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International Women's Day 2020

International Women's Day 2020 - Getty Images

In celebration of International Women's Day this year on March 8th, we wanted to celebrate the female business owners that have made BeeBee Wraps accessible for communities all over the world. 

This year's theme focuses on forging a gender-equal world, that celebrates women's achievements, raises awareness against bias and takes action for equality. We wanted to make some noise about what the amazing female business owners who we work with have achieved in the eco-industry. Here they share their stories, from deciding to start their ventures to the valuable lessons they've learnt as a woman in business. 

We can all choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender-equal world.

Let's all be #EachforEqual.

Zoe Wiggins - Vida Eco Shop

Zoe Wiggins - Vida Eco Shop

When did you start Vida Eco Shop?

1st July 2019

What made you start Vida Eco Shop? 

I wanted to make a difference by trying to reduce plastic pollution in our environment and help people find alternatives to plastic.

The charity was always going to be integral to my business model, I knew I wanted to donate to the charity myself, but also find brands to stock on my shop who give back too.

What's been your biggest achievement? 

Starting! I had the idea in my head for two years before I started, I knew I wanted to do it but had no idea about running a business, building a website, marketing, any of it! Just a relentless passion to make a difference. So I took courses, learned what I could and finally started taking steps towards my goal.

What advice would you give to other women looking to start a business in the eco-industry?

Don't wait until you're "ready" because there's no such thing. There is always more to learn and the best way to learn is by doing. I wish I had started sooner.

Jenny Derry - Anything But Plastic

Jenny Derry - Anything But Plastic

When did you start Anything But Plastic?

16th October 2017

What made you start Anything But Plastic? 

The idea for Anything But Plastic grew out of the time I spent standing around whilst working in a shop. I spent a lot of time (prior to 2017) taking plastic products out of plastic packaging. Almost every product was individually wrapped in plastic packaging, which was destined for the bin immediately. I got fed up of this and started to cut my own plastic consumption, but I found that this quickly became time consuming, pricey and resulted in a lot of failures (e.g. product looks great, turns up wrapped in plastic.)

I thought I could use my retail skills to create a site that properly provided alternatives to plastic, and made sure that the supply chain wasn’t littered with loads of plastic either. So, Anything But Plastic was born.

I believed that the more easily available this stuff was, the more people would use it. …Pretty accurate prediction looking back on it!

What's been your biggest achievement? 

Keeping the whole thing going probably! It isn’t a very glamorous achievement, but somehow managing to make sure the business stays running, despite some long periods of intense stress, is what I consider to be a big achievement and is what I’m proud of anyway.

Anything But Plastic has its own achievements and I’m glad it’s been able to provide a useful source of information and place to buy the plastic-free products people are after, but it wouldn’t have been able to do so if I’d given up and packed it all in. So that’s what I’ll pat myself on the back for.

What advice would you give to other women looking to start a business in the eco-industry?

Don't go it alone.

Make sure you have a good support circle around you if it's a solo venture, as running your own business quickly becomes overwhelming. You need to be able to bounce your ideas off others and share the decision-making load, getting stuck in your own head with all of that otherwise is too much.

It’s way more fun if you have a team around you. 😊

Charity Nichols - Green Tulip

Charity Nichols - Green Tulip

When did you start Green Tulip?

30th March 2007

What made you start Green Tulip? 

I wanted to show people that you didn't have to compromise your sense of style in order to shop ethically - something that was considered an issue back in 2007!

What's been your biggest achievement? 

Still being here after 13 years - still innovating and moving forwards! And during that time building up a lovely team to help me, as well as helping many small brands grow their own businesses by selling their products.

What advice would you give to other women looking to start a business in the eco-industry? 

Be prepared to do things differently, not just stick with how things have always been done.

Although 'eco' is becoming more mainstream much of this is about the product only, not about changing the way we trade. As well as being about how things are packaged etc, we want to see fairness to everyone in the supply chain, and honesty and supportiveness in the way we do business. We'll continue to act in that way ourselves, and make businesses question the way things are usually done.

Kath Austin - BeeBee Wraps

Kath Austin - International Women's Day - Each for Equal

When did you start BeeBee Wraps?

26th April 2017

What made you start BeeBee Wraps? 

BeeBee Wraps wasn't planned at all! I just wanted to stop the amount of clingfilm we used at home and started trying to make an alternative. The next thing I knew I was selling them on a market stall and the business kept growing. When I decided to take it seriously and give up my job it really started growing!

What's been your biggest achievement? 

There have been so many amazing things happen as a result.

The amount of pieces of plastic we've saved reaching the environment is over 15 million now!

We've worked with some other very cool brands like Lucy and Yak and Green Pioneer - all female-led businesses.

I've faced the Dragons in the den and survived.

Honestly, the most personal and emotive achievement is inspiring the next generation of women coming through. I have two daughters who accept without question that mummy has a business, it's the norm for them.

The limiting belief that constrains so many women and the ceiling of achievement placed upon us is lifting, slowly but surely. I am proud to be part of the positive force pushing against all that stands in our way.

What advice would you give to other women looking to start a business in the eco industry?

Don't ask permission to do anything. Just get out there and do it. Fail fast. Test your idea, without spending too much money, and if it doesn't work move on to to the next iteration or idea.

Find the people who tell you the truth, challenge your actions and support you to achieve. Sometimes it's hard to hear truths you don't like but it's the best way to grow, those who just agree with you to save your feelings are very nice but unhelpful.

 

Equality is not a women's issue, it's a business issue. 

So let's build a gender-equal world that's #EachforEqual.

For more information and to take action, please visit the International Women's Day site here

Special shout-out to all the other fantastic female business owners (and non-business owners!) who have helped us on this mission against single-use plastic. You're the best! 

Rachel Karniely

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