iCandy have always believed in supporting independent businesses. This International Women’s Day we want to put a spotlight on some of our favourite women-led, empowering independent businesses.
Here are some of the iCandy Family favourites.
Shortly after arriving in Bangladesh, Samantha Morshed started Hathay Bunano, a non-profit organization. Its mission is to create fairly paid, good quality, flexible and local employment for rural women who are poor and often disadvantaged.
After 5 years, with more than 2000 women working in rural production centres around the country and inclusion of crèche facilities and pre-schools where possible, our founder, Samantha Morshed was honoured with MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) from the Queen for her services to the rural poor women of Bangladesh.
Babies, toddlers, and children smile with wonder at the cute designs and quirky expressions. Parents smile at the joy of watching their little ones and knowing that their purchase also helped a family a long way away. And the Hathay Bunano artisans smile knowing that they have sustainable, regular, and flexible employment and a chance to give their own children a better life.
Deborah Ajaja founded Colour Celebrations after the birth of her son in 2018. As a proud first time Mother, she was keen to share pictures of her precious little baby with friends and family as he grew and hit his various developmental and cultural milestones. When she struggled to find any milestone products which were representative of her son’s hue, her family’s culture and the variety of celebrations they honoured she decided to do something about it. Having quickly realised that this was truly a problem and there was a gap in the market, the Colour Celebrations Milestone Cards were born and she worked tirelessly to bring the vision to life.
Colour Celebrations is the only company offering baby milestone cards and luxury gifting for Black and mixed race babies. Its products intentionally celebrate babies’ skin colour, and provides an alternative to the current “colour blind” baby gifting options available today. Colour Celebrations empowers parents to celebrate both developmental baby milestones and cultural milestones in a fun and impactful way. The Colour Celebrations community prides itself on celebrating colour, culture and heritage, and does it boldly and proudly.
Rachel Carrell, founder and CEO of Koru Kids is a mum from Highgate in North London (although originally from New Zealand). Before founding Koru Kids, she worked at McKinsey and in health technology for years.
But it was only when she had a baby - and all her friends had babies - that she realised how difficult childcare was in London. It's hard to arrange with no great tools out there to simplify it, incredibly expensive, and common options like nursery just don't work for lots of families - either it's not as individually attentive as you hoped for or you just missed the boat and didn’t get your name down prior to conception!
She kept hearing horror stories from friends who weren't happy with their choices but felt powerless to change them. I also saw lots of female friends unable to go back to work,or making career choices they didn't really want to make, just because they couldn't find the right childcare. She felt deeply that this was unfair, and bad for society.
She decided to quit her job and help families find the right childcare so they can flourish. Childcare that creates awesome mini-humans, puts emotional wellbeing first, that’s easy to arrange and doesn’t cost the earth.
She couldn’t be more proud of the talent of the team around her to help her with this mission - together they want to make sure every family can flourish with our help.
Learn more here
The Latched journey started in January 2018 after the birth of Natalie’s daughter, Harper. Prior to her birth she thought she knew what being tired was, then my little snack feeder decided to give her a real education on sleep deprivation. Her little and often snack style appetite didn't allow much opportunity to leave the house or do anything for herself. This really took a toll on her mental health during a particularly harsh winter. She was desperate to leave the house, so she started googling breastfeeding jumpers and sports bras (because she lives in activewear). To say she was disappointed was an understatement! She cried and cried at how hard her life had become to do something as simple as walking the dog.
Determined to live her life, she put pencil to paper and started drawing, worked through and a few months later had samples made up and in her hands. And the rest they say is history.
Latched aims to support and flatter all types of Mums. From maternity wear to postnatal necessities and every step in between, Natalie has designed everything you could need.
Marlie King Balloons
Sam founded Marlie King Balloons back in 2016. It was her daughter’s, Amarlia’s, 1st birthday when they both discovered a love for balloons. Amarlia went crazy playing with them and seeing her beautiful face light up with all the colours meant over the next couple of years, balloons became a regular purchase.
It wasn’t until Sam went to a baby shower in 2018 that she had the thought of starting a balloon business. Her friend had the most beautiful balloons and gave them to everyone to take home as a gift. However, by the evening the balloon was on the floor, no longer floating and it left her very disheartened.
She needed to create beautiful balloons that lasted.
Whilst pregnant with baby number two, she decided to take the plunge and created balloons for her own baby shower. The WOWs she received cemented it and Marlie King Balloons was born.
Rosemary Deer Lodge
Charlotte is a content creator, currently found at @rosemarydeerlodge.
When she isn't working hard renovating her home and creating gorgeous content, she is with her family and newborn son.
Charlotte believes that being a woman means being strong. We take on so much mental load every day and achieve so much that goes unnoticed. Not to mention the physical strength needed to go through pregnancy and labour!
As a business woman running a female dominated business it was really important for her to show she could do it all, however now she feels like that’s a bit of old fashion thinking now she has been through it and she realises we put too much pressure on ourselves. We don’t need to show that having children will not impact our lives, because it will. We need the world (and ourselves) to take the pressure off us and allow us to find our own ways of juggling our lives, in a way that works for us.
She is surrounded by the most hardworking women at work every day and has the most amazing inspirational friends.
Learn more here