Female Founders Are On The Rise But The Road Ahead Is Still Long: How The Story of One Businesswoman Could Inspire Ten More
Disclaimer: This article was commissioned by the CEO of an ethical jewellery brand, who then refused to pay as too busy raising money. All emails and proof are available upon request. Her name and her brand’s name have been substituted with “EDITED” to avoid providing them any free publicity. The article is now for the public to read and all copyright belongs to the writer, Daniela Pisciottano
There are two types of entrepreneurs; those who focus solely on making profits and those with a mission. EDITED belongs to the latter. In 2015, she set off to making sustainable jewellery with one objective in mind: being sustainable.
That’s where the story of EDITED begins, after an eye-opening stay in the dreamy island of Bali.
By making the brave decision to put the planet’s sake before financial convenience, the tenacious entrepreneur has soon found herself facing two main obstacles: convincing consumers that sustainability is the way forward and making space for herself in an economy prevalently populated by men.
Starting an Ethical Business Before the Sustainable Fashion Revolution
EDITED made the conscious choice to solely rely on sustainable materials and happy workers – there is no need to use new silver, she says when referring to the struggles fast fashion has posed in the industry.
The past few years marked an important step forward for the slow living movement. Not only more people than ever are considering sustainable diets – veganism being the most popular one – but sustainable fashion also seems to have found its place in the world.
The penny dropped in 2013, after the Rana Plaza, an eight-story building, collapsed in Bangladesh. Over one thousand people employed by garment factories were trapped and killed in the collapse, which will be remembered as one of the most horrific consequences of fast fashion.
The cheap garments we all so loved to buy were being manufactured by people working in hellish conditions, yet no one seemed to care.
Despite noticing consumers’ reluctance to giving up fast fashion, after falling in love with the wilderness of Bali, in 2015, EDITED decided to create an eco-friendly jewellery line.
Fast forward five years and EDITED is still going strong – the sustainable fashion revolution has shed a light on the injustice of fast fashion and EDITED is now more than ever invested in creating a line of jewellery with a positive message behind it. “This line starts with the birth of a jewellery idea and ends with the sale. And this line is based on love and respect”, she says when talking about her collections. Her sustainable brand has two main things at its core: the use of ethically-sourced or sustainable materials and happy craftsmen who are fairly rewarded for their work.
With the slow fashion movement finally revolutionising the industry, consumers are also starting to warm up to the idea of investing in a few quality pieces for a capsule wardrobe, rather than indulging in compulsive shopping only dictated by the cheap price tags. And, as clothing brands focus their attention on using fabrics made from organic cotton or recycled polyester, sustainable jewellery brands are relying on materials like recycled sterling silver or up-cycled brass. This way, every accessory comes with a story of its own!
Female-led Businesses Are on The Rise and Statistics Are Showing It
A document published by the UK Government has revealed that only one in three entrepreneurs is female. It is also confirmed that female-led businesses contribute to the national economy an average of £56k per annum, versus the £126k contributed by male-led businesses.
However, as more women than ever are campaigning for equal pay, the statistics are starting to move in favour of female-led businesses. Awareness has been raised around inequality and both families and the society and working hard to provide young girls with inspiring figures that will motivate them to succeed in life.
Times are quickly changing and, while gender equality may still a few years away from being achieved, women are now fighting harder than ever for representation and support!
Today’s global situation is very different from as little as fifty years ago; women everywhere are starting to go against all odds, setting up their own businesses and this is reflecting in the statistics.
With a pinch of ambition and resilience, it is possible to flip the tables and split the statistics in half, creating a more balanced picture.
Of course, ambition is at the basis of everything, but the recipe for success has a few more ingredients you should keep in mind! All you need is Confidence, Determination, Networking and Communication.
Building confidence, of course, doesn’t happen overnight, but seeing other female entrepreneurs succeed is a great source of inspiration for all the businesswomen-wannabe out there. Determination is the second ingredient necessary for success; when EDITED saw a gap in the sustainable jewellery market she fought hard to make sure her brand would fit right in. Her determination and confidence were essential to pursue a dream and turn it into a profitable business.
Networking plays a huge role in making the next step to becoming a business owner. There is no need to attend every social event happening around you, however, try to always keep your eyes and ears peeled because you never know who could be sitting next to you on the train. The initial stages of setting up a business will require contacting every contact on your list and see how they can help; some of them will share the world on your new project, others might decide to invest in it!
That’s when good communication comes into the picture – a good businesswoman must excel in it. Don’t expect others to understand your mission straight away, instead find a way of explaining it to them in a concise, straight-to-the-point way and you will see the results. Read more, take some public speaking classes or simply go out there and just practice it!
Luckily for all the women with the ambition of becoming entrepreneurs, the decade we have just entered seems to be a more positive one for female-led businesses. This 2020 will be a year to remember; more women than ever are fighting hard to abolish the gender pay gap and a number of business loans and sponsorships are now becoming available exclusively for female entrepreneurs.
So what’s next for the brand?
As the economy starts shifting towards a more inclusive picture, five years after the start of her journey with EDITED, entrepreneur EDITED is now ready to open a new chapter in her book. The plan is to expand the business to the UK market, where consumers are already warm to the idea of choosing sustainable products over their mainstream alternatives.
If on the one hand, a sustainable brand will quickly find its place in the British economy, German founders – in particular female ones – are still a minority in the UK, and EDITED would be one of the very few of her kind, ticking boxes not many have ticked before.
Fast fashion is on its way to being fully eradicated and the credit for it goes to brands that have chosen to focus on their consumers; creating jewellery that everyone would feel comfortable wearing is a smart decision, one that will work in the brand’s advantage!
The story behind this brand is one of a kind and one thing is for sure, EDITED will be the source of inspiration for many women with the ambition of becoming entrepreneurs!
If we consider that all of this started from a trip to Bali, maybe we should all take some time to explore the world and find our place in it.
In a time where sustainability is finally on the rise, the least we – the consumers – can do is to support independent businesses, all the better if the founder is a woman!