As I sit in my East London flat just down the road from where the Suffragettes were living, campaigning and fighting, I can’t help but think that it’s all pretty crazy. Over 100 years on from what these women began and a lot has changed, but there is still so much work to do. We’re still challenging stereotypes, equality and tampon tax in 2018. Happy International Womens Day, although it’s kind of a shame that we have to celebrate it at all, eh!?
Sometimes I feel like being a woman is such a big ‘movement’ that we can become a bit distant and forget how it actually applies to our own individual lives. Thinking about this I wanted to bring it back to basics and a bit closer to home, using the women that I surround myself with on a day to day basis. These women have really helped to shape me in the past year, each in their own special way. They deserve all of the good vibes and so I wanted to explain how and also say thank you 🙂
So in no particular order, get ready to be inspired.
How I met Ella: After following Ella’s blog since the early days, I finally met her at an event and asked if I could pick her brains about being a boss over coffee. That first coffee turned into a coffee every other week and sometimes we don’t even need coffee as an excuse to meet up.
How we support each other: As a super talented artist, Ella totally champions the importance of knowing your worth. We have weekly chats about money, the value of creativity and not being apologetic when asking to be paid what you time and skill is worth. She has a no-bullshit attitude and I love her for it. Ella is one of the strongest people I know; truly inspirational and beautiful inside and out.
My favourite thing about Ella: We are always on the same page about everything – it’s like we have the same brain. It’s a bit freaky at times, but also very comforting and I always feel at ease when I’m around her.
Ella, thank you for every laugh, tear and coffee we have shared!
Emma Jane Palin
How I met Emma: I came across Emma’s blog after seeing her comment on a blog that I had also commented on. I stalked her a bit on Instagram and hoped that we would to bump into each other at an event soon because I felt like we had so much in common. It wasn’t long before we finally met and she wasn’t (or didn’t appear to be) weirded out by me stroking her fluffy jacket – I knew we’d be great friends after that!
What I’ve learnt from Emma: EJP is a big believer in just being yourself. She’s a ‘take me as I am or leave me’ kinda gal because she’s confident in herself and also realistic. Not everyone is going to love you, so don’t waste your energy on the haters when you should be investing it in people that champion what you do. I still struggle with this but I’ve always got Emma on hand to remind me!
My favourite thing about Emma: She is effortlessly cool and has no idea. And I don’t mean just fashion-wise (although her style is amazing) – just her outlook on things and the way she handles life. She is so calm and laid back in situations where I’m emotionally loaded and just fly off the handle, oops! Outkast would ask: What’s cooler than being cool? I would say: Being EJP.
Thanks for being as cool IRL as you are URL, EJP.
How I met Rosh: After visiting all of the same exhibitions/ colourful places at different times and forming a friendship via Instagram, we decided that it was time to meet in person and haven’t looked back. I can’t remember the first time I actually met Rosh because I can’t remember what life was like without her – my mind has erased the Rosh-less memories!
What I’ve learnt from Rosh: Trust your instincts. Rosh is a great believer of feelings surrounding situations and people etc. She is always a positive Polly, but she’s taught me to listen to my gut feeling because it’s usually right e.g. Should I go to an event tonight or do I need to miss out and stay at home because I feel a bit run down… my gut (and Rosh) would be telling me to rest – there will be other events!
My favourite thing about Rosh: Rosh is so selfless; She is always looking to elevate and share the love for everyone around her. The other night (and many others before) we were at an event and I walked over to her whilst she was chatting with someone. Her first reaction is to introduce me and explain to the person why I’m amazing. I am so rubbish and apologetic at self promo but Rosh is essentially like my agent, singing my praises simply to help me network. Everyone needs a friend like her – she is just THE best.
Thanks so much for being the biggest burst of energy and love in my life, Rosh.
How I met Ashley: After seeing a couple of her videos on Youtube, I met Ashley as a friend of Charli Marie at a meet up at the Tate Britain. I remember thinking ‘I love her outfit’ – not much has changed to this day! A group of internet people met to draw, chat and share our experiences as creatives – it was super chilled and a great crowd.
How we support each other: The traditions of our first meeting continue: I’m still sharing my love for Ashley’s outfits (seriously though – check out this girl’s colour palette) & we meet up every couple of months to chat life and careers. There aren’t many people I would meet at 7.40am for a pre-work coffee, but Ashley is worth braving the central line.
My favourite thing about Ashley: She is a great listener. I mean, you have to be to hear me talk about starting my portfolio for a year straight. But she doesn’t judge me, she just listens and then strategically helps me think about what I need to do. And not in a pushy way (because she knows that doesn’t work with me) – and that is the best kind of motivator.
Ashley; thank you for being so patient and encouraging.
How I met Sarah: I’d been following Sarah on Instagram for a while before I met her at a design blogger event at the opening of a new hotel. Not gonna lie – I was a bit nervous about meeting her (because she was just so cool on the internet), but we were both using the Olympus Pen camera and chatted about lenses and how it was rubbish for vlogging with.
What I’ve learnt from Sarah: Positivity breeds positivity. I’ll be honest, I never really believed in spooky universe things before but Sarah is proof that being positive and productive gets results. Manifesting and putting things out into the world WORKS – who’d have guessed? As a Capricorn I feel like it’s ingrained in me to be cynical but I’ve been putting some positive vibes out recently and not only does it feel good, but it might just work!
My favourite thing about Sarah: In a world where women are sometimes frowned upon for being openly ambitious and asking for what they want, Sarah gives them the middle finger. She isn’t going to let anyone’s judgement get in the way of what she wants to achieve.
Thank you for being such a bad ass, Sarah.
How I met Emma: I can’t actually remember exactly when ( I wonder if Emma can? ha) but I’d guess that it was via mutual friends at a blogging event. Since then we just kept bumping into each other and I actually ended up moving down the road from her so we were neighbours… until she levelled up on the adulting game and moved into a house.
How we support each other: Mainly by agreeing that it’s better to be challenged than comfortable. Comfortable is boring! Remember when I quit my well-paid job to do my own thing? Well Emma did the same, choosing creativity over being comfortable. She is now a business lady and a talented illustrator spreading the skull love. We regularly chat about how we can push and better ourselves and I love Emma’s chilled energy.
My favourite thing about Emma: She isn’t afraid to be different – that’s what makes her so great. She is completely true to herself and won’t compromise her values and beliefs. She stands out in a crowd for all of the right reasons and basically just rocks.
Thank you for being so amazingly weird (in the best way) Emma.
How I met Morag: I became inspired by Morag’s bold and colourful work in my 2nd year of University, choosing to feature her in one of my projects (to create a zine for the Typographic Circle). I emailed some questions to her and kept my fingers crossed that she would reply – she did. Then in 2017, after answering a call out on her Instagram, I got the opportunity to help her paint one of her projects – Triangle Therapy, I called it. Through out 2017 I continued to help Morag painting as part of a small team. I don’t think she remembers my (kinda weird) questions from 2012 – we’ve never spoken about it ha.
What I’ve learnt from Morag: I don’t even know where to start; I’ve learnt SO MUCH. Before I worked with Morag I thought of her as my ‘design hero’ (which I now know Morag would hate) and you know what they say about meeting your heroes – you shouldn’t! But 12 months on and the illusion isn’t shattered; if anything I admire her more now. She is very generous, talented and driven. She has an amazing eye for colour, detail and has complete confidence in herself. At the beginning of 2017 I definitely needed more of that self confidence and I feel like Triangle Therapy planted that seed inside me. Even though a lot of things in life are unsure, the only person I can really be certain of is myself.
My favourite thing about Morag: Even though she IS an inspiration to many, Morag doesn’t set out to be an inspiration – she is just doing her thing. I think because she is so content and happy with her work that she becomes an inspiration by accident.
Morag; thank you for being unintentionally inspirational.
How I met Rachel: I met Rachel when I started helping Morag early in 2017. I remember thinking that she was a super hard worker because that she always chose to tackle the trickiest, most triangle heavy boards.
How we support each other: We both continued to work on projects for Morag (with Hannah too – see below) which means a lot of chats combined with paint fumes. As a fellow freelancer, we have chatted about being a female designer, invoices, studio experiences and just generally sharing and reassuring each other. Rachel is so down to earth and lovely. Even though painting with Morag has stopped for now, I’m still meeting with Rachel and Hannah to chat about how we’re getting on. I feel like we really champion each other to do our best and reach for our dreams.
My favourite thing about Rachel: In a world where everyone is striving to ‘be cool’, Rachel isn’t afraid to be a geek. She loves Riso, printing and colours and is so knowledgable and excited about it all – her enthusiasm is guaranteed to rub off on you.
Thank you for being so enthusiastic, Rachel.
How I met Hannah: I also met Hannah at Triangle Therapy when painting as part of Morag’s team. She was so confident and great at helping everyone else that I thought she’d been painting with Morag for years, when in fact she had started just the week before.
How we support each other: As with Rachel, I continued to work alongside Hannah meaning we’ve had many discussions about the future of design and our career plans. As the oldest of the 3 of us, I’d like to think that I’ve been there to reassure and give a bit of advice, but it hasn’t been a one sided learning experience. Through helping Hannah, I’ve realised a lot of things about myself. I’m not currently working with Hannah on any projects for Morag but we still meet with Rachel every so often for a creative catch up. I know both of these ladies will go on to do great things, so watch out world.
My favourite thing about Hannah: She doesn’t know how good she is – it’s so endearing but kinda frustrating. (She won’t mind me saying that ha) She is always trying to be better, which is a great quality of course, but actually she has already achieved a lot for her age. She is so keen to make it happen and I can’t wait to see her shine.
Hannah; thank you for being such a keen bean. (Although you do make it bloody hard to find a photo of you on the internet!)
I feel so lucky to have these women in my life, and I’m sure you can see parallels with the women in yours. Think about the ladies you really couldn’t live without and let them know – today, tomorrow or next week. International Women’s Day is a great platform for highlighting women’s struggles but really we should be celebrating each other everyday.
I’d also just like to say that IWD isn’t about bashing men – it’s not about separation, it’s about unity and there are lots of men out there that support us. We just need more to come over from the dark side!
💃🏻 Man! I feel like a woman! 💃🏻 Girls, ladies, women… I think we can all agree that a bit of Shania Twain never gets old 💪🏼😅🙌🏼 OH HI THERE #internationalwomensday2018 – it's the perfect time to celebrate all of the amazing ladies in your life so tell them how amazing / talented / funny / powerful / inspiring they are! Although you don't have to wait, you should do that every day of the year as we #pressforprogress 😜💪🏼💃🏻 The good news is that £5 from this @boohoo tee goes to @wonderfoundation 💪🏼 The bad news is that mine has to go in the wash tomorrow… 😜❤️ 📸 by @roshthanki
Also in the spirit of spreading good vibes, I couldn’t not tell you about Boohoo’s WOMAN tee in celebration of International Women’s Day – £5 goes to the Wonder Foundation who support the education of young girls around the world so grab one while you can because you just know that they’re gonna sell out!