On March 8th 2021, the world celebrated 113 years of International Women’s Day. It caused us at Arddun Stores to reflect and appreciate all the amazing female owned businesses we have the pleasure of working with every day.
In short, the history of Women’s Day began in 1908 when 15,000 women marched through New York City, demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.
Whilst we have come a long way, many of these issues remain, making it imperative that as a society we acknowledge and celebrate women’s achievements as well as provide platforms to help forge positive change for women.
Almost 70% of the brands we represent are female owned businesses, so narrowing it down to just 5 wasn’t an easy task!
With that in mind, we would like to give a shout out to 5 inspirational female run brands that we stock at Arddun.
1. MAISON BENGAL | Sheenagh Day
Maison Bengal is a textiles company that epitomizes female empowerment. It was founded by Sheenagh Day after she spent many years working in the aid industry and was constantly impressed by the traditional artisanal skills she came across in the poorest areas of Bangladesh.
In direct response, she decided to create a Fairtrade company on her return to the UK, providing a market for some of the most marginalized communities in Bangladesh.
Using locally grown, natural materials, such as Jute and Hogla (local sea-grass), MAISON BENGAL works closely with local fair trade partner organisations to produce a range of handmade products.
The company now employ over five thousand women throughout Bangladesh, allowing women to work in their home environment and became breadwinners and leaders in their communities.
We adore this brand, not only for their gorgeous shopper and totes, but every time one is sold, we know it is helping support and change female lives and communities for the better.
2. AROKIYAM | Joela Sakayam
Arokiyam is a female owned, London based candle company run by Joela Sakayam. Joela spent several years working in luxury wholesale and saw how fashion was operating and affecting the environment.
Additionally, working in showrooms, candles are often burning for 7-9 hours a day and she felt it would be great to have a natural option. This spurred on the idea to create a vegan, natural alternative. The Sri Lankan element was inspired by her great-great grandmother’s story and was subsequently named after her.
Arokiyam lived in a small fishing village, with no electricity or running water. She was known as a ‘wise elder’, living at one with nature. Arokiyam used to visit different villages in the area, importing fish and other goods. She was known as an entrepreneur, which was particularly unusual for the time because women would normally work at home and stay with the children.
Joela found that Sri Lanka exports a lot of spices that are used in candles, inspiring the scents we see (or smell) in her candles today.
We love stocking Joela’s candles as they align with our own morals and standards. They not only smell divine and respect the environment, but Arokiyam’s story is based on celebrating women and female entrepreneurs.
3. MAYA NJIE PERFUMES | Maya Njie
Maya Njie Perfumes is another female run business based in London. The brand was founded in 2016 after Maya began experimenting with the sense of smell, inspired by an old family photo album from the decades before her birth.
She studied Surface Design at the University of Arts and was eager to become a professional photographer but was scared of failure. However, studying design allowed her to implement photography in her work and use it as a medium alongside her perfume formulas.
The niche perfume brand has a clear focus on high-quality artisanal blends, and the scents are deeply rooted in Maya’s Swedish and Gambian heritage. Through her gifted ability to create perfumes, Maya has been able to reconstruct those elusive moments which may have otherwise been forgotten.
We love Maya’s perfume as they are unisex, made with love, and convey nostalgic elements whilst remaining contemporary.
4. ARAMINTA CAMPBELL | Araminta Campbell
Araminta Campbell is a Scottish born company, founded by Araminta in 2014.
Araminta grew up in Scotland and spent her childhood exploring fields and woodlands around her home, which inevitably shaped her love for Scotland’s natural beauty and charm.
She graduated with a degree in embroidery and was eager to translate her admiration for Scottish landscape and its hidden textures, into someone so beautiful that someone else would like to own and treasure.
Araminta Campbell delivers a range of hand-crafted soft furnishing products and accessories, using sustainably sourced 100% undyed British alpaca. Their textiles are made locally, using traditional skills and expert craftsmanship in order to ensure the highest quality practices and preserve ancient craft skills.
At Arddun, we appreciate Araminta’s timeless designs and homage to heritage and tradition. Each piece is intended to be enjoyed for decades and passed onto future generations.
5. THE REGULAR- Bex Courtney-Wells and Vic Holbrook
THE REGULAR is a London based clothing and accessories brand, founded by long term friends Bex Courtney-Wells and Vic Holbrook.
The pair wanted to create thoughtful, ethical garments that embraced the principles of slow fashion. They also share a special fondness for seventies nostalgia and the laid-back bohemian vibe associated with that. This inspiration has led to a curated collection of stunning quilted totes, dresses and jackets, as well as naturally died leather handbags.
THE REGULAR celebrates traditional and artisanal craft. The garments are made from the finest materials, Italian leathers, organic cotton, and organic linen. The designs are intended to last a lifetime and even get better with age and wear.
These 5 female small business owners continue to inspire us. We love their stories, their products and that extra special touch they bring to our store.