A few weeks ago now, on a chilly Thursday morning, I spent the morning exploring central London with Eastpak– getting to know five extremely inspiring ladies who have all set up, and gone to achieve some amazing things through their homegrown careers. After indulging in a cup of steaming tea (and some banana bundt cake, care of Jackson and Levine)- we packed our backpacks (Eastpak, of course) and embarked on a whistle stop East London journey, for one of the most interesting and fun mornings I’ve had…
Nik Southern – Grace & Thorn
Upon entering Grace and Thorn (a stones throw away from Broadway Market)- Nik’s warmth and expertise instantly blew me away, with her love for flower design surrounding the walls, surfaces and windows- in the shape of blooms, pots, terrariums and a ‘#greenupyourgaff’ slogan (making for an extremely Instagrammable and dreamy location). Founded in 2011 after working in IT, Southern aims to ‘bring back influences of the countryside’ in her city florist, and flourishes (literally) in using an array of both flowers and foliage in her designs- making for some of the most beautiful bouquets out there- and a surefire sign that it’s never too late to follow your heart.
Frieda Gormley – House Of Hackney
Confidently perched along Shoreditch High Street, House of Hackney has long been one of my favourite interior and fashion brands (you’ll definitely recognise their iconic palm leaf print), so getting to meet founder Frieda was a complete treat. Founded in 2010 after working in buying, Gormley founded the brand alongside her husband, Javvy M Royale and has continued to grow the business (which is also largely built of females too). HOH focusses on beautiful grand prints, stunning interiors (including linens and fabrics), clothing (with simple shapes and the most beautiful smock dresses) and homeware (boasting some of the most stunning crockery sets I’ve seen) along with aiming and maintaining to produce everything in the UK- pretty impressive indeed.
Catriona Maclay – The Hackney Pirates
Ahoy! Training and teaching in London until recently, Catriona Maclay is the captain (and one of the main founders) of charity The Hackney Pirates (something she set up with friends and collaborators alike) and a place to support young people in their literacy, and grow their confidence outside of the typical school environment- something that has shown, is extremely effective and beneficial to young people in the area. As well as helping over 1,000 children a month after school (with a two hour session each afternoon with a volunteer), the location in Hackney holds host to a cafe and shop to assist with funding (with a delicious menu to boot)- as well as a huge learning space (and stage)- to help build confidence and development in the children, as well as publishing some of the pieces the children come up with (including a genius guide to Hackney)! The Pirates are constantly looking for new members, so you can have a nosey here if you can donate a couple of hours of your time a month!
Laura Jackson + Alice Levine – Jackson&Levine
If there’s one pair who can throw the ultimate brunch party, it’s Laura Jackson and Alice Levine- the founders and kitchen queens of supper club Jackson&Levine. Rolling up at Laura’s flat, we were greeted with smashed avocado and radish on toast, fresh cooked meats, plates of cheese and baby pots of granola dappled with berries (as well as a serious visual interiors feast) and a sit down with the hostess herself to chat careers, cooking and the big old world of TV. With the club beginning in 2013 down to the girls sharing a joint love of home cooking (these girls are the experts) and playing with flavour- they host events every couple of months with minimal numbers for the ultimate ‘dinner with friends’ feel (wine, Northern Soul records and all)- now just to get a ticket!
From experience, having a business idea is one thing- but having an amazing idea and being to enforce it (with that business knowledge) is definitely another- which is why Michelle Songy and Charlotte Kohlman are pretty bloody awesome. After studying business and IT in the States, and coming over to London- Georgia and Charlotte were set on a career change- and began their own company. After incredibly raising funding and ganging mentors- Spleat was born, an app created to pay restaurant bills on the go (and split them super easily) whilst out and about with friends- no more paying for those drinks you didn’t have! With a big handful of London eateries now on board, it’s an exciting development in the culinary world (and one to make unfair bill-splitting a whole lot easier)!