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Celebrate Women’s Entrepreneurship Day!

Celebrated on November 19, Women's Entrepreneurship Day recognizes the 10 million female-owned businesses in the U.S. and all of the others around the globe. Here's why this day matters to makers—plus, five hands-on women who should be on your radar.

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WomanNenad Aksic/Shutterstock

How Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Got Started

In 2013, entrepreneur Wendy Diamond traveled to Honduras with the Adelante Foundation, a nonprofit that helps impoverished women become economically self-sufficient by investing in them. Diamond realized these women had strong potential to transform their lives through their own ingenuity—they just needed to be empowered.

That epiphany led Diamond to found the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization (WEDO), a support network that brings female innovators together and encourages girls to get involved in areas where women are typically marginalized, like science, technology, engineering and math.

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Why It Matters to Makers

“I have dedicated my life to helping the ‘underdog’ thrive,” Diamond (in photo) told Family Handyman. “Historically, women worldwide have been underpaid, undervalued, underrepresented, underfunded, and underestimated. We are dedicated, determined, and driven to change this.”

That same year, Women’s Entrepreneurship Day was celebrated for the first time to raise awareness of the 10 million businesses owned and operated by women in the U.S.—many of which are artists and makers who have launched their own companies to introduce their wares to the world.

‘Tis the season to support the female DIY community, so we scouted five of the coolest women-owned businesses in the Amazon Handmade Marketplace just in time for holiday shopping. But first, learn the 10 top secrets of Amish furniture makers!

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ArtLery

Joy Crossley started crafting custom plaques and keyholders from her kitchen table. Soon, the demand for her products was so high, the woodworker had to build a home studio—and hire her dad as her first employee! She does everything by hand, including sanding and painting. We love the modern-rustic appeal of this Tall Monogram Door Initial, $20.

Click here to see all Artlery plaques and keyholders.

Here are 13 great gifts for woodworkers.

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littleBits

Ayah Bdeir wanted to make engineering more appealing to kids, so she founded a company that inspires kids to invent with technology. Her toys are made using electronic building blocks that snap together to build everything from simple electronic circuits to robots, with cloud connectivity. We spotted a great gift among all the engineer’s innovative products: the littleBits Electronic Music Inventor Kit, $100.

Click here to see all littleBits toys.

Here are 10 things you need to know about recycling electronics.

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Curio Press

Alexis Austin’s obsession with making design-conscious papercrafts grew out of hardship. She was incapacitated by a chronic illness and needed money to pay her medical bills when she tapped into her creative spirit and started designing and printing customized stationery to sell online. Her small business took off and became a full-time endeavor. Our favorite of her personalized stationery is this simple, chic Thin Line Monogram Note Card Set, $20.

Click here to see all Curio Press stationery.

Check out some amazing things you can make using a 3D printer.

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Sarah Bak Pottery

Sarah Bak’s mom loved to collect pottery, so it’s no wonder she’d grow up to be a ceramicist. She worked in the arts in retail and the nonprofit sector before launching her own business selling her hand-thrown and hand-painted porcelain vases, bowls, plates, mugs and more. Our favorite piece in her five-star rated marketplace in this red-and-white floral Porcelain Serving Bowl, $75.

Click here to see all Sarah Bak Pottery.

If you’re going to hang shelves to display your pottery, here’s how to do it.

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Audrey Modern

Audrey Modern is a stickler for detail. Her passion for workmanship and detail led her to launch a business from her home studio in San Francisco, where she designs and fabricates purses, coasters and bowls made of brightly hued, 100% wool felt. We’re suckers for these toaster coasters, $30.

Click here to see all Audrey Modern.

Want to learn how to make great-looking coasters out of scrap wood? Check it out!