International Women's Day 2022 - Supporting Female Led Businesses

The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up.”

- Serena Williams

As a female-owned organisation, Storybox is proud to celebrate International Women’s Day and to champion women who amplify the voices of others in their work. The above quotation from Serena Williams is a line that one of our corporate clients asked to be included in the greetings note along with their Storybox gifts which were ordered for female members of their team to celebrate International Women’s Day. The quotation resonated with me because it is something that we try to do at Storybox - cheer on other brilliant businesses by way of showcasing, stocking, and distributing their goods.

The theme of International Women’s Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias. Whether conscious or unconscious, we should work towards breaking the biases that exist in our communities, our workplaces, and our homes. Whilst International Women’s Day is an opportunity to highlight the continued efforts necessary to work towards gender equality and freedom from all types of gender-based discrimination and violence, it is also an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women across society.

Storybox is proud that over 50% of our 20+ local and social business suppliers are female owned/led. On International Women’s Day 2022 I’d like to take the time to congratulate these women, share some of their stories, and celebrate the successful enterprises they have built and continue to grow.

Refuge Chocolate was founded by Tara Mullan, who is making the world that little bit brighter (and tastier) through making and distributing luxuriously thick hot chocolate along with other chocolate delicacies that are eco, fair trade, and traffick free. Tara is building a sustainable chocolate empire and in return donating profits to Flourish NI, a Northern Ireland based anti human trafficking charity.

Bolster Community - another do-good-business that works alongside individuals, families and communities to provide education, training, and support, as well as work opportunities for those of mixed ability, to help everyone achieve their full potential. The organisation is led by CEO, Jacinta Linden, who recently took time out of her busy schedule to have a coffee and a chat with and listened to some of my own business worries! The passion, energy, and emotion that oozes from Jacinta is infectious when she talks about the vital work Bolster do – I left Bolster’s HQ feeling uplifted and motivated after only a brief time speaking to Jacinta – we all need positive leaders, mentors, and managers like this in our lives.

Emma McFarline, the creator of Lavender Line Photography, moved into her very first studio at Portview Trade Centre just before the start of the pandemic. As events and social occasions were cancelled Emma had to find alternative ways to keep her business afloat. In the face of unprecedented challenges Emma adapted and her business grew during the pandemic. Lavender Line moved into selling photography prints as well as creating new product lines including decorations, coasters, calendars – as a result, Emma had one of her most successful years yet which is testament to the resilience and dedication she has to her work.

You Glow Girl is a social enterprise led by Chara Clarke and was founded with the sole purpose of empowering and supporting women and young girls in Northern Ireland. Chara and her fantastic team created You Glow Girl as both a local fashion brand and a movement - 100% of profits from the sale of YGG products go back to GLOW, helping them to provide bespoke programmes that tackle mental health issues, enable participants to achieve life goals and look forward to the future.

Sharon Hay, owner of Innocent Chaos is one of our most recent businesses to join the growing Storybox supplier list but is a well-established business operating since 2008. Sharon was not long out of university when she took the leap to pursue her passion of having a creative career and launch a business in the floral and dried flower space. Since then, Sharon has continued to successfully grow the business and build a strong reputation within the industry, to the point where they now sell their range at a global scale in major locations including Japan, USA, and across Europe.

Plumpy Balms was born shortly after Valerie Brown came back from a voluntary trip to Ghana where she fell in love with natural shea and cocoa butters. Valerie is another individual who used her creativity skills for good by developing her own beauty balms that are vegan and an alternative option to many of the beeswax products on the market. Since its creation in 2017, Valerie has continued to expand the range and has experienced steady growth through selling online and through other local retail outlets. Valerie’s Plumpy Balm brand is bright, bold and vibrant and not to be missed!  

Storybox is proud to partner with each of these women and to be able to showcase their respective organisations through our Gifts with Purpose. I have drawn inspiration from these women who I know are Breaking the Bias on a daily basis, carving out their own niches in the business world whilst at the same time operating sustainably and contributing positively to the world.