The entrepreneurial women behind the crowdfunding campaigns featured below are using design to create a more accessible, more sustainable future in various ways — from employing fashion design to advance girls’ STEM education to crafting customizable, eco-friendly furniture.

Check out these 5 women-led crowdfunding campaigns:

1. Fashioning a New Approach to STEM Education (via Indiegogo)

[vimeo 217546452 w=640 h=360]

The Business: Maker Studio SF is an educational studio in San Francisco that’s using fashion design to introduce the STEM subjects — science, technology, engineering and math — to girls ages 8 to 16. Marissa Lucero and Suz Somersall, who are designers, and Elana Polichuk, who is an educator, lead the studio’s efforts. They offer regular workshops focusing on computers, design and coding and special programs like tech talks with STEM innovators. Maker Studio SF aims to help girls get ahead in a male-dominated field, its owners say. And through this crowdfunding campaign, they want to improve access to classes and fund the purchase of lesson-related necessities.
The Money: So far, the campaign has raised more than $10,000 of its $20,000 goal, with 16 days to go. The money the team raises will be used for scholarships for low-income students as well as marketing campaigns, intern stipends and art supplies.

2. Fitness Gear, Refined by Research (via Kickstarter)

The Business: Sandra Tremblay founded Piga in Montreal, Canada, to design, manufacture and sell fitness gear that’s improved by research-based refinements. It’s flagship creation is the PigaONE, footwear that’s designed to support muscles and improve posture, while still providing barefoot-like flexibility. Through her campaign, Tremblay aims to raise enough money to start wholesale manufacturing of PigaONE and to expand the company’s distribution network.
The Money: The campaign has raised $3,503 of an $11,130 goal, and is still more than a month away from its deadline. The money generated by the campaign will be used to order and manufacture the first batch of PigaONE from a “socially responsible” manufacturer based in South America.

3. Equity in an Interior Designer’s Dream (via Wefunder)

Credit: DesignerInc Facebook page.

The Business: Heather Gillette’s venture, DesignerInc, lets interior designers search for furniture and accent décor using a comprehensive database of products that she grows and maintains herself. Traditionally, interior designers have relied on magazine catalogues and in-person tradeshows to find pieces, she says in her campaign. DesignerInc has digitized this process, making it faster and easier to find the perfect pieces. Now, Gillette wants to add more features to her company’s online database and appeal to new customers.
The Money: Gillette is selling ownership stakes in her company via this equity crowdfunding campaign and has raised $5,000 of her $250,000-to-$1-million goal. Money secured from investors will be used to expand the company’s product database and ramp up its marketing efforts.

4. Eco-Friendly, Imaginative Furniture (via Indiegogo)


The Business: Natascha Stojanovic started Movisi in Stuttgart, Germany, to make and sell her modular, eco-friendly furniture. The company’s GROW! furniture system enables people to create and change their own furniture compositions for seating, storage and makeshift walls by attaching and stacking modules. The modules, which have a “U” shaped design come in several colors, are all sustainably made from non-toxic materials.
The Money: So far, the campaign has raised more than $13,413 of its $27,956 goal (USD). The money raised will help Stojanovic start on mass production.

5. Customizable Chairs, Tables and More (via Kickstarter)

The Business: Alice Jacobs started Flux Laser & CNC Studios in Glasgow, Scotland, to offer creative clients a chance to design their own creations with laser machinery and vinyl cutters on a range of materials. She has also launched a furniture collection called Ply-Works of easily assembled (and disassembled) birch plywood tables and chairs, which Jacobs describes as able to “meet the needs of a new generation of renters — beautiful, sustainable and robust.” The furniture is all computer-numerically cut (CNC) and comes sanded with a matte finish, or unsealed for those customers who want to customize the finish themselves.
The Money: The campaign has raised more than $1,000 of its $7,688 (USD) goal, with 31 days remaining. The money will be put toward materials for production and manufacturing the pieces for sale.

Want to be featured in The Story Exchange’s Crowdfunding column? Drop us a line and tell us about your campaign at [email protected].