Today is International Women's Day, a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.
At Braw Wee Emporium we are surrounded by amazing women that provide support and inspiration for what we are trying to achieve. They range from our suppliers, family, friends and role models we look up to. Here are some of those ladies but believe me, there are so many more!
Maggie McIver, The Barras Queen, she set up the Barras Market with her husband back in 1920 having had her first taste of business when she helped a family friend sell fruit from a cart in Parkhead - she went on to become a self-made multi-millionaire. She was widowed aged 49 and left with 9 children to raise and the business. In the 1930s she built the famous Barrowland Ballroom, as a place to hold her traders' Christmas Party! Many of her traders were women, she built a community for these traders that supported them to make a living for themselves. This is the inspiration for our Braw Wee Traders project!
Braw Wee Family
We get to work with some really fantastic business women, who are putting their absolute all into their passions and have encouraged me to keep going when Braw Wee was struggling. They have provided me with inspiration, chats and sometimes wine. Over 65% of our suppliers are small businesses run by women, from Coffee Roasting and Cheese Making Kits to amazing jewellery, artwork and music - they surround us.
I just want to name check a few that have been with Braw Wee from the beginning or close to the beginning - Mhairi from Bonnie Bling and Tara from Twiggd, where in fact a couple of the very first suppliers to Braw Wee, and quickly followed on by Lisa at Gie it Laldy. All three of these ladies not only juggle creating new amazing products, do absolutely everything from designing, marketing, posting out, making, and all the admin for their businesses - they also juggle kids and their family lifes as well. They have also been amazing supporters of Braw Wee and me.
I also need to do a wee shout out to Claire Barclay Draws, Jill Kirkham, Ashley from Glasgow Soap Company, the ladies at A Pony Called Steve, Lisa from Dear Green Coffee, Lauren from The Drink Cabinet, Lori Watson - singer, fiddle player and good pal and Nicola from Yellow Bird Digital. They are all creating amazing things, experiences and support!
I grew up in a family surrounded by strong, independent, hard-working women and they continue to be an inspiration to me. The three I want to speak about today is my mum, Big Granny and Wee Granny Bunty. I'm the oldest of four and for the majority of my childhood, my mum was a single parent, working to provide for us and continuously supporting us all to do what we really cared about and encouraging us to keep going even when it was difficult. Without my mum's belief and support (and purchasing!) - I might have given up on Braw Wee at some of the toughest times.
My Grannies were a big influence on me - my Big Granny, who sadly passed away before Braw Wee was even an idea - was a straight to the point, graceful woman who worked hard for her family. She was always supportive of my next daft plan. Now I've spoken about Wee Granny Bunty before, she is a massive part of why I opened a shop in the Barras and feel so passionate about the regeneration of the area. My mum and I lived with my granny for a period of time, and I would regularly come down the Barras with my Granny and remember it when you couldn't move. She knew a lot of the traders having grown up and lived in the area until the mid-50s. She passed away last year aged 90 and left us with a legacy of stories about the East End, her work ethic and the approach that 'You can always work out how to do something yourself if you just try it, it doesn't matter if you get it wrong' - kind of sums up how Braw Wee got started.
There are many many other women that I consider part of the Braw Wee story and provide inspiration - to many to mention them all. But let's celebrate amazing women all over the world!