while some wait for the disparity to subside, others are taking control of their own destiny by founding or running these retail stores, chains and giants.

Nell Hill’s

Nell Hill’s. “Briarcliff.” Photo. NellHills.com 2014. 18 Sept. 2014 < http://www.nellhills.com/locations.php>.

Mary Carol Garrity began Nell Hill’s as a small gourmet food store. The retailer allowed the business to take on a life of its own and transitioned to providing home furnishings and accessories instead.

Rowena’s Kitchen

rowena's kitchen

“Rowena’s Kitchen.” Photo. Rowenas.com 2014. 18 Sept. 2014 < http://rowenas.com/about-us/>.

Women in retail do more than just cook, but some of them definitely know their way around a kitchen. Rowena built her store from the ground up. The nationally acclaimed Norfolk, Virginia kitchen now offers its cakes, curds and jams online to anyone wanting to treat their taste buds.


“LOUiS: Clothing, Accessories, Home Décor, Apothecary, Optical…and one hell of a view.” Photo. Louisboston.com 2014. 18 Sept. 2014 < http://www.louisboston.com/about-louis/>.

What began in the 1800s a place for men with impeccable taste has grown under the leadership of Debi Greenburg, granddaughter of the founder of LOUiS. She has expanded the company to include high-end women’s items, too, but has maintained the exclusivity her grandfather valued.

Junkman’s Daughter

“Junkman’s Daughter.” Photo. Businessweek.com 19 June 2009. 18 Sept. 2014 < http://images.businessweek.com/ss/09/06/0619_best_independent_stores/12.htm>.

Pam Majors is a junkman’s daughter, thus the name of her Atlanta alternative super store. Somehow she has found a way to make the bizarre beautiful, drawing celebrities from near and far in search of their latest iconic something-or-other.

ABC Carpet & Home

“ABC Carpet & Home.” Photo. Businessweek.com 19 June 2009. 18 Sept. 2014 < http://images.businessweek.com/ss/09/06/0619_best_independent_stores/2.htm>.

Paulette Cole’s great-grandfather began the business selling carpets as a street vendor in 1897. Paulette took over as company CEO in 2003 with a vision for making the company more socially conscious. ABC Carpet & Home has committed to “present commerce as a vehicle for insight and for action in the aid of creating a better world.”

TJX Companies

Photo. Tjx.com June 2014. 18 Sept. 2014 < http://www.tjx.com/about-tjx.asp>.

Carol Meyrowitz has been the CEO for the parent company of TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Home Goods and other low-price leaders since 2007. She was recently named the 12th most powerful woman in business by Fortune magazine.

“Sam’s Club exterior.” Photo. Samsclub.com 18 Sept. 2014 < http://www3.samsclub.com/NewsRoom/AboutUs/History>.

Sam’s Club

Sam Walton may have started the Wal-Mart empire, but Rosalind Brewer is now the head of warehouse giant Sam’s Club. She has no plans to ride the coat tails of previous success either. Brewer wants to double the size of Sam’s. If you’ve been in one of the warehouses, you know that’s no small feat.

Tory Burch

“Stores.” Photo. Toryburch.com 2014. 18 Sept. 2014 < http://www.toryburch.com/our-stores/about-us-stores-main.html>.

It began as a Manhattan boutique, became known for great shoes and beautiful store design, and now Tory Burch is a global company with a foundation that supports women entrepreneurs. Tory makes sure she passes along her secrets of success to other women in retail.

Photo. Wonderworkstoys.com 2014. 18 Sept. 2014 < http://wonderworkstoys.com/christine-osborne/>.

Wonder Works

With a combined mantra of imagination and buying local, Christine Osbourne has transformed her Charleston toy store into a hugely successful social enterprise that hosts events and supports charities for children.



Women in Retail, Fortune 500 Edition: Ross Dress for Less

Photo. Momslifeboat.com 19 June 2014. 18 Sept. 2014 < http://momslifeboat.com/new-ross-dress-less-store-back-school-giveaway/>.

Barbara Rentler took the reins of Ross Dress for Less in June of this year, and she’s jumping in with both feet. Rentler wants to double the number of stores the Fortune 500 company already has.

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