From skincare and food to markets and tech, we’re celebrating Women’s Month by showcasing some of the businesses you should be backing at home.
Every year, International Women’s Day seems to gather more traction. From a single day to a month-long focus on our hard-earned history, the 2023 theme tackles the concept of why being fair is not enough.
We tend to interpret “fair treatment” as equality—everyone getting exactly the same thing. But that would assume everyone begins in the same place, which is definitely not the case.
As everyone’s starting point is different, each person should be allocated resources tailored to their needs. We should be striving to give everyone the same starting point. Thus, we should not fight for equality, but rather for equity.
This is exactly what this year’s International Woman’s Day message is about. Embracing equity—something particularly relevant to female-led businesses since females are three times less likely to start a new business than men.
And even though this trend is slowly changing, we as consumers should do what we can to encourage this positive change further.
Let’s support the underrepresented. Let’s think of female entrepreneurs as dark horses worth betting on.
Because the reality is that in order to succeed, they don’t only need to be incredibly driven and work hard, but they also need support from their communities as well as resources (not to mention respect) to close the disparity gap. (See more about how our founder talks about this specifically in the olive oil industry.)
Hoping to give you a healthy dose of motivation and inspire you to support female-led brands, we created this little round-up asking a few of the ones in our community about the beginnings of their own businesses and what they draw inspiration from on a daily basis…
Dubbed “the tonic twins” Raissa & Joyce de Haas are the Dutch sisters behind the premium mixer brand you’ve probably seen now just about EVERYWHERE. They crafted their mixers as they believed they could make more interesting flavour combinations than what was available.
We asked them what inspired them on their journey:
“We started our premium mixer business from an early interest in flavour—and especially delicious flavour combinations! We believed we could make more interesting flavourful drinks compared to what was available on the market—and we think we have. It’s so satisfying to see our flavours come to life and form the basis of amazing drinks globally.
We draw inspiration on a daily business from passionate and ambitious people— we find it contagious! We are inspired by successful people, regardless whether their success is found in their business or personal lives —we find it motivational!” —Raissa & Joyce de Haas
For over 20 years now, Nyanga has brought the authentic taste of African cocoa to East London, showing us what chocolate actually is. Dark Sugars have a diverse and wide range of treats such as chocolates, hot chocolate, ice cream, truffles, a selection of vegan treats, a DIY hot chocolate kit and more. Each of the flagship stores around London carries the aroma of roasting cocoa beans and sets sounds of African music.
Ana Kerin creates stunning pieces of art—from large-scale paintings through sculptures to pottery—questioning the relationship between form, fluidity and function.
“My approach to work is experimental and playful, as I never follow a procedure, and invent new recipes daily.”
She has got an expressive artistic signature, treating every thumbprint in clay and each brushstroke on paper purposely.
Having started in her mother’s living room in West Sussex, Jessica created a modern family-run business and a global brand in 2017.
“I started the business with my mother, and right now my sister Rebecca is on our brand marketing team, my husband Patrick is building out the B2B side of things, my cousin is on our operations team, and my aunt sends out all of our fabric swatches. When we say “family business” we really mean it!”
—Jessica Hanley for Forbes
Her big vision was to create a range of people’s favourite linen sheets that would be eventually infused with stories and passed down through generations. Quality and sustainability are at the heart of what they do.
The idea behind crafting a naturally-fermented superdrink was to help people feel good about themselves starting from the within.
“I believe when one is happy internally, and physically, they will spread positive energy out to everyone around them.”
Sohn created Jin Jin believing in the power of wellness and witnessing the positive impact it has on others’ lives.
Cloe Bueso and Sophie Elliott, the founders of The Sette created the brand hoping to help you curate a perfect tablescape. They recognise that “Baguette crumbs, wine stains, and clean plates on a Friday night with friends… Are all indications of unforgettable moments around the table.”
At the core of their brand is to share long-lasting products—in style, quality, and durability, so that they don’t become obsolete with the changing of seasons.
Powerhouse-twin duo Liv and Dais started as the South London Makers Market on a whim in 2019. Despite never owning a business before, they fell in love with the energy the market crowds were spreading.
They decided to follow a gut feeling, quit their jobs, and go forward with it.
Since then they have taken London by storm, spreading the message of shopping small. Everything they do is with a strong sense of enthusiasm, passion, and a willingness to keep forging ahead—not to mention insanely cool and beautiful curated goods!
Celia and Sophie wanted to create a product kinder to your skin and the planet, so REIA was born: vegan, cruelty-free, and natural hand and body wash refills available on subscription.
Day to day, they are driven by their community, as they realise that the way to tackle plastic pollution is through collective change.
“People don't realise how large an impact they can have, just by making small changes to their daily routine. When individuals change their purchasing habits, this has the potential to make a much larger collective impact, influencing global corporations to prioritise sustainability.”
—Sophie Salisbury and Celia Foot
Mira went back to her roots when creating the original chai spice mix. Created with her mother and grandmother, her chai blends include traditional spices and coconut sugar.
Having been through a healing journey herself, these drinks are a way to spread a message about the healthier way of being and healing from within. Through her book “Saffron Soul & Prajna” she also shares her love for yoga, breathwork and Ayurveda. She talks about everything on her personal Instagram which is a delight to follow.
Saasha and Tessa embarked on a journey to empower local communities with a free, accessible, and effective solution to reduce waste—a phone app. OLIO connects neighbours with each other and with local businesses so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. Its first version was extremely basic, and could only be used in 5 postcodes in North London, but now over 6 million people are on it!
“We are confident that we will be able to have a lasting, meaningful impact on the world one share at a time.”
Cook School is a nationwide, not-for-profit organisation helping children to understand food and teaching children to cook. This little project is the culmination of Amanda’s life spent cooking, eating and educating children and families about food.
“It’s always been my ambition to teach as many students as possible to understand food and to cook,” Amanda says. “Cook School is my way of bringing this dream to life.”
Together with co-founder Kristian Dean, she helps children to understand food, teaches children how to cook basic, healthy meals and gives them the skills and the confidence to repeat cooking at home for their family and friends.
Tired of seeing uninspiring rows of houseplants in plastic brown pots next to flowers forced into tight bouquets struggling to breathe, Nik decided to do her own thing and bring out the best in plants. She followed an off-beat approach to floral and plant styling to help people to see flowers and plants in a different way.
Liv and Dom are ceramicists, illustrators and identical twins, creating stunning ceramic pieces in Lewes, UK. They strive to create decorative, yet functional art in a fun yet delicate, classic way. All works are designed, hand sculpted, glazed, finished, and packaged by them. Every piece makes a statement and is truly unique as the twins don’t use decals or moulds.
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