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International Women's Day 2024 | Get to Know our All-Female Team
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International Women's Day 2024 | Get to Know our All-Female Team

Taking place each year in March, International Women's Day is a global celebration of women. The organisation works year round highlighting the need for equality. As a female owned and ran business, AARVEN are passionate about uplifting women. Working closely with community groups in rural parts of the African continent and across India our talented female artisans rely on sales of their craft to feed, clothe and educate their families. We've asked our UK team of international women to pick their favourite female-made items from AARVEN and tell us what being a woman means to them...

 

Bee, Co-Founder

I chose this quote because so many young woman feel they have to rise up to a distorted version of what a women is - how they should look - how they should be able to be rich, successful, beautiful, skinny and ecstatically happy - all fed by glamour imagery, Instagram and Tik Tok when all they have to be is true to themselves and happy in their own skin.

International Women's Day is a day when we get to appreciate women all over the world - from the woman out in the fields growing food to those changing the world. It makes me think that we do not need a day to do this - we should do this anyway.  I feel so thankful that I live the life of freedom that I do and have the ability to choose for myself.

My favourite product made by women has to be our Kiondo baskets from Kenya.  These highly skilled weavers are mothers, wives and a majority are the main breadwinners in their families.  Their weaving talent is exceptional - they weave without looking, they chat and laugh whilst their dexterous fingers work the sisal into the marvellous Kiondo basket with all it myriad of uses.  Each one is individual.  I have not see these woman for a while but their smiles and laugher light up my daily life and when I feel like life is not enough I remember them and remember how rich in experience I am.

I admire all the women we share our life with. My brilliant co-workers for their dedication and support and all the artisans for producing the most most beautiful products that make AARVEN what it is.

A female leader I admire is Wangarĩ Muta Maathai. She was a Kenyan social, environmental, and political activist who founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental NGO focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women's rights. In 2004 she became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.  Wangarĩ famously said - Human rights are not things that are put on the table for people to enjoy. These are things you fight for and then you protect. The generation that destroys the environment is not the generation that pays the price. That is the problem!

A girl power anthem that I love is actually what I am listening to whilst I write this -  "Respect" by Aretha Franklin

 

Amy, Co-Founder

International Women's Day, for me, is a reminder of how fortunate I am to be a woman living in the 21st century in the UK and a chance to reflect on places where opportunities are still not equal for women. 

Our Safari Toile paper lightshade is my current favourite product made by female artisans. I was in Jaipur in January working with a team of female screen printers on our recycled paper collections. I always feel slightly underdressed when I’m there and marvel at how they keep their beautiful, brightly coloured sari’s so clean!

I admire every one of the brilliant women in our team for their kindness, openness and ability to juggle all the layered emotional and functional jobs of being a woman. It is a joy to work as part of an all female team and their passion for AARVEN and everything we stand for is what drives us forward.

Working with a female team is healing, life-affirming and laughter inducing.

A female leader that I admire is Isabella Tree for inspiring the world to rewild, something that I myself am very passionate about.

 

 Stella,  Wholesale Manager

 

I see International Women's Day as a day to really appreciate all of the amazing women before us and around us who have and are paving the way for equality.

My favourite female-made product? AARVEN's Origami Paper range, I admire the great skill and talent that goes into making the beautiful light shades and decorations.

Some little women in my life who inspire me are my 2 daughters, being around their strength, determination, fun and laughter is inspiring. 

A woman I find inspirational is Junko Tabei, the first woman to reach the summit of  Mount Everest and first woman to ascend the Seven Summits, climbing the highest peak on every continent.

I love working with an all female team, every day is inspiring & fun!

My favourite girl power anthem is Wannabe by The Spice Girls.

 

Leona, Marketing Manager

Hi, I'm Leona and I take care of the marketing and social media here at AARVEN. If you've ever had a chat with us on Instagram or Facebook, you're probably talking to me! I love working with an all-female team, I feel much more free to express my creative ideas because our little team is so supportive. I know that the wonderful women we work with overseas are passionate about their crafts and many of them are so proud to see their products being sold internationally. I love knowing that we have a small part in uplifting their lives and helping to tell their stories. 

To me, International Women's Day is all about celebrating everything that women have achieved throughout the centuries, despite everything and everyone that has tried to hold them back. It is also about fighting for those who have fewer rights than us, whilst also trying to improve our own communities. I enjoy sewing in my spare time, a craft that was traditionally looked down upon as a female pursuit. By sewing, I feel connected to the other women in my life and around the globe who continue to pursue stereotypically 'feminine' crafts. 

My current favourite AARVEN product has to be our beautiful handwoven Ghanaian fans. Amy recently went to visit the incredible women who make them and it was a joy to see their smiling faces in the photographs and hear their stories. 

I am so lucky to have many amazing women in my life that I greatly admire. Growing up, I was always surrounded by strong female role models in my family. My mum, sister, cousin and aunt were my greatest cheerleaders and I always hoped I'd grow up to be just like them. Always an avid reader, I found myself lost in incredible fantasy worlds where girls could do anything. 

A famous female figure that inspires me is Tess Durbeyfield (or Tess of the d'Urbervilles.) Though she faces many challenges, she always has a strong sense of self that she fiercely tries to protect. She is passionate and works hard to protect her family. 

 

Natalie, Shop Manager/Online Orders

International Women's Day shows me that women are strong and we are telling the world we are strong and confident. 

My favourite product is our Kenyan Baskets. They are so useful and I have lots of them around my house!

A woman in my life that I admire is my stepdaughter, Sophie. Despite her mental health issues, she has got on with her life and is currently working in her dream job.

Working in an all female team is amazing. I feel supported and never feel judged.

My favourite girl power song has to be Bad Women by Paloma Faith.

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