Female Founder Award
This award was won by Black Girl Knit Club who received a cash prize of £10,000, and the Runner-Up was Kitty’s Kits who received £5,000.
As a reminder, the Female Founder Award shines a light on the brilliant women behind brilliant brands. Why? Because women are still disproportionately less likely to start a business or get access to funding than men. It celebrates those female founders who are smashing stereotypes, defining a new narrative, and who are paving the way for others.
This award was sponsored by Avon, who have given millions of women all over the world the opportunity to earn and learn, helping them to build independent livelihoods on their own terms since the brand was established in 1886.
Black Girl Knit Club
Founded in early 2019 by Sicgmone and Vea, Black Girl Knit Club was born to create a safe and inclusive space for Black women creatives and to promote diversity within the craft community. Since launching, they have built a 600+ strong community through their monthly workshops and online tutorials.
18-year-old Kitty founded Kitty’s Kits out of her passion for teaching as many people as possible about the art of breadmaking (and a strong belief that bread should be accessible to everyone). Her kits and free classes give people of all ages a ‘breaducation’, empowering communities with new skills.
Meet the nominees
Each of these independent businesses was selected for being outstanding in this category.
Black & Beech
Black & Beech is a feminist fashion brand that celebrates and supports women everywhere: their freedoms, their choices and their thoughts. As well as a responsible supply chain, they have donated over £12,000 to charities that support female rights.
egg is an online platform supporting and empowering women in Scotland. This year they opened their first bricks and mortar space — a pop-up in the heart of Edinburgh — welcoming almost one hundred, female-led businesses.
The Fabled Thread
Eppie founded The Fabled Thread to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to explore their creative side. Her designs have inspired many to pick up a needle for the first time and helped refresh many people’s idea of sewing.
Aunt Joy Gallery
Founded by Amy Gardner, Aunt Joy is an online gallery exhibiting a carefully curated collection of art by female artists, with a clear intention to promote a more balanced representation in the industry. 10% of every sale is donated to charities supporting women.
Bird Kitchen Clothing
Vicky at Bird creates kitchen clothing for women of all shapes and sizes who work in the world of food. They believe in the alignment of slow food and slow fashion, and strive to make their production sustainable and planet friendly.
Cult of Youth
Cult of Youth was born with the tagline ‘jewels to keep your loved ones close’ and it was helping others to celebrate their families, that allowed founder Kelly to support her own. All pieces from their made-to-order range are produced in London using recycled materials where possible.
The Domestic Duster project inspires women-centred solidarity and activism through craft. It invites women to hand embroider their domestic perspectives and experiences onto a yellow duster. Each cloth is exceptional and personal.
Highlighting the importance of community through storytelling, Joke creates tapestry art to empower and champion the voices of Black women. She is on a mission to break barriers and create a positive change in our world.
KISO fuses founder Aimee’s passions for style and sustainability. Their ethical boilersuits are lovingly made of 100% organic cotton, use eco-friendly dyes and are fitted with biodegradable detailing to make them adjustable and suitable to be handed down and loved again and again.
Offering handwoven homeware and accessories, La Basketry is a lifestyle brand that collaborates with female artisans in their native Senegal. Through books and DIY craft kits, founder Tabara is also inspiring a new wave of makers.
Liv & Dom
Twin sisters Liv and Dom are ceramicists and designers that make unique and hand-crafted statement pieces for the home. Their signature nude figures strive to destigmatize nudity, promote body positivity and bring joy to the home.
Let Us Pretend
With a ‘shine bright like a sequin’ ethos, Susie at Let Us Pretend creates ‘wearable mega sparkle’ for everyday heroes. Their exuberant collection of glittery childrens and adults capes, rosettes and banners are inspired by pop culture and ‘the art of dressing fancy’.
After experiencing debilitating issues with her own hormone cycle, Maisie Hill spent years researching and testing treatment strategies — becoming a a highly-qualified practitioner along the way. Since then, she has written a book Period Power and created a free guide to help other women understand their cycles.
Born out of a desire for more diverse, inclusive, joyful dresses, founder Mary put conscious eco-manufacturing at the heart of her business, as well as providing a space for local crafters to create their made-to-order pieces.
Mère Soeur is a lifestyle brand for mums that celebrates the importance of subverting tired stereotypes of motherhood in a tongue-in-cheek, exciting way. On setting up the business, their founder says, “The support of other mamas was utterly invaluable. Never underestimate the power of a girl gang.”
Myro Doodles is a Mancunian-Ukrainian artist whose bespoke, hand drawn creations inject heart, soul and commercial impact into the windows and walls of independent retailers, schools and hospitals, up and down the country.
Rubbish Portraits is a live portrait booth, where illustrator Lucie Sheridan will draw your portrait in just 3 minutes. Lucie’s booth is miles apart from a typical “photo booth”, priding itself on providing fun, chat and good times.
Founded by Paris, Stalf is an easywear brand that produces handmade garments by a female team from their workshop, The Pink Studio. At the very heart of the company is tracability and transparancy.
In a world where we’re often told we’re ‘too much’, The Enthusiast was set up by founder Ellie to encourage unashamed enthusiasm. They offer eco-friendly, ethically-made clothing, home décor, a print magazine and podcast to help ‘celebrate you’ fully.
The Money Edit
Written by Makala Green, The Money Edit is a ‘no blame, no shame’ guide to taking control of your money. The book gives women the confidence and clarity to understand money and make smarter choices at every stage in life.