Francesca Kennedy, Entrepreneur
A social good-driven entrepreneur, Francesca has built an important company that is helping women in Guatemala rise out of poverty, with support from leaders like Richard Branson and the Shark Tank investors, the TED community, and Project Runway.
Ix Style, the shoe and accesories company she founded, combines two of her deepest loves. The unique Ix Style was inspired by the organic patterns and designs handcrafted by Mayan artisans. Those same artisans and their families now benefit from her company’s commitment to providing clean drinking water to those living around Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.
The story of Ix Style goes back to Francesca’s grandparents, who lived in Guatemala. The lake in which she was baptized was later overrun by blue green algae, in what NASA would call one of the greatest natural disasters of our time. In addition to a substantial contribution to the local craft economy, a portion of Ix Style’s profits now go toward providing clean water to those living in the primarily Mayan villages and towns surrounding the lake. The company’s vividly stylish shoes, accessories, and clothing have been embraced by Anthropologie, Gwyneth Paltrow for Goop, and J.Crew, and many others.
The mutually beneficial relationship between Ix Style and Lake Atitlan residents is the determining factor in Francesca’s belief that business can have a conscience. A former TED resident and contestant on Project Runway, she has had the privilege of working on both business and environmental protection in the same region, poising her to be the leader to go to for guidance in social entrepreneurship.