I’m not going to lie – you wouldn’t like me very much if you beat me at Scrabble. Words are my business, and if you kick my butt with them, I’ll get pretty vexed (16 points). Letter tiles aside, though, I’ve always found competition a little tricky.
The simple truth is, I don’t want to compete with other women. My entire business is predicated on the idea that while scarcity mentality harms us all, great things happen when women support each other. There’s enough space at the table for everyone – and if we run out, we’ll just extend it. Come join us. The more the merrier!
Sadly though, when it comes to awards, competition is pretty non-negotiable. So, while I’m thrilled to be through to the finals of business legend Holly Tucker’s Independent Awards, I’m finding it pretty tricky to locate any competitive spirit – not least because my fellow finalists are exactly the sort of businesses I love to champion here at The Flock.
Indeed, far from being my opposition, the other female founders all work in a very different arena to me. They make and sell things. Beautiful, thoughtful, sustainable things that improve women’s lives. How could I not love their work?
So, in the first of this year’s much-awaited ethical Christmas gift guides, here’s my Female Founders festive shopping list. Because competition or not, when women support each other’s ventures, we all win.
I was familiar with this brilliant company before the awards, and with good reason.
As regular readers will know, I had a hysterectomy last year having struggled for decades with endometriosis and adenomyosis. Before then, I underwent two medically-induced menopauses, in addition to one pregnancy. So, I know all too well the realities of feeling like your body is not your own.
Beyond Nine, then, is a godsend, as well as being a sustainability dream. In summary, it creates adaptable, flexible, lasting clothes that work with women’s bodies throughout monthly cycles, pregnancy, breastfeeding and beyond.
I won’t be getting pregnant again any time soon, clearly, but menopausal bloat is a definite thing. That’s why this sea green boiler suit is at the very top of my Santa list. And by Santa, clearly I am referring to my white-bearded husband. Take note, Mr Flock!
The Basket Room
The Basket Room was a new discovery for me this month, and I’m so thrilled to have found it.
Offering all things woven, from handbags and bike baskets to planters and dog beds, the wide product range has one common thread – everything is made by hand in remarkable weaving communities across Africa, ensuring generations of women can earn a living within a cooperative, with the guarantee of a fair income and good working conditions.
I’ve got my eye on a colourful new planter for my ever-expanding kitchen garden, but in terms of my own shopping, I’ll be gifting one of these brilliant woven dog beds to my brother and sister-in-law for their furry first born. Leo the pug, you’re going to enjoy snort-snoring away in this!
I actually first shopped from Dee last Christmas, when I sent cake to one of The Flock’s earliest contributors and supporters (we love you, Catherine Asta!) and I’m reliably informed it was utterly delicious. Dee also promotes fellow Black-owned businesses through her collaborative Black Business Dessert Box.
What I loved, and continue to love, about Dee’s business is the fact its postbox cakes are such an easy and affordable way to make someone smile, even when you can’t be there to give a gift in person. For that reason alone, a few of my favourite, non-local friends can expect to find a treat behind their door this December.
These edible flower madeleines look almost too good to eat. I said almost…
In the interests of honesty, I’ll admit was pretty daunted when I saw I was in the same category as Mutha.Hood, which surely must be among the most recognisable businesses in the contest.
Described as “the home of the Strong Girls Club”, Mutha.Hood was founded by Gemma with the aim of empowering girls and women through positive messaging. It has since gone on to create and curate a huge range of powerful products, from ethically-made slogan tees and sweatshirts to books that promote the benefits of community.
I’m pretty sure she’s already got the original hoodie, so my two-year-old firecracker of a niece, Lily, will be opening this Iconic Women tee this Crimbo, and I can’t wait to introduce her to the trailblazing antics of the 96 women featured across its print.
Last but not least, The Flock!
I don’t actually make anything, other than a noise and, many days, a mess. But this year, I have made sure that our readers can give the gift of The Flock to those they think would enjoy our work – and I’m feeling very proud of myself!
Priced from just £25 and with six-month and annual subscriptions available, it’s the ideal, no-waste gift for smart women who want to see a kinder women’s media. Selling a few of these would also go a long way to keeping this business afloat into 2022, so if you like what we’re doing, we’d love you to introduce a friend to our work this Christmas.