To celebrate the launch of our brand-new Galentine’s card collection in collaboration with Martha Bräuer – four card designs showcasing the love, care and appreciation we have for all the fabulous women in our lives, we wanted to take the opportunity to write an article that celebrates some of the fantastic achievements women, both inside the greeting card industry, and out.
But first, you might be thinking, ‘What is Galentine’s Day?’
Galentine’s Day is the day before Valentine’s Day and is dedicated to celebrating love and friendships between women – a motion that we can 100% get behind at Lucy Maggie Designs. After all, who else is there for you at all hours of the day to give you advice, support, and last min pep talks before your big presentation at work or for your first dates other than your ride-or-die best girlfriends? Galentine’s Day is a special day – and the perfect excuse – to pamper your best friends and let them know how grateful you are for everything they do, no matter how big or how small. There is no finer icon for this blessed day than our girl Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation, who describes the event quite simply as “Ladies celebrating ladies”.
Women in Business Spotlight
First up, a local Northwest organisation, The Women’s Organisation (WO), whose mission is to support women towards achieving their personal, social, and economic potential. In 1996, Maggie O’Carroll, the CEO and co-founder of the WO, established the organisation to provide business support and guidance to women in the local area. Whilst the organisation started locally, they now operate internationally to provide educational and business support across Europe, China, Thailand, and Africa. Their hard work, dedication and tenacity have supported the creation of over 4,000 firms and over 60,000 women to get their voices heard, visions seen, and goals met. They are an inspirational organisation that we can’t praise enough.
We spoke with Sophia Kennedy, Head of Business Advice Plus at the WO, on why groups such as the WO are so important.
The purpose of the Women’s Organisation is to empower and encourage women to reach their full potential. We represent women from all walks of life and bring them together to learn from each other and work together to create support networks and lifelong friendships.
Ethical feminist fashion is what Black & Beech is all about. Started by Stacey Grant-Canham in 2016, Black & Beech was originally created to develop a range of contemporary teething jewellery following the birth of Stacey’s first son. Since then, the range has evolved to include consciously created clothing, jewellery, accessories, and homeware.
Black & Beech has donated over 13,000 pounds to pro-choice charities and highlights reproductive choice justice in both their product range and content they create. A well-deserving business to be highlighted this Galentine’s, wouldn’t you agree?
We asked Stacey how it all started.
“Black & Beech started when I had children, a politicising experience. The business really developed initially in line with my journey through motherhood. Whilst the company started by selling teething jewellery, the year after the business launched there was a lot going on globally, with Donald Trump becoming president, Brexit and the repeal the eighth campaign really taking hold back home in Ireland. I felt I needed to expand the business to other product lines to address some of the sexism towards women that was increasing as a result of these societal changes.
“With a background in fashion design, I was really keen to extend into clothing and was a bit exhausted by the poorly made feminist slogan T-shirts I was seeing from high street brands, from companies with male CEOs that showed a lack of care for the women makers in the supply chain.
“I started by commissioning local illustrators to create graphics based on my ideas, then screen printed them myself on to sustainably sourced garments, giving a fiver from every sale to a local abortion fund.
“Since then, Black & Beech has expanded into manufacturing knitwear and nightwear, and we now make sustainable products in the UK, India and Portugal.
“At the heart of everything we do is making sure everything we produce is done some as consciously as possible, whilst striving to make a financially and ethically sustainable business. It is a challenge every day, but one we love and embrace!
We are obsessed with Books That Matter, a feminist literary subscription service dedicated to diversifying reading and sharing empowering stories that break the book bias of writing by archetypal white males. After all, women are here to share their stories too!
Books That Matter was founded by Molly whilst in her second year of university. After studying text after text, all written by male authors, she searched for women’s literary works. Her reading found a new lease of life when she discovered a goldmine of female authors offering diverse books. Molly’s mission is to create a platform for new voices, create a broader representation of culture and society and making women’s work more assessable in order to increase the demand. Some of our favourite reads recommended by Books That Matter includes ‘Of Women and Salt’, ‘Her Majesties Royal Coven’, ‘Stone Blind’ and ‘Destination Baby’.
Molly’s innovative idea, dedication and hard work haven’t gone unnoticed in 2022; she was listed in Forbes 30 Under 30 List this year.
Independent greeting card and stationery publisher Sunshine Llama is a company deserving of recognition this Galentine’s, thanks to the fantastic work from its collection of artists. Sunshine Llama was formed from the need to bring give new illustrators, designers and artists to get their work seen where they might have otherwise found it challenging. The publisher has been lucky enough to work with some of the most determined, hard-working, and talented women throughout 2022. One of its latest collaborations is with illustrator Martha Bräuer, which focuses specifically on celebrating the importance of female friendships on Galentine’s Day.
We asked Martha how women inspired her work as an illustrator and talked about her collection with Sunshine Llama.
I find women’s ability to excel in male-dominated fields very inspiring, especially in the creative industry. It’s exciting to see women bring fresh perspectives along with a passion to their work, which makes me strive to showcase strong female characteristics in my work. I love to showcase femininity as positive and strong, even if it has traditionally been seen as something weak, and I have loved bringing this into the Galentine’s Day collection as well. I loved combining very light and feminine colours and patterns with the strong messages, encouraging ‘girl-power’ and female independence.
Tits London celebrates female designers and makers whilst also focusing on raising money for charities worldwide. Popping up in various locations around London since its humble beginnings, Tits London – run by Jess and Sophie, who are also makers themselves – has brought brilliant designers to the British public and raised awareness of some awesome female-owned and operated businesses, as well as some great charity causes.
We spoke to Jess about how the idea for Tits London came about and asked her to recommend her favourite female designers.
“We came up with the idea for Tits back in 2018 while we were sat in an airport. Soph had recently come back from a trip to NYC, where she had come across a shop called Bulletin & I had just been approached to sell in their NYC shop. Bulletin is one of the first shops to promote & sell products by female makers. Their business model & aesthetic was something that we were really drawn to, and something that hadn’t really hit the UK yet. We are both very spontaneous people, so we decided then and there to create our own pop-up shop promoting our favourite female artists, makers & creatives. Through starting Tits we have created such a great community, and watched so many of the brands we work with do amazing things! To shout out a few names we have loved meeting & working with, Kam Creates, Limpet Store, Jacqueline Colley, Eat Mielies.”
Lucy Maggie Designs
Finally, from the owner and founder of Lucy Maggie Designs – an independent giftware and stationery business based in Liverpool – Lucy Nicholson talks about being a woman in business and getting where she is today.
I am very lucky to actually be in one of the few industries where the majority of its contributors are women. It has made my journey as a greeting card illustrator a really positive experience. Unlike other industries, the greeting card sector is full of creative people who are more than happy to offer up advice and support to others who are starting– it is such an inclusive environment, and I feel very lucky to be a part of it.
The majority of buyers of greeting cards are women, so not only am I working alongside some really inspiring women, but my products are designed to appeal to them as well. One of my most successful cards, year-on-year, is my ‘Shake Your Tits, It’s Your Birthday’ design. The card taps into the female psyche, celebrating body positivity and embracing womanhood. I also have a variety of other designs based on breasts, which are popular with the female population generally, as well as more specifically amongst breastfeeding mothers. I love that my products are symbolic for these women on their breastfeeding journey.