Stacy’s limited-edition bags spotlight Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

By Kristine Sherred

- Last updated on GMT

Stacy's, with parent Frito-Lay North America and PepsiCo, has provided more than $300,000 this year for women entrepreneurs, and helped form a community of more than 1,500 members on Alice.
Stacy's, with parent Frito-Lay North America and PepsiCo, has provided more than $300,000 this year for women entrepreneurs, and helped form a community of more than 1,500 members on Alice.

Related tags Pepsico Snacks Women Entrepreneurship Frito-lay north america Frito-lay Private equity Funding women's health Strategy

Stacy’s Pita Chips has released three designer bags in Kroger’s US stores in honor of the November 19 celebration and PepsiCo's broader WomanMade platform.

Each bag features a unique design representing the ‘six key stages of a female entrepreneur’s journey,’ created by women artists. Stacy’s announced the winning designs in March, coinciding with Women’s History Month, as a continuation of two previous releases.

They will be available, while supplies last, at Kroger locations, after being available online since March.

  • Los Angeles designer Alexandra Bowman created the ‘grit’ rendering, which shows a pastel-clad woman climbing a windy ladder to the moon against a blue starry sky.
  • For ‘success,’ New York artist Jade Purple Brown splashed bold colors against a black backdrop, with a confident-looking woman front-and-center.
  • Nomoco, a Japanese artist trained at London’s Central Saint Martins school for the arts, offered up female figures awash in watercolor-like colors.

The bags also commemorate the snack brand’s first-ever Rise program​, which promotes awareness of and funding for women-owned businesses.

“The Rise Project was launched to further Stacy’s mission of helping women advance their food and beverage ventures through funding, mentorship and community. Empowering female entrepreneurs to have a voice and economic independence allows them to invest back into their families and communities, and is a cause deeply rooted in Stacy’s core values,”​ Jessica Spaulding, senior director of marketing for Frito-Lay North America, told BakeryandSnacks.

Stacy's Rise Project

Stacy’s Rise Project picks first winner

Only 1 in 10 venture capital firms with fund sizes above $25m employ women as decisionmakers, and nearly three-quarters employ no women investors.

“Women have always embodied the same capabilities, courage and grit as their male counterparts to create and operate successful businesses,”​ said Stacy’s VP of marketing Ciara Dilley. “As a female-founded brand, Stacy’s Pita Chips is determined to reduce that disparity.”

Women own about 40% of US businesses, according to Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, but receive only 2% of private equity dollars. In 1972, only 5% of businesses were owned by women.

“We believe the economic empowerment of women is the single most powerful contribution we can make to advancing female equality,”​ Dilley told us in May.

With two partners – Alice, an online community for women entrepreneurs, and celebrity food personality Padma Lakshmi – Stacy’s selected five of 400 applicants to compete for a $100,000 prize.

“The energy among these five women is palpable and now, fueled by this newfound camaraderie,” ​said Lakshmi, adding, “I’m sure it won’t be the last we hear from any of them. They are an inspiration to not only other women who share a similar drive and passion to build something of their own, but to investors as proof that female entrepreneurs warrant consideration and funding.”

At an event in early November, the company chose Hakuna Brands, a line of plant-based ice cream, as the project’s first-ever champion. Hannah Hong and Mollie Cha, who are both lactose-intolerant, conjured the banana and coconut milk treat in Los Angeles just this year.

Its original lineup, called Hakuna Banana, features flavors like Banilla, Cashew Cookie Dough and Chocolate Banana. The duo also serves up snack-sized bars dipped in chocolate and recently extended into oat-based ice cream, with a plain version, plus one imbued with chocolate and another with peanut butter.

Co-founder Hong thanked the Stacy’s Rise Project for unparalleled networking and business development opportunities.

“While I have personally reaped many rewards with the Stacy’s Rise Project, its reach is so much greater, as the people I’ve met and everything I’ve learned will have a lasting impact on anyone who interacts with our brand and products for years to come,”​ she said.

Stacy's Rise Project finalists

Stacy's Rise Project winners with Padmi Lakshmi, center, in November 2019. Photo: Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Stacy's Pita Chips

Though Hakuna Brands took home the grand prize, each of the five winners received $20,000 as part of PepsiCo’s female-focused initiative.

The other finalists were:

  • Dip-It by Pilar​, a line of yogurt-based dips from Mission City, Texas / founder Pilar Gonzalez
  • Ajiri Tea​, an eco-conscious tea company that sources its leaves from Kenya and employs Kenyan women to create each box (made from the dried bark of banana trees decorated with beads made from recycled magazine paper) – and 100% of net profits benefit schools for Kenyan orphans / founder Kate Holby
  • The Perfect Granola​, a bar and loose granola company in Victor, New York, that donates 5% of profits to shelters, food banks and other outreach centers / founder Michelle Liddle
  • Transfernation​, an on-demand food rescue service (with app) in New York City / founder Hannah Dehradunwala

"All five of our Stacy's Rise finalists have distinct products and skill sets – and their personal experiences in the marketplace offered our own team members a unique start-up perspective that made the mentorship program a win-win as we learned from each other,"​ said Frito-Lay’s Dilley.

"It was a tight race from day one, with Hannah's final business plan coming out on top thanks to her consumer-centric yet strategic growth strategy that zeroed in on what made her brand unique while leveraging established distribution channels."

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