Over the past year, thanks to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns that came along with it, we’ve seen a surge in women starting small businesses.
In fact, a new Pinterest report says that women are searching the term "small business plan" on its platform 50 times more than they were this time last year and searches for "starting a business from home" have also increased four-fold.
As a small business owner myself (hi, @wickandrose), I know how hard it is to build something from the ground up, so this International Women’s Day we’re celebrating women who have done just that.
Below, we chart the small brands with female founders that you need to know.
Liv & Dom
What is it? Handmade ceramics and designs celebrating the female figure.
Who are the founders? Identical twins Liv and Dom Cave-Sutherland who graduated from illustration degrees in 2015 and launched their eponymous homeware brand in Lewes.
What to buy? Whether you’re in the market for an upcycled lampshade, a candle holder or a pretty soap dish, Liv & Dom are your women. They only drop new stock every month or so and, when they do, you’ll have to be quick as it tends to sell out within hours.
What is it? Hand-crafted terrazzo homewares.
Who is the founder? A product of the pandemic, Terrazzo Perazo was founded by Milly Parazo after she lost her job in May 2020 (you can read Yahoo Style’s interview with her here).
What to buy? You can’t go past the signature trinket dishes.
What is it? A bespoke stationery service fulfilling all your wildest floral fantasies.
Who are the founders? Sister duo Alice Howarth and Naomi Bell. Alice has a journalism background and Naomi is an illustrator by trade.
What is it? The UK's first milk and cookie bar, currently stocked at Selfridges and delivering UK-wide.
Who are the founders? Chelsie Collins and Kristelle Levyare, two professionally-trained chefs who founded the brand in 2016. After a trip to New York, the pair became “obsessed” with American-style cookies and decided to bring them to UK soil.
Our Lovely Goods
What is it? Natural wax candles, botanical skincare and the team also works with talented artisans in Nigeria to curate their collection of homewares.
Who are the founders? Aberdeen-based Ebi and Emmanuel Sinteh, a husband and wife duo. The pair hold workshops on how to make your own candles and body scrubs too.
What to buy? The raffia collection of homewares is particularly beautiful, but it’s hard to go past one of their chic soy candles (Into the Woods, with scents of pine, clove and bergamot, is our pick).
What is it? A fresh take on the classic jigsaw puzzle, these are the kind of puzzles that, once finished, you’ll want to frame.
Who are the founders? Georgia Totvanian and Talya Aylin Baker who launched the puzzle brand in November 2020.
What to buy? There’s three different vibrantly coloured puzzles - simply take your pick.
What is it? London’s first plant store dedicated to cacti - and it ships UK-wide.
Who is the founder? Award-winning photographer Gynelle Leon who has even penned a book about cacti.
What to buy? With it’s wide-ranging selection of cacti, succulent fans simply need to take their pick. Our personal favourites are the mammillaria backebergiana subs ernestii and the echeveria pulvinata (be sure to pick up one of Prick's signature two-tone pots as well).
What is it? Handmade accessories crafted from Grade-A Mulberry silk.
Who is the founder? After graduating from a fashion degree in 2016, Jo Norton launched her own luxury silk brand and hasn’t looked back since.
What is it? Nude tights in inclusive skin tones and sizes.
Who are the founders? During a cold winter, Tahlia Gray became “frustrated by her inability to find tights to match her skin tone”, thus Sheer Chemistry was born.
What to buy? One of its various shades of tights, of course.
What is it? Kendall Jenner-approved underwear. Created by women, for women.
Who are the founders? Friends Minna Bunting and Hattie Tennant started their London Fields-based lingerie brand four years ago and it’s now available for worldwide shipping from its site.
What is it? Greeting cards designed to depict marginalised groups.
Who is the founder? Law student Avila Chidume set up Avila Diana in 2018 when she saw a gap in the market for greeting cards that represent underrepresented communities.
What is it? A Manchester-based boutique specialising in handmade handbags and accessories.
Who is the founder? Natasha Fernandes Anjo, who goes by the nickname ‘Roop’. Several years after studying fashion at university, Natasha decided to create the environmentally conscious brand that now has a cult following.
What to buy? If you don’t already own one of its signature furoshiki bags, it’s best to invest now.
What is it? A slow fashion brand making one-of-a-kind dresses for sizes 6-22.
Who is the founder? Mandie Voukanari launched Lofty Frocks six years ago, and it has gone from strength to strength ever since.
What to buy? One of the bespoke dresses - you can peruse the different fabrics available here.
What is it? A subscription box filled with African-inspired craft kits.
Who is the founder? Comfort Badaru Smithson launched the boxes in August 2020. The name, Fundi, is a Swahili term for someone who is skilled in making things.
What to buy? Subscribe to the craft boxes or simply buy a one-off - each box comes with a small gift as well.
What is it? Patterned ceramics, hand thrown in the UK.
Who is the founder? Glasgow potter Cath started making pottery after a trip to Japan in 2015. She signed up for night classes when she returned and now makes both functional and decorative pieces.
What to buy? Cath is currently in the middle of a restock but check out her Instagram for past wares.
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