We’re cheering for “Girl Power” this month—and let’s be real, every month after that, too! While we’re always out to empower other entrepreneurs and women in business, with International Women’s Day coming up March 8 and Women’s History Month throughout March, we are taking a moment to spotlight our own fearless female leaders and share what this time of year means to us.
Did You Know Bug Bite Thing is a Woman-Owned Venture?
Here at Bug Bite Thing, we’re guided by our founder and CEO, Kelley Higney, and our president, Ellen McAlister. Together, these two created a powerhouse team, which you may have witnessed when they appeared together on ABC’s “Shark Tank”!
These two had business in their blood (maybe that’s what the mosquitoes like so much!). Ellen’s mother was an entrepreneur who passed along her business acumen to her daughter. Then, Ellen founded her own international export and distribution business. It was in those offices that Kelley says she grew up watching and studying her mom in action.
“My mother taught me everything she knows and I have always wanted to make her proud,” said Kelley. “She saw my passion in Bug Bite Thing from the beginning and always supported me as a mentor, guide and biggest cheerleader. To this day, it still excites me to have her as a partner in our business, bringing more than 30 years of experience to the table so we can continue our growth.”
Since building Bug Bite Thing together, these two have directed our teams to where our company is today. This includes developing a chemical-free, eco-friendly post-bite relief brand; an $150,000 dollar deal with retail mogul, Lori Grenier, on “Shark Tank;” bringing our product to Amazon’s number-one spot for insect bite relief with more than 30,000 positive reviews; and a new color launch—with more to come this year.
As if that wasn’t enough girl power, Kelley is also a member of the Forbes Business Council and was named “Female Entrepreneur of the Year for Consumer Products” by the Stevie Awards for Women in Business in 2020. Most recently, she was nominated for a “Women Who Rock Award” from weVENTURE Women’s Business Center in Florida Tech’s Bisk College of Business, which is part of the organization’s Women’s History Month celebration.
But Kelley doesn’t intend for the line to stop there.
There was a point when Kelley and her husband were building the Bug Bite Thing out of their house that their daughters knew every one of the UPS drivers by name. They both love to educate others on the suction tool; serving as advocates for the mosquito bite relief it provides. Now in our current offices, their parents created a special place for them to learn and play so they can continue to grow in this environment.
“Since the start of my business, it was important that both of my daughters were involved as well. I imagined this company with them in mind, and as they grow up, I want them to understand that women can create their own opportunities for success,” said Kelley. “Not only do I value the women in business before me, but I am also focused on training the next generation.”
What Women’s Day Means to Us at Bug Bite Thing
International Women’s Day is significant because it honors the achievements of all women around the world. We love to celebrate milestones like birthdays, weddings, new babies and new pets, but it’s the professional milestones and accomplishments in the community that keep us motivated during our day-to-day experiences.
While we want to recognize influential women in business on this holiday, it’s also important for us to highlight that “female entrepreneurs” are actually just “entrepreneurs” who are equal to their peers, regardless of gender.
Still, we never want to pass an opportunity to lift our fellow leading ladies. Here are a few other female founders to watch and take inspiration from:
- Becca Davison, cofounder and CEO of UnbuckleMe, a product designed to make unbuckling a car seat pain-free for parents and caregivers; she is also an advocate for child passenger safety.
- Kelli Jackson, founder of Prim & Pure, which offers fun, clean and green beauty products for kids and adults.
- Tiffany Krumins, founder of Ava the Elephant, who secured an investment on the inaugural episode of “Shark Tank” in 2009 for her medicine dispenser. Her newest ventures are an early stage incubator, Mom Genius, and the podcast, Product Genius.
- Tara Darnley, inventor, cofounder and CEO of Darlyng & Co., which created the Yummy Mitt Teething Mitten and other toxin-free essentials for parents and kids.
- Kendra Scott, founder and executive chairman of Kendra Scott, who launched her accessories company by selling her jewelry to friends and door-to-door. She is also a philanthropist and guest Shark on “Shark Tank.”
- Trinity Mouzon Wofford, cofounder and CEO of Golde, a wellness brand that serves up superfoods for everything from smoothies to skincare.
- Anne Wojcicki, biologist, cofounder and CEO of 23andMe, a pioneering direct-to-consumer DNA testing firm, which is the only one of its kind to be cleared by the FDA for health tests.
- Sara Blakely, founder and owner of Spanx, the popular shapewear brand with a mission to help women feel great about themselves. She has also served as a guest Shark on “Shark Tank” and was named the youngest self-made female billionaire by Forbes Magazine and one of Time’s 100 Most influential people in 2012.