DESIGNING HERSTORY

designed with her in mind.

Changing the Narrative. 

HerStory is a social business featuring luxury, unique products designed by women around the world. Our highly curated collection of products uplift women-led brands and communities. When you purchase from a HerStory brand, you are joining a movement to empower and represent women who want to change the narrative of fashion. You are not wearing an item, you are sharing a story that makes an impact.

OUR STORY:

Chapter One

It’s been two years since the pandemic changed our lives and the future of retail. Small business owners have had a particularly rough go of things, from having to close their storefronts to curb the spread of the virus to ongoing supply-chain issues that have lingered even after vaccines and booster shots became available.

In the spring of 2020 three (3) Dallas-based small business owners came together to figure out how to change the retail landscape for women-led brands and create a path for growth, sustainability and collaboration. While many brands were trying to survive competing with other brands in their vertical through unsustainable marketing spend, HerStory changed the narrative and built a movement centered around women uplifting one another and empowering the future generation of leaders.

Since launch, HerStory has partnered with over 100+ women-led brands across the US , along with artisans in Central America, Africa, Ukraine and beyond. Currently, HerStory is working with a network of over 300,000 artisans and expanding their luxury marketplace to include over 200 highly curated women-led brands around the world. Thank you for being a part of herstory and shopping small.

It’s been two years since the pandemic changed our lives and the future of retail. Small business owners have had a particularly rough go of things, from having to close their storefronts to curb the spread of the virus to ongoing supply-chain issues that have lingered even after vaccines and booster shots became available.

In the spring of 2020 three (3) Dallas-based small business owners came together to figure out how to change the retail landscape for women-led brands and create a path for growth, sustainability and collaboration. While many brands were trying to survive competing with other brands in their vertical through unsustainable marketing spend, HerStory changed the narrative and built a movement centered around women uplifting one another and empowering the future generation of leaders.

Since launch, HerStory has partnered with over 100+ women-led brands across the US , along with artisans in Central America, Africa, Ukraine and beyond. Currently, HerStory is working with a network of over 300,000 artisans and expanding their luxury marketplace to include over 200 highly curated women-led brands around the world. Thank you for being a part of herstory and shopping small.

Tinsley Merrill Paul

The founder and CEO of Support HerStory was born and raised in Atlanta, GA as the youngest of five siblings. Tinsley has worked with multiple women-led companies including Akola, Bumble and rewardStyle (LTK) to name a few. As a graduate of Southern Methodist University, Tinsley had the opportunity to study and volunteer around the world including the United Kingdom, Australia, Africa and Southeast Asia. Tinsley graduated with a double major in Public Relations & Corporate Communications and a Minor in International Relations which drove her entrepreneurial, global mindedness. After graduation Tinsley served on the Retail Development Team at rewardStyle (now LTK), the world’s first content monetization platform for top-tier digital influencers and global brands. In addition to her influencer marketing background, Tinsley was the cofounder and CRO of Pairr, an experiential marketing platform that connected brand and influencers with their target market through data-driven insights. It was during the pandemic in 2020 that Tinsley dedicated her time to support women-led businesses that were struggling in the new retail landscape, ultimately creating HerStory. 

Brittany Merrill Underwood

Brittany is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Akola, “She Works”, the premiere social impact brand in the luxury space that sells high- fashion jewelry retailing at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nordstrom. At Akola, with every unit sold, a woman’s life changes and her family is transformed. Akola offers employment, economic mobility, and empowerment for women in need in Uganda. Over the past 15 years, Brittany and the Akola team have worked to build Akola’s manufacturing business in rural Uganda, exclusively employing women in poverty who care for an average of 9 dependents. Back in the states, Brittany and the Akola team have built a retail brand selling in top retail brands throughout the country. Simultaneously, the organization operates Akola Academy, a non-profit, teaching Akola women to use their income to transform the lives of their families and communities.

Brittany is honored to be a part of creating a high-impact hybrid model paving the way for other businesses that seek to change the world. Akola’s model aligns with strong market trends including women’s empowerment, vertical integration, transparency, sustainable sourcing, and social impact. Brittany has been featured on the Katie Couric Show, CNN, Fox Business and in Modern Luxury. Akola jewelry has been featured on the pages of Vogue, Town and Country, Harper’s Bazaar, and People Style Watch. Brittany has a Master’s degree in Inter-cultural Studies and worked for over 4 years as an Adjunct Professor of Social Innovation at Souther Methodist University. Today, Brittany continues her work at Akola as Executive Chairman and Founder and serves on the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa to advise the U.S. President, through the Secretary of Commerce, on ways to strengthen commercial engagement between the United States and Africa.  

Brittany Merrill Underwood

Brittany is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Akola, “She Works”, the premiere social impact brand in the luxury space that sells high- fashion jewelry retailing at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nordstrom. At Akola, with every unit sold, a woman’s life changes and her family is transformed. Akola offers employment, economic mobility, and empowerment for women in need in Uganda. Over the past 15 years, Brittany and the Akola team have worked to build Akola’s manufacturing business in rural Uganda, exclusively employing women in poverty who care for an average of 9 dependents. Back in the states, Brittany and the Akola team have built a retail brand selling in top retail brands throughout the country. Simultaneously, the organization operates Akola Academy, a non-profit, teaching Akola women to use their income to transform the lives of their families and communities.

Brittany is honored to be a part of creating a high-impact hybrid model paving the way for other businesses that seek to change the world. Akola’s model aligns with strong market trends including women’s empowerment, vertical integration, transparency, sustainable sourcing, and social impact. Brittany has been featured on the Katie Couric Show, CNN, Fox Business and in Modern Luxury. Akola jewelry has been featured on the pages of Vogue, Town and Country, Harper’s Bazaar, and People Style Watch. Brittany has a Master’s degree in Inter-cultural Studies and worked for over 4 years as an Adjunct Professor of Social Innovation at Souther Methodist University. Today, Brittany continues her work at Akola as Executive Chairman and Founder and serves on the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa to advise the U.S. President, through the Secretary of Commerce, on ways to strengthen commercial engagement between the United States and Africa.  

Whitney Rowell

I first learned about lactation cookies when my friend dropped them on my doorstep after having my first baby in 2015. I honestly had NO idea what a lactation cookie was, but I did know they really helped me. I googled lactation producing ingredients and added it to my go-to oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe. I made the cookies and couldn't believe how great they still tasted, plus I was making SO MUCH MORE MILK!! I posted the recipe to my blog (that only my mom read) and called it “The Miracle Milk Cookie”, which I have taken down, but I'm sure you can find it somewhere :) I initially planned to only share the recipe with friends, but over time I realized so many other moms who discovered the recipe were benefitting from the cookies; so I decided that I might as well turn this into a business. By 2018, we finally found an amazing kitchen to bake our cookies (I was baking every single cookie out of my house up to that point!) and that same month, we started shipping to mamas everywhere! The best part about this company is that our “kookies” have helped so many moms, and even more babies.

THE HERSTORY MISSION

It all started over a FaceTime call...

during the unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19. Two preschoolers had just found out that their pre-k 4 class was cancelled for the indefinite future and they wanted to see each other. After losing interest over FaceTime, their moms Brittany Underwood (founder of Akola Jewelry) and Whitney Rowell (founder of Miracle Milkookies) took over. The conversation turned to the unsettling future of retail during this time. As female small business owners they brainstormed how they could work together to create a solution for small, female-founded businesses to make it through the crisis.Brittany immediately called her sister, Tinsley Merrill (Cofounder of PAIRR Experience) who had just pivoted her business from a live-event platform to a virtual platform to keep up with the abrupt change in consumer behavior. Tinsley understood the power of meaningful experiences and pitched that the best way to have consumers shop small was to connect them with small business owners on a deeper level, to experience their ‘story.’Bringing their diverse skillsets together, HerStory was born.