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Championing Female Led Business for #MadeInUK Day


Today - the 9th of March - is Made in UK Day, where we celebrate and support businesses who make their products right here in the UK. With yesterday being International Women's Day (what a week!), we wanted to shed a spotlight on the female experience of creating and making things here in the UK.
Louisa Rogers Trendlistr Studio Courtenay
This year's International Women's Day theme is #ChooseToChallenge. Their mission for this years theme is to remind everyone “We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world”.
 
So, we wanted to challenge more women to take the plunge and create their own businesses, and change what is still a male dominated world. In the last few years the number of businesses in the UK has sky rocketed, but still only 32.37% of them are created and founded by women. Despite the margin closing, there is still a huge gender gap between female and male owned businesses.
So, how do we change this?

Just start

It doesn't matter whether you're a one woman band setting up shop at your kitchen table, or a team of women hiring space from a friend together. Just start. Start small and don't do yourself an injustice by not applying for any and all funding you may be eligible for. Making that first product, or finding that niche is always that hardest part, but once you've done it once, it gets easier and easier.

Get The Right Funding

One of the many things standing in the way of women is the lack of funding. 
As it turns out, women are actually offered less funding than men at quite literally every stage of their business. Alison Rose, CEO of Natwest conducted her 2019 "Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship" which found that start-up funding is the top barrier for women, and therefore they began their businesses with a massive 53% less funding on average than men did. We're also less likely to take on debt, and less aware of funding options we're eligible for. We can't even scale up - less than 1% of venture funding goes to all-female business teams. Make sure you keep pushing to get the support and funding you deserve.

Hire Women

Studio Courtenay and our sister company, Trendlistr, are female-founded, with an all-women in-house team running things day to day. All-women teams are often pegged as bitchy or difficult, but it couldn't be further from the truth. Our team is supportive, encouraging and get's things done. Don't let stereotypes put you off from working with female teams - where possible, look for women to fill the roles you need filling to make your business a success.

Play to your strengths

No one is excellent at everything all of the time. You have your strengths and your weaknesses, and it's ok to admit it. Use them to create a plan that works for you, and if you can hire people to fill in your blind spots. You might be awful at marketing but brilliant at bookkeeping. Great - instead of getting an accountant, hire a marketing manager.

 

Shout About It

We tend to shy away from bigging ourselves up incase we look arrogant, or we fail, or we turn people off. But the truth is, no one is going to believe in your and your business more than you do. So you need to shout about it. Shout it from the rooftops, from social media accounts, from adverts and friends and customers. Make sure everyone knows that you're here and you're brilliant.

 

Manufacture Locally

Aside from being great for the local economy, there are so many practical benefits that come with having your products and/or team local to you. Firstly, it saves you shipping costs and benefits the environment by not having your components or products imported from overseas. Secondly, it means you can create a much better environment with your workforce. You can engage in conversations, show them examples and see exactly how your items are made and in what conditions.

 

Creating women-led, UK-based businesses would make a huge change to any and all industries. It doesn't matter whether you're working in fashion or tech, skincare or electronics; having more women in these roles and leading in these businesses can positively impact the industries in far great ways and create more equal opportunities for women. It may not seem like your one small business can make a difference, but it can.