Former World Tennis number one Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Shiffon Co. & Startup Girl Foundation founder Shilpa Yarlagadda, and emerging photographer and star in new Hulu show The Come Up Sophia Wilson teamed up with Shiffon Co. & Nike to host the inaugural Ladies Night In The City.
On August 26th, the two hosted the first Ladies Night In The City: New York, an evening of diamonds with purpose and cocktails to celebrate the inspirational women taking part in the US Open. This year the US Open holds historical meaning for women in tennis: the last grand slam ahead of 2023, the 50th anniversary of the Women’s Tennis Association, and the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark legislation that paved the way for women in sports. In honor of Title IX, Shiffon Co. debuted the 1972 Tennis Pinky Ring, a nod to the iconic Tennis Bracelet.
An array of sporting stars attended despite many currently participating in the US Open including Ajla Tomljanovic, Donna Vekic, Dayana Yastremska, Christina McHale, Alison Riske-Amritraj, Asia Muhammad, Minnie Mills, Shelby Rogers, Jessica Pegula, Des Krawczyk, Ons Jabeur, Danielle Collins and even former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
In an exclusive interview at the event, Shilpa Yarlagadda, founder of Shiffon Co. said “this night is so meaningful to me because I think that the spirit of it is really about bringing women to support each other, but also really creating this really interdisciplinary network for women that I think hasn’t really existed to connect us from all different industries. I think tennis has always really been at the heart of women’s equality in many ways and fashion as well. It’s really amazing to combine jewelry and sport with women’s empowerment.” Mattek-Sands added, “The bigger purpose of this event is to bring everyone together to realise how much we can do together, and show how much support you actually have. Sometimes when you’re not in a room meeting women from other industries, it’s a challenge to get together and to ask questions about finances, business, entrepreneurship. I think everyone is here to meet someone and walk away feeling like they were inspired by someone’s story.”
Shilpa Yarlagadda founded her jewelry label Shiffon back in 2017 on the principle of giving back. It began with a seemingly simple idea: create one core product—the Duet Pinky Ring—and direct 50% of its profits toward funding female founders through a nonprofit venture capital arm she would name the Startup Girl Foundation. At that time, less than 2.2% of venture capital funding went to female founders. Shiffon was an impactful way to close the gender gap while creating a beautiful piece of fine jewelry crafted from ethical and sustainably-minded materials.
Shiffon launched with the Duet Pinky Ring, set with one diamond beside a larger diamond, representing one woman supporting another through a ‘pinky promise.’ No one could have imagined that in a short time, it would be worn by Michelle Obama, Emma Watson, Serena Williams, and even by Meghan Markle on the cover of Time Magazine. It’s an amazing example of what can happen when women are empowered and support each other.
Yarlagadda says, “We are building a community of women in sport, where athletes can feel beautiful while meeting other powerful women across many verticals and celebrating their upcoming tournament. One of the most important lessons we can learn from sports is the power to change. To continue investing in positive change and to support the next generation of women athletes, 19.72% of profits from the Shiffon Co. Tennis pinky rings will be used to create the first Women in Sports investment fund in partnership with the Women’s Tennis Association, which supports female funded companies in sports related verticals, including health and wellness.”
Shiffon’s new 1972 tennis pinky ring was inspired by Trisha Goyal, who first shared with Yarlagadda that tennis was the first sport to have equal prize money for women. Goyal’s organization, Break The Love, is democratizing sports and was one of the twelve companies funded by the new diamond ring.
Mattek-Sands says, “We are excited to work with incredible women to shine a light on powerful brands making a difference for women in sports, as well as shining a light on female athletes ahead of some of their biggest matches.”
In partnership with the Women’s Tennis Association, Shiffon Co. will continue to shine a light on female athletes with support from impactful female-led organizations such as Lucara Diamond Corp. in 2023.