I have been thinking about the concept of women running successful businesses a lot for the last few days.
It seems to have been in the press rather more than usual, with the Queen's speech making reference to women returning to work after children, and David Cameron expressing his opinions on the issue.
I am personally a huge advocate of women being given as much opportunity as possible to follow their dreams and goals. I know how hard it is to juggle being a mother with anything else, let alone a career or business, and think we should all support women in business, regardless of whether they are mothers or not.
So, I have found a few local women who have some wonderful companies, who really inspire me, and wanted to share their stories with you.
First up is Julie Shaw. She is an American mum, who lives in Fulham with her gorgeous daughter Lucy and husband Gavin. Having grown up in the American South, where children are dressed quite traditionally, she was surprised to find a lack of smocked and classic baby clothing in London. Struggling with the high street offerings (Lucy was never going to wear leopard print or mini skirts!), she decided to start her own company, as an antidote to high street shops that want to dress babies as 'mini adults'.
And so Jack and Lucy was born. Her first collection is an adorable mixture of Jubilee dresses, dinosaur rompers and duckling bubbles (a new term for me, but basically super cute all in ones which are great to encourage crawling in little ones). The cleverest part in my opinion is that all the items look gorgeous but are machine washable and can be thrown in the tumble dryer with no ill effects, which is genius when you have grubby little trouble makers....!
Second up is Joanna Grigson, who has the most fabulous hat company, perfect for weddings, races and any other hat wearing opportunity! She graduated from the London College of Fashion and slowly started making hats for friends and family, last year designing a hat that was worn at a certain Royal wedding in April!
After being encouraged to start a Facebook page, her business has taken off. When describing her studio, she refers to it as a sweet shop, full of jars of feather and trims, which clients can pick and mix to their hearts content. How amazing does that sound?!
Finally, Nina Elvin-Jensen, another Fulham resident, started Little Delivery, an online toy shop, having decided that she wanted to do her own thing on her own terms. She gave up her job as a surveyor, and was lucky enough to become an Aunt to Harry.
Wanting to shower him with presents, Nina quickly realised that there was a huge gap in the market for a site that offered special and unique presents for him, that were a pleasure to give and lots of fun to pay with. And so Little Delivery was born! If you are in need of tasteful, unique gifts for a little one, have a look, I can't recommend it enough! There is a great mixture of old fashioned wooden toys, personalised gifts and lots of other goodies for children of all ages.
Jack and Lucy, the full collection will be online from Friday at jackandlucy.co.uk, or email Julie@jackandlucy.co.uk.
The Emily, from 3m-24m, £25
The Caroline, from 3m-24m, £25
The Harry, from 3m-12m, £30
Joanna Grigson Millinery, online at Joanna@joannagrigson.com
Little Delivery, click here to visit website Wooden Rocking Horse, £75.
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