Gamechangers & Trailblazers: Our Top 10 Women of B-Corp
As &SISTERS celebrates becoming officially B-Corp certified, our founders Lucy & Claire join an inspiring group of sisters that have pushed ethical and sustainable business forward. Here are our favourite women behind some of the worlds most iconic B-Corp brands.
1. Anita Roddick, The Body Shop
Roddick was an absolute trailblazer. Back when women led brands were not a very common sight she founded The Body Shop, with a mission to make her business a force for good. The Body Shop is a skincare and perfume company aiming to fight for a much fairer and happier world. From skin care to their makeup selection, all products are made ethically and sustainably to ensure customers and the environment are both treated as they deserve to be treated.
Roddick's belief that “Business shapes the world. It is capable of changing society in almost any way you can imagine.” is really the precursor to the B Corp movement. Ahead of her time and the crowd Roddick had to make top of our list!
2. Gaby Aghion, Chloé
Luxury fashion house Chloé is globally renowned but do you know about the sister who started it all? Gaby Aghion had a vision for a sustainable women's clothes, shoes, accessories and fragrance company way back in 1952. Honoring her legacy to create a female-led fairer future, Chloé continues to support women with beautiful products that are better for the people and the environment.
The brand pioneered a "1% for the girls" initiative so that 1% of their business time would be spent setting up and volunteering for programmes which are dedicated to supporting gender equality. The goal is to support women-led civil organisations to empower women economically, socially, environmentally and politically.
3. Mahira Kalim, Spruce
Mahira founded Spruce to mix up the world of cleaning and make it fun! Spruce sells refillable non-toxic cleaning products, with the chance to refill product bottles over 100 times. It is Spruce’s mission to end the use of plastic and use of toxic chemicals in homes whilst raising awareness of harmful toxic cleaning chemicals and their side effects. Being blessed with a child of her own, to know other children could be affected by these chemicals made it her mission to end the use of ‘toxic everyday supplies’.
4. Julie Chen, Cheeky Panda
Julie Chen started Cheeky Panda when she fell in love with her co-founder Chris Forbes. Toilet paper might not be everyone's idea of a romance, but Chen's commitment to creating a sustainable future has seen their bamboo toilet paper and wipe business doubling in value every year since they started.
As CEO Julie is proving that businesses really can be successful and sustainable. Cheeky Panda became carbon neutral way back in 2017.
5. Jo-Anne Chidley, Beauty Kitchen
Jo-Anne Chidley is an expert in sustainability, chemistry and herbalism. Shocked by the level of waste in the beauty industry, she decided to do something about it so back in 2009 she founded The Beauty Kitchen, a sustainable beauty brand, offering natural products that don't compromise on scientific effectiveness. Chidley created the beauty industry's first ever “return, refill, repeat” programme, tackling wasteful single use products.
6. Emma Bridgewater, Emma Bridgewater
Emma Bridgewater founded her eponymous label of ceramicware in 1985 after struggling to find a mug she liked to gift to her mother. After many attempts, it was clear to Emma that she would have to make the china herself. Each design was personal, coming from a memory, a story or a reflection of shared moments. The business has grown quite a bit beyond her mum's mug now, but the mission remains the same- to make home-made things that make everyday life a little bit easier.
7. Geraldine Howard & Sue Beechey, The Aromatherapy Associates
Geraldine Howard and Sue Beechey both started their careers as therapists before training with the renowned Aromatherapist 'Micheline Arcier'. Upon experiencing first-hand the powerfully positive effects of essential oils on physical and emotional wellbeing, their love affair with aromatherapy began and Aromatherapy Associates was born.
8. Laura Tenison, JoJo Maman Bébé
Lara Tenison's founding story started with a hospitalisation after a nasty car accident. She was placed next to a young mother who told her all about her struggle finding quality clothes for her children. So with the mission to create a safe space for mums and children, JoJo Maman Bébé was born, allowing mums to order children's clothes from a mail order catalogue. JoJo Maman Bébé has grown from strength to strength and is providing the world with everything a child needs from birth to school age, as well as everything a mum needs for her pregnancy.
9. Jill Robbins, Home Free
Jill Robbins' child has a whole host of food allergies and she was struggling to find treats that her child could eat. She thought she could do better, so she founded Home Free to serve treats which still tasted good without excluding those with allergies or dietary requirements. The brand has tried to accommodate as many of common allergies as possible in their mission to create treats you can trust!
10. Maria Uspenski, The Tea Spot
Maria Uspenski's grandmother was such a tea fan that when she had to flee from war she ensured that she kept her Samavor- a cast iron water heater for used to make tea. This belief that tea is more than just a drink but a way of life drove Uspenski to launch The Tea Spot in 2004, specialising in the highest quality loose leaf teas.
Uspenski is a cancer survivor and has made her mission to support other cancer survivors central to The Tea Spot by donating 10% of sales to cancer survivors and The Community's Wellness Programmes.
Want to know more about this bright new world of ethical business? You can learn all about B Corp in our tell all blog.
Image Credits: Anita Roddick from The Roddick Foundation, Gaby Aghion from The Guardian photographed by Raymond Aghion, Mahira Kalim from Crunchbase, Julie Chen from Great British Entrepreneur Awards, Jo-Anne Chidley from Sothebys photographed by Mary Fedden , Emma Bridgewater from aspadirect, Geraldine Howard and Sue Beechey from The Evening Standard photographed by Patrick Grafton-Green, Laura Tenison photographed by odgersberndtson, Jill Robbins from FineTune by Rich Young, regenerativerising 2018.