Celebrating Female Entrepreneurs

Celebrating Female Entrepreneurs

At Rainy City we are all about celebrating women and their achievements. While we appreciate the focus that International Women’s Day brings to issues such as raising awareness around gender bias and promoting equality, we believe in the power of ongoing support and recognition.

Supporting Female-Owned Businesses

There are a bunch of ways to support the day and what it stands for, like educating yourself with feminist podcasts and books, attending women's events, or celebrating the awesome women in your life. One of the most effective ways to support women is by spending your money with businesses that are owned or run by them. 

That is why this International Women’s Day, we made it our mission to spotlight some of the kickass female entrepreneurs we have had the privilege of working with. From overcoming challenges to achieving remarkable milestones, these women are the real deal in the business world, showing guts, creativity, and a whole lot of grit. So, keep reading to find out who they are.

For more information on upcoming women's events, visit our Rainy City Events on Eventbrite

Holli Markwald of Prairie Wear

Journey as a Female Entrepreneur

Holli Markwald, the founder of Prairie Wear, started her entrepreneurial journey at the age of 10. Fuelled by a boundless imagination and a desire to make a difference, Holli’s dedication to business was evident from the beginning. She attributes her success to her supportive upbringing, which instilled in her belief that she could accomplish any goal she set her mind to.

Challenges and Triumphs

For Holli, the biggest hurdle isn’t always external, it’s often the inner battles of self-doubt and fear. However, by nurturing her confidence and embracing growth opportunities, she has overcome obstacles with resilience. Rather than dwelling on financial or logistical hurdles—that’s not to say that these are insignificant—Holli focuses on empowering herself and her team to reach new heights.

Proudest Moment

The ultimate reward for Holli is seeing the wonderful impact her products have on customers’ lives. Each testimonial reaffirms her passion and commitment, fuelling her pride and the versatile and sustainable business she and her team have built.

She said: “Every time I hear one of our customers say, “This Hugger changed my life” or “Took my pain away” or a medical professional says, “Huggers are the only compression bra I recommend to my patients”, I feel very proud of myself and my Prairie Team for creating a versatile, sustainable business and product that allows us to successfully help thousands of people every day.”

Empowering Quote

Holli is inspired by Anais Nin’s words:

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” 

Which reminds her to embrace courage, pursue her dreams, and persevere through life’s challenges.

Influential Women

Holli finds inspiration in the stories of Dolly Parton and Oprah Winfrey, both of whom have chased their dreams. Their resilience, authenticity, and entrepreneurial prowess resonate deeply with her. She also acknowledges the unwavering support of her mother and draws wisdom from Brené Brown’s teachings on emotional growth.

Georgia McElveen of Casa Branca

Journey as a Female Entrepreneur

Georgia McElveen's entrepreneurial journey started out of a desire to bring forth her mother-in-law’s vision for Casa Branca. With a background in small businesses and startups, Georgia and her husband embarked on a mission to bring joy and accessibility to the world of interior design.

She said “My husband and I felt compelled to make her vision of Casa Branca a reality. She had decades of work, research, and sketches for fabrics and products. Everything was designed to mix and match across the collections to allow for a more accessible approach to the often intimidating world of interior design. In addition to bringing more joy and ease to the process, we wanted to support the art of craft with our one-of-kind handmade products from Italy and France.”

Challenges and Triumphs

Launching Casa Branca amidst a global pandemic wasn’t part of the plan, but Georgia and her husband refused to let adversity dim their spirits. With foresight and strategic planning, they powered through COVID-19, delivering joy and beauty to homes worldwide when it was needed most.

Inspiring Quote

Mary Oliver’s timeless question:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your own wild and precious life?” 

Resonates with Georgia, reminding her to seize every opportunity and embrace life’s fleeting adventures.

Influential Women

From lifelong friend Julia Sloan, whose journey as a fellow entrepreneur has been intertwined with hers since college days, to her visionary mother-in-law, Alessandra Branca, Georgia draws strength from the women who’ve been beside her on this journey. Their unwavering support and boundless energy fuel her passion and inspire her to reach new heights.

Susanna Cook of The Merchant’s Table

Journey as a Female Entrepreneur

Susanna Cook’s entrepreneurial spirit was ignited by a desire to pursue integrity and fairness in business. Dissatisfied with unethical practices in her previous partnership, she ventured out on her own to create a space where creativity thrives, and women are empowered, ultimately becoming the founder of The Merchant's Table.

Challenges and Triumphs

Susanna’s path hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but with determination, she’s overcome every obstacle in her way. From navigating unethical partnerships to creating inspiring spaces within her own home, Susanna’s commitment to excellence knows no bounds.

She said: “The biggest challenge has been how to produce special work while managing rising business overheads, for I have only ever wanted to work with visionary, independent businesses. The kind of work we produce takes time [...]. Many independents at the start of their growth cannot afford costly agency/studio fees.

I sought to overcome this challenge by consistently creating an inspiring space for our studio within my home. I wanted to be able to spend more time and effort on supporting and helping our clients grow.”

Proudest Moment

A highlight in Susanna’s journey was the successful redesign of Pump Street Cholote’s packaging. This project not only showcased her team’s creativity but also contributed to the brand’s significant growth and recognition. 

Influential Women

Susanna draws inspiration from pioneers, Anita Le Roy of Monmouth Coffee Company, Joanna Brennan of Pump Street Chocolate, and culinary icons like Sally Clarke and Patricia Michelson. Their achievements serve as a testament to the transformative power of passion and dedication. 


The stories of Holli Markwald, Georgia McElveen, and Susanna Cook exemplify the resilience, passion and innovation that define female entrepreneurship. Through their dedication to their craft, unwavering perseverance, and commitment to making a difference, these women have not only shared in their respective industries but also inspired others to pursue their dreams.

At Rainy City, we’re so proud to have worked with such extraordinary individuals, and we look forward to continuing our support for women-led businesses worldwide. 

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