As part of International Women’s Day, we celebrate the powerful and successful women that we have here in Soho. 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.
Bleach - Alex Brownsell
With her passion for hair, Alex Brownsell got tired of experimenting on friends in her kitchen. Starting off working as a hairstylist on fashion shoots Alex decided that this was a dream she wanted to push. It was time to open her own hairdressers with her best friend Sam Teasdale, the birth of Bleach London. Bleach London is the world’s first salon focused on colouring hair, rather than cutting. Starting out as a single chair in Dalston, in 2010 they opened their first salon.
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 sort to be successful in my business through hard work and commitment.”
Jemma Wilson, known as 'Cupcake Jemma' began her journey on YouTube by sharing her love for baking. Her channel has gained 33million 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.
Korean-American executive chef, Judy Joo, is a restaurateur and TV chef travelling between her Jinjuu restaurants in London and Hong Kong. You can also see Judy on the Cooking Channel with her show ‘Korean Food Made Simple’ as she explores Korean Authentic dishes inspired by her travels. After working for the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Jason Atherton, Claridge’s and Boxwood Cafe, in 2014 Judy opened the doors to her very own modern Korean restaurant Jinjuu. You can find Jinjuu tucked away on bustling Kingly Street.
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-finding 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 2 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”.
International Women's Day Events in Carnaby
Experience International Women's Day
for yourself and book a place at a very special supper club hosted by our very own Judy Joo, Asma Khan and Mira Manec. Join them for a KorIndian evening with a 3-course set menu with welcome cocktails from Belsazar Vermouth and goodie bags from The Organic Pharmacy for £35 a ticket. There are limited spaces available so secure your table here
To celebrate the countless achievements of women around the world, Trapped in Zone One are hosting the 'Just Type' workshop at We Built This City
on 8th March in their Carnaby Street store with type artist Lana Hughes in aid of the Young Women's Trust. The workshop will guide you in creating a unique type slogan artwork based on the theme of International Women's Day. For more information and to book tickets see here.
This International Women's Day, Liberty
have teamed up with Bloody Good Period
to help eliminate period poverty.
Gabby Edlin, founder of Bloody Good Period, had a vision to create a sustainable flow of period pads for asylum seekers, refugees and those who cannot afford them, while eradicating the shame and stigma surrounding menstruation. From 1 - 15 March, you can visit them in their Beauty Hall to donate period pads or make a cash donation at a point of purchase.
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