March 8th is International Women’s Day, a day which celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. The theme this year is Balance for Better. Balance in the workplace, balance in government, media coverage, wealth and sports coverage are just a few the topics being explored in hopes of creating a thriving society that promotes equality.
In light of this year’s empowering campaign, we decided to donate a portion of our sales over the weekend of March 8th-10th to the Fawcett Society, the U.K’s leading charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights at work, at home and in public life. They embrace #BalanceforBetter every day as they fight to see a society in which women and girls, in all their diversity, are equal and truly free to fulfill their potential.
We feel fortunate here at The Tartan Blanket Co. to work for a company that seeks to celebrate and empower the women in our office. We are championed by other women, by the men who work with us, and by our directors Emma & Fergus.
We asked Emma some questions about what International Women’s Day means to her! Emma and Fergus started The Tartan Blanket Co. back in 2014 and have since had three young daughters under three, while simultaneously running two successful businesses. She’s an inspiration, and you can read on to hear what International Women’s Day and running both a family and business full of strong women means to her.
Not only are you running a successful business, but you are also a mum to three wonderful little girls. What does it mean to you to be raising them in a world where they may be at a disadvantage?
We are incredibly lucky to have three wonderful daughters and I love seeing them grow and change every day into the amazing little people they are becoming. I think it is so important for us to support them to learn and grow in whatever way and direction they choose, not restricting their creativity or imagination. Aila’s two favourite toys are her tutu and her toolbox, often helping with the DYI while wearing her tutu or a pair of my high heels.
Fergus and I are always focused on ensuring there is an equality in our household, our business and our relationship. We both support each other to do the work we need to do for the business and our own development, as well as raise our family together. We have created our business and lifestyle to ensure we have this balance, which is so rare in society despite the push for equality.
As Helena Morrissey recently said on the Ctrl, Alt, Delete podcast, it is very hard for a woman to ‘have it all’ which we are often pushed to try to do, but only possible to ‘have it all’ as a family. It is nearly impossible to be a full time parent and successfully run a business at exactly the same time. However, Fergus and I can support each other to do these roles in equal measures (with a little help from grannies). We cannot have equality in the workplace unless there is also equality at home, which hopefully society will start to realise and support men taking time out to raise their family in the same way women do. Until this happens women will always feel the pressure to be the main homemaker and therefore sacrifice their career to an extent. I hope that by the time our daughters are older they feel no limits, restrictions or choices they have to make due to their gender. In the meantime, we just try to set the best example we can, where mummy goes to work as much as daddy and we both get as much broken sleep, cuddles, tantrums and love as each other from our wonderful girls.
What does it mean to you to run a business that is predominantly female?
Our business has turned into a predominantly female one, purely from the strategy that we hire the best possible person for the roles and the company. We have realised from doing many interviews and hiring a variety of people, that it is not about hiring the person who is the best on paper, or who tells you they will deliver the world or has the gift of the gab. It is about hiring the person you believe in, even if they don’t always believe in themselves. We have found that in an interview women will often undersell themselves. If they don’t have the exact experience required they won’t apply or will play down their knowledge and experience. I hope as society changes, women will grow in confidence and self-belief and it will become a more equal playing ground, where women are confident enough to shout about their success, just as much as men do. We believe we have such a strong, capable and creative team, as we looked past gender and bravado when hiring and saw the true potential of each person, which we then harnessed and grew.
What advice to other mum’s looking to start a business would you share?
The main thing I would say to any mums looking to start a business is that you CAN do it! You need to believe in yourself and what you are doing. Know that others in your position male or female, are often no more capable, intelligent or connected than you, they may just have a bit more confidence. Push yourself forward on your path and don’t worry about comparing yourself or trying to change yourself to be more like others. You will always do you the best, so focus on that! Also, get support where you can. As great as you are, you can’t do it all and you will need help at times. Surround yourself with positive people who believe in you and are going to give you that helping hand or pat on the back when you need it, those people are worth their weight in gold! I’m incredibly lucky to be married to my biggest cheerleader, who spent a year convincing me I could run a business before I really believed it for myself. Now I just wish it hadn’t taken me so long!
We believe in equal opportunities for women all over the world, and are proud to be an office that fully supports and encourages women. Happy International Women’s Day!