F equals for women on the rise

Four Female Founders Giving Back

DANIELLE NEWNHAM

Posted on August 23 2017

Meet the entrepreneurs who have made "giving back" their business 

When we set up F equals, we knew from the outset that part of our business was to give back and so we designed the GIRL POWER range with the purpose of giving all proceeds to charity - wonderful Worldreader who empower girls in poverty all over the world. Along with our customers, we have since helped Worldreader to empower 1,000 families, something we are immensely proud of.

We’re not the only ones. More and more women are setting up businesses and making giving back part of their business model. Here we re-visit some our interviews with four female founders doing just that:

1) Molly Gunn, founder, writer and editor of Selfish Mother, and owner of Father Inc and the FMLY Store.

 

Newnham: What gave you the idea to start Selfish Mother and how did you make that a reality?

Gunn: The idea for a blogzine called ‘Selfish Mother’ came like a thunderbolt in 2011 when my son Rafferty was six months old. I felt like I had been wading through treacle since he’d been born. I was a clueless new mum exhausting myself trying to follow lots of ‘parenting rules’ (such as Gina Ford's) but I wasn’t on a nice baby-focused maternity leave: I was a freelance journalist and also running a business with my husband (called millionhands) as well as looking after him! So every day felt like some kind of madness - but the moment I realised I should be looking after me as much as him, the madness lifted.

 

At the time there was no ‘mum and baby’ media or baby groups aimed at women like me - normal women just winging it. The industry at the time felt too patronising and "perfect" - like women were meant to have personality transplants the second they had kids and not confess about how hard it was. I wanted to read relevant stuff and go to cool places with my son and share what it was REALLY like - so I mulled over the idea and developed it and finally launched SelfishMother.com - a blogzine for like-minded women in Sep 2013, a few months after having my second son, Fox. And then we launched the #GoodTees brand with our MOTHER tee in the summer of 2014. 

I launched the MOTHER tee initially as the news about Syria a couple of years ago made me weep. I wanted to do something to help, so I launched the tee to raise funds for Women for Women International. I felt that if a customer is spending a decent amount of money on a product then the money should go somewhere good. Hence #GOODTEES

We’ve raised more than £500,000 so far which has been distributed to the following charities - all of whom do AMAZING work, which I totally believe in. I love working with them:-

Women for Women International - we have over 200 sponsored ‘sisters’ in war-torn countries
KIDS charity UK - who help disabled kids & the families have a better life

Mothers 2 Mothers - who believe in the power of mothers to end paediatric AIDS.

Help Refugees UK - who are grass roots organisation helping refugees in Calais and Greece.

The Refugee Council - who support refugees settle here in the UK

Yazda - who support Yazidi women who’ve been victims of ISIS

Read Molly’s full interview here.

2) Jo Tutchener-Sharp, Founder of Beauty Seen, BRITs Spa and unisex kids brand Scamp & Dude which works with various charities including one which through them, they are able to gift their Superhero Sleep Buddy to children in intensive care.

 

Bardega: Can you tell us a bit about Scamp & Dude and what sparked the idea behind it?

Tutchener-Sharp: I had a brain haemorrhage in October 2015, followed by brain surgery in January 2016. This was a life-changing moment in my life. Facing death and an uncertain future makes you look at things very differently.  It was when I was in hospital recovering from brain surgery and missing my two boys that I came up with the idea for Scamp & Dude. I wanted to create a brand that helped kids feel more secure when apart from their loved ones. 

I created the Superhero Sleep Buddy which is a dinosaur or bunny superhero comforter (shaped cushion) which sits on the child's bed watching over them, protecting them while they sleep. There is a pocket on the back to keep a photograph of whoever they need to keep close. Created for kids who struggle being on their own. Even if your parents are in the next bedroom, it can feel like a galaxy away to a small child.

Also, for every Superhero Sleep Buddy sold, we are donating another to a vulnerable child, whether they are in hospital themselves, are struggling to deal with a sick parent or have had a parent pass away. We are working with three amazing charities including a famous London children's hospital, Don't Forget the Kids and Grief Encounter.    

Scamp & Dude also has a superhero inspired clothing line offering kids security when on the move.  A neon pink embroidered lightning bolt on all garments gives the child a burst of superpower confidence when they need it most, and our slogan 'a superhero has my back' is written on the back of the T-shirts and Sweatshirts to remind kids that someone has their back at all times. The collection includes our leopard and bolt print as well as some cool superhero characters including Super Dino, Super Bunny and Balloon Man - a superhero balloon! 

Read Jo’s full interview here.

3) Easkey Britton ~ surfer, scientist, explorer and co-founder of Waves of Freedom. As the first woman to surf in Iran, Easkey tells us how she is using surfing to break down cultural barriers and gender-based inequalities.


 

Bardega: Can you tell us about what made you start Waves for Freedom and what is your mission? 

Britton: It was born out of a realisation and need to deepen our understanding of what we’d experienced with surfing’s ability to connect in the most unexpected ways, in such an unlikely place, Iran. And to shift our relationship with surfing and how it could be used, as a vehicle or platform change, for addressing deeper social and ecological issues. It’s been a constant learning process.

Waves of Freedom (WOF) is a voluntary-led non-profit exploring how surfing and the sea can be used as a creative medium for positive social change and connection across cultures. Founded on the type of freedom Persian mystic and poet Hafiz described as the power of realising our own inner truth and “letting the soul unfurl its wings.” At the core is understanding the impact of surfing and the sea, especially for women and girls and its potential to empower. 

Surfing is not just a sport but a lifestyle and an art-form synonymous with freedom and creative self-expression. WOF has grown from a belief that the ocean does not discriminate. So how can we better use the life-metaphor of the ocean as a place/space that is ever-present, yet constantly changing, and by its very nature boundless, dissolving barriers and crossing boundaries?

Read Eskey’s full interview here.

4) Jude Ower, Founder and CEO of PlayMob, Jude is responsible for creating the world's first platform which connects games to social good.

 

Bardega: What led you to starting your own company, PlayMob, and what is PlayMob’s mission?
Ower:
In 2010 when the Haiti earthquake happened, Zynga launched a campaign in Farmville selling virtual goods to raise money for the Red Cross to get aid to the victims. In just five days, they had raised $1.5m and, not only that, but engagement was increased within the player base so benefitting the business too. It was then I thought, imagine if all games were to do this - by doing so, there's a huge potential impact we can have on causes, and a great impact on businesses too. Also, I really wanted to be able to play a variety of games and see the impact I was having across different titles. (I was actually at the SXSW festival in 2010 when I dreamt up the idea for the business so I began talking to investors to understand about raising capital to seed the idea.)

The big vision is for players (and now anyone online) to see a collective of all the good they do by taking simple actions online, with a goal to raise $1b for causes. The user account system is in progress, and we are starting off by purely focussing on B2B, starting in gaming, and now expanding beyond gaming to other industries. 

Read Jude’s full interview here.

 

Want to read more interviews with inspiring women? Read them here.

 

 

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