As part of International Women’s Day, we celebrate the powerful and successful women that we have here in Carnaby. We love that so many of our fabulous businesses are led by such inspirational women who are changing the world, one restaurant or shop at a time. Read on to hear their stories...
Previously known for her pop-up supper clubs, Indian cook Asma Khan now has her permanent spot for her Darjeeling Express cooking concept on the top floor of Carnaby’s Kingly Court. Growing her passion for food into her own business, she now brings the taste of home-cooked Indian food directly to us in Carnaby. She was voted ‘Female Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the Asian Restaurant Awards and the ‘Entrepreneaur of the year’ in the Asian Women of the Year Awards. Asma prides herself for an all-female team in her restaurant and is now the first British chef to feature in Netflix’s Emmy nominated Chefs Table. The episode is now available for you to watch.
Kolamba - Aushi Moonesinghe
Aushi's background has always been in the creative industries. Starting off with advertising and fashion, she has worked as an Interior Designer for the last 8 years. "I have always been keen on hospitality, toying with projects but never taking the plunge". Aushi worked closely with her friends from everything ranging from interiors to branding and customer experience just for the sheer experience and joy of it. 15 years later, Aushi and her husband decided to take the plunge into the world of F&B. She believes that a life worth living is one without regret. Kolamba
was borne-from a desire to represent the food they grew up eating and wanting to showcase a taste of Sri Lankan culture, design and food in one of the most dynamic cities in the world.
"While my husband is the foodie and works closely with the kitchen and menu development, I am involved with front of house on attention to detail, customer experience and marketing. For both of us, Kolamba had to be about a customer immersion into contemporary Sri Lanka – from the moment you enter and smell the jasmine incense, to the sight of bespoke Batik art commissioned for us by artist Sonali Dharmawardena, to the playful “Sin-glish” cushions - we wanted to work with artists and entrepreneurs from the island. The fact that Sri Lanka is being widely spoken about, travelled to and discovered in 2020 is just amazing".
The British streetwear label, Lazy Oaf was founded by the illustrator and designer Gemma Shiel. Gemma founded the brand straight out of university in 2001, starting as a small stall in Spitalfields Market and hand printing t-shirts in her Dad’s garage. She has now built up her brand and opened her flagship boutique in Carnaby's Newburgh Quarter, branched out by achieving over 250 stockists worldwide and has a hugely successful online store. Gemma has grown her business without any outside investment, simply hard work.
When Sue came to Kingly Street in 1976, female barbers were rare and still a novelty. When she mentioned she was a barber in conversation, the response was always,
'Do you mean a hairdresser?'
'No, I mean a barber. I do wet shaves.'
When the opportunity arose to buy Barbers Point Sue had worked in for ten years at 7 Kingly Street, she took the chance. “I like to consider myself a business person rather than a businesswoman. An equal to all. I have sought to be successful in my business through hard work and commitment.”
Wright Brother's - Gina Hopkins
Wright Brothers Soho
welcomed brilliant Head Chef, Gina Hopkins to their team last year. Having worked at a number of fantastic London restaurants including Brunswick House in Vauxhall, Gina has been cooking up a storm in the kitchen, bringing her passion for seasonal and ingredient-led dishes to the table. Gina’s menu, features modern-European style dishes whilst also drawing inspiration from her mixed heritage* with the occasional Asian influence. (*Her Mum is from Hong Kong & Dad from the West Country.) Gina says ‘having such an amazing supply of incredibly fresh fish and shellfish from Wright Brothers wholesale division (at Billingsgate and Brixham markets) make my job very easy.’
Jemma Wilson, known as 'Cupcake Jemma' began her journey on YouTube by sharing her love for baking. Her channel has gained 33 million views and led to her opening her own cupcake shop, Crumbs & Doilies. “When I started Crumbs & Doilies in 2006 I could never have imagined that I'd have such a talented team working with me, or that we'd be making such awesome cakes for so many people. It's been an amazing journey so far and one of the best bits has been getting to share not just our cakes but some of our recipes with people all over the world”. Jemma is the perfect example of a digital wonder woman using the power of social media to elevate her business.
Tamara Hill-Norton, the queen of activewear, is the Founder and Creative-Director of Sweaty Betty. She is on a mission to redefine the way women dress. Sweaty Betty was born out of the idea that women’s activewear was always very dark and boring. She found that the sports industry did not speak to women as it was masculine and shapeless. She felt it was time to create clothes that ‘made active women feel beautiful and powerful’. Growing up, Tamara was very strong-minded and always knew that she wanted to own her own business. 20 years since the opening of her store in Notting Hill, Sweaty Betty is now on a mission to empower women through fitness and beyond and have 60 shops from London to San Francisco.
By purchasing from the Support Women, Support The World range at Sweaty Betty, £10 from each limited edition top will be donated to charities Fallen Angles Dance Theatre and Ditch The Label. The collection's aim is to support and celebrate strong and powerful women worldwide and will run in line with International Women's Day.
Monika's curiosity of Spain was sparked by her father’s stories of travelling around its great cities in the 50s on his Bateman Motorbike. This spurred Monika on to learn the language and set-off on her own adventure to discover the true food of Spain. With years of studying Spanish under her belt, she settled in Catalonia after University for a few years. The ingredients available to her while there were simply extraordinary. She desperately wanted to bring them back to the UK, therefore opening Tapas Brindisa
on Broadwick Street in Soho.
Cook and restaurateur Saiphin Moore was born in Thailand, before moving to Hong Kong at 18 as a nanny. When Saphin moved to the UK she opened a takeaway food business which then led to her co-founding Rosa’s Thai Cafe with her husband Alex. Since 2006, this has now expanded into a group of 15 across London. Saphin began cooking Thai food from a young age with her mum and aunt, they would prepare food for the monks in the temples. She would source the ingredients from nearby, the coconuts came from the trees and the lemongrass was dug from the ground. This is why Thai food will always be very special to her. Rosa’s Thai has gone from strength to strength and has now seen the publishing of two cookbooks.
Mira Manek’s path into food was through a “desire to be healthy”, she loves to combine healthy eating with Indian flavours to create her own style of vibrant Indian-inspired food. Taking inspiration from the women in her family and their love for food, Mira published her book Saffron Soul and soon after joined the vibrant Kingly Court last year with her cafe Chai by Mira
. The cafe is a relaxing and soulful space which is all about “bringing together elements of India, chai-infused drinks, energy snacks with hints of spice and a bookshelf to browse for wellness”.
Events in Carnaby for International Women's Day
Free Headshots at Benefit
Refresh your LinkedIn to help you land that dream job with a professional headshot taken at Benefit on Sunday 8 March. Headshots are first come first serve from 11am-4pm and are only available at limited stores across the country, their flagship Carnaby Street store being one of them.
Free Cocktails at Duck & Dry
Throughout March all bookings at Duck & Dry can celebrate International Women's Day with a free Martin Miller's pink gin cocktail with their blow dry!
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