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Article: Why its important to buy from Female Founded Businesses this Christmas

Sarah at ialso100 event
Business For Good

Why its important to buy from Female Founded Businesses this Christmas

As the festive season is now well and truly underway and the spirit of giving takes centre stage, we've been reflecting on why it's so important to buy from female founded, owned and majority businesses this festive period.

We are sure it's no surprise to you that we are very proud of the fact that Y.O.U Underwear is, and always has been, an overwhelmingly female team (everyone but Steve 😇) and are lead by our amazing founder Sarah. Female empowerment is at the very heart of our business, and it's so important to us that this is reflected both in what we do and sell, as well as who is on our team.

Image: Our founder, Sarah, meeting the amazing women who manufacture our garments in India

In a shocking statistic reported by the then Minister for Women, Maria Caulfield, only 6% of enterprises were founded by all-women or majority-women teams. Women are twice as likely as men to cite family responsibilities as a barrier to starting a business and those with children say that primary care duties are their top barrier. Female entrepreneurs are also up against age old, misogynistic gender bias in investment decision-making, meaning its even harder for us to compete in the business world - only 3% of funded British businesses are female founded.

We know full well that women have the drive, skills, ambition and determination to launch successful businesses and so we really need to tear down the obstacles that hold us back. 

Clearly, there are some pretty systemic barriers facing female entrepreneurs and as much as we would like, and are trying, to change this today - it's going to take a while!

In the meantime, we can all make important steps to supporting the transition to a fairer and more equal business landscape in the UK by using our power as consumers and shopping from female-led brands this Christmas! We are proud to be part of "Buy Women Built", an incredible organisation shining a light on the amazing brands built by women.

Their mission started with a tweet "Not everyone can invest in female founders. Not everyone can mentor female founders, but we can all by from them". We are also super happy to be part of BWB's 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway this year - more on this to come here and on our social channels!

And on that note, we thought we'd highlight a few of our favourite female-led brands that you should check out this Christmas:

1) Leiho 

  • Co-founders Joey Li and Thuta Khin met during their masters at City University and both found a passion for wanting to start a business that inspired people to do good and give back. For every pair of socks sold, they give another pair to a homeless shelter. They also help fund employment, skill building and personal development projects to help people gain experience and rebuild their lives.


2) Yago Eco Jewellery 

  • In an attempt to further reduce our waste, we have collaborated with London jewellery designer Yago Eco to create a selection of one-off pieces from our recycled mailing bags. Jagado (Jay) moved to the UK from Poland in 2006 and was inspired to start making jewellery out of recycled carrier bags when she went on a run and saw a plastic bag flying in the air. To this day, she makes jewellery that is dedicated to every woman who wants to look elegant the whole day, appreciates handmade quality and cares about the environment our children will live in. You can shop our collaboration with Yago Eco Jewellery here!

3) Bare Kind 

  • Lucy started Bare Kind back in 2018 with the intention of providing customers products that they love while also adding value to the world. She started by selling reusable metal straws, but quickly realised that she could save far more animals through socks than straws! They started by introducing a turtle sock design and now sell a wide range of sock designs and donate 10% of the profits from every pair to save the animal on the socks. In 2022, Bare Kind turtle socks raised enough money to fund the reconstruction of a turtle hatchery!

4)  Neve's Bees

  • Neve's Bees was founded back in 2011 by Julie Macken - and our very own Neve Macken! Julie became increasingly disillusioned with the poor quality and sometimes downright nasty ingredients that we are encouraged to put on and in our bodies by the beauty and pharmaceutical industries and founded Neve's Bees to change this.  All Neve's Bees skincare products and gifts are made from 100% natural plant oils, butters and botanicals blended with their pure wildcrafted beeswax and produced in their workshop in West Oxfordshire. They also donate 10% of their profits to The Wildlife Trust and give away pollinator-friendly wildflower seeds to customers.

5) Black and Beech

  • Black and Beech started in 2016 when fashion design lecturer, and mum, Stacey Grant-Canham had her first child. The thread that flows through the company is one of intersectional feminist activism and positive social change. Their version of fashion helps women own their space right up and down the supply chain, earning fair pay, working in great conditions, creating beautiful work of the finest quality, and taking pride in it all. And wearing clothes that say something strong and clear about us! To date, they have donated over £13,000 to support Women's rights charities.

6) Charlotte Spencer candles

  • Drawing on her knowledge of science, herbalism and aromatherapy, Charlotte Spencer brings you quality natural wax candles made from the finest ingredients, beautifully scented both when cold and when lit. Her products are hand-poured in the Cotswolds using only botanical waxes blended with luxurious fragrances and oils to give you a 100% vegan candle. Check out her range of Christmas candles in our Y.O.U Oxford shop now!

Charlotte Spencer – Independent Oxford

7) WUKA 

  • Founded in 2017 by Ruby Raut, WUKA was the UK's first ever reusable and leak-proof period underwear. WUKA stands for Wake Up Kick Ass because they believe that nothing should hold you back on your period, nor should there be any shame or taboo associated with menstruation. They also believe that periods shouldn't cost the earth and so put equality, social and environmental responsibility at the heart of everything they do


8) Hayley Potter 

  • Hayley Potter is a British Artist & Writer working and living in Dorset who trained at the Royal College of Art. Her work is inspired by literature, folklore, animals and nature. She has created a timeless eco-conscious collection of semi-porcelain ceramics, original artworks, greeting cards and prints inspired by the Folklore of Plants and Animals. All her beautiful cards  are designed in Hayley’s studio and professionally printed by an independent British printer onto luxury 350gsm FSC-approved card stock from environmentally responsible sources. All cards come with an eco-conscious Kraft envelope.

9) Kind2

  • Kind2 make multi-award-winning, high-performing solid shampoo and conditioner bars. They are formulated with premium plant-based ingredients for shiny, healthy hair and are vegan, palm oil free and pH balanced. Founded in 2019 by Sue Campbell, Kind2 aims to prove that saving the planet and reducing our plastic consumption doesn't have to mean bad hair!

 KIND2 Rebalancing Shampoo Bar with award badges

Local Oxfordshire female-owned businesses to check out: 

We are also big fans of the following women-owned businesses that are close to us in and around Oxford:

10) Colombia Coffee Roasters 

  • Colombia Coffee Roasters is a family-run speciality, single-origin coffee roasters born and based in Oxford that celebrates the high quality and diversity of Colombian coffee. Owner Milly is part of a generation of coffee growers in Colombia with a strong focus on delivering high-quality coffee and education, whilst supporting Fair Trade conditions to ensure their coffee is sustainable and ethical. Its focus is on sourcing, roasting, and brewing 100% arabica coffee, showcasing the incredible range of tasting notes the country has to offer.

11) Bicycle Blooms

  • Bicycle Blooms is a beautiful artisan floral studio in East Oxford founded by Jane Gandon. Jane creates bespoke bouquets for all occasions, her style is natural, focusing on flowers, seed heads, berries and leaves that embrace the changing seasons and speak for themselves.

12) Ducky Zebra  

  • Ducky Zebra was founded by Sally after she was shocked by her daughter at the age of 4, mentioning that she couldn't be a taxi driver when she was older because she was a girl! Sally realised these gendered views were coming from the books she reading, the games she was playing and the clothes she was wearing. Sally wanted to tackle at least one of these areas, and create clothes for her, and other girls, that inspired confidence and determination to achieve whatever they wanted. Ducky Zebra therefore makes colourful, organic clothes for kind, confident kids. All of their designs are free from the gender stereotypes often seen in clothing - allowing kids to be kids. Their garments are also GOTS certified organic cotton and they donate £1 to charity for every item sold.

'Meanwhile in Oxfordshire..' Case Study: Ducky Zebra, the sustainable  kidswear brand challenging gender stereotypes, championing change and  inspiring happy children | OxLEP

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