12 female-fronted businesses you should know about this festive season (and all year round!)
Challenges have rolled in thick and fast in 2020 – among them the unique pressures faced by female entrepreneurs to keep their businesses alive and thriving despite all things pandemic.
An Institute for Fiscal Studies report found that UK mums are one and a half times more likely to have quit or lost their job during lockdown as dads. Add to that the fact that – on average – women spent more than double the amount of time home-schooling their children when the Covid-19 restrictions were in full force, and you begin to see why the strain on women is so great.
We all know going into business takes time, energy and money, things that have been in short supply this year – especially for women, whose small businesses contribute a whacking great £85 billion to the UK economy. Despite that hefty sum, female founding teams are half as likely to be in a positive situation after the pandemic compared to mixed-gender or all-male ones.
What are we trying to say? In a nutshell, female-led enterprises need our support. Christmas is a key trading time for many independent businesses, and with fewer people heading to the physical shops this year, shopping around online is more important than ever.
Here in Leeds, WEP is supporting small local businesses with our very own ‘12 Days of Christmas’ (well, maybe 13, if you’re lucky). Each day for the first couple of weeks in December, we’re throwing the spotlight on a different female-helmed company – sharing their products on social and encouraging shoppers to check out their wares.
From sweet treats to essential oils, handmade jewellery to bespoke prints, there’s a diverse range of products to suit every taste. And the best part? When you buy from these indies, you’re not only supporting the local Leeds economy, you’re helping your entrepreneurial sisters thrive too.
Holly Rothwell, our Branch Policy and Research Officer, said: “As we come together as a community to ‘Build Back Equal’ from the havoc 2020 has caused to our local economy, it is vital that women-led businesses, which were increasing in number pre-pandemic, are supported to continue providing employment for local people.”
Check out the lovely list of businesses we’re supporting – perfect for a browse, a Christmas gift or a spontaneous treat. Because let’s face it, we all deserve one of those right now!
A range of heavenly diffusers, oils – and even the odd Christmas card.
2. Miss Helen’s
Delicious, bespoke cakes for every occasion and taste – all homemade by passionate Leeds baker, Helen Strange.
Emily Camara’s stunning range of handmade earrings made from polymer clay.
Check out Laveeza Zahid’s positivity prints – guaranteed to keep you smiling through Christmas and well into the new year.
5. SPACE PxSSY
Fun, feminist prints from designer Charlotte Haych.
A selection of beautiful, modern embroidery pieces made by Mari using modern and traditional techniques.
Playful, handmade statement jewellery from Leeds crafter, Laura.
Unique zines, patches, prints and pin badges from talented Yorkshire illustrator, Kristyna Baczynski.
9. Bobbi Rae UK
Unique, contemporary illustrations from self-proclaimed one-woman-show, Bobbi Rae.
A range of indie gifts – from jewellery and bubble bath to homeware, clothing and prints.
Visit Soraya Joof’s bookstore to find children’s books promoting positive black images, cultural diversity, confidence and self-love.
Afro-Deity produces handmade micro batches of 100% natural, organic body butters in West Yorkshire using cold pressed coconut oil, virgin shea butter, pomegranate seed oil and steam distilled essential oils. There are six blends available, including Mother Nature (an essential oil-free blend for extra sensitive skin), Divine Feminine (with lemon, patchouli and ylang ylang), Sweet Dreams (with lavender and roman chamomile) - and more. Each luxurious body butter is available in three sizes: a 5ml sample pot for £1.20, a 100ml size at £6.50 and a 190ml size for £12
And one for luck, because after all – it is Christmas.
Beautiful bespoke cakes made by talented baker/decorator, Leilani – with the odd cameo from her entrepreneur sister, 12-year-old Avaiyia, whose business The Kookie Kid is already making waves.