Finished your Christmas shopping yet? Me neither. Which is why I wanted to share this fabulous edit of Christmas gifts with you – all things that I love, from fantastic female founders.
I’m a great believer in #WomenSupportingWomen. There are so many exceptional business owners out there who have taken a leap of faith in midlife, setting up companies that sell beautiful bespoke products. They’ll be relying on our custom this year more than ever. And their hard work and determination deserve to be recognised.
So here’s what I want for Christmas – and I think you might, too.
Mauli came out of a pilgrimage to India, where founder Anita Kaushal discovered the healing power of natural herbs. There are so many products from this line that I love. My current favourites are the Sleep Dharma Pillow Mist, with bergamot, chamomile and vetiver, the most soothing botanicals; Reawaken Hand & Body Lotion, with more than 90% organic ingredients – the lime, lavender and frankincense smell divine; and the Sundaram & Silence Essential Oil Candle, handmade in England from sustainable crops.
Dermatologist Dr Barbara Geusens has come up with a scientifically proven range of skincare solutions that she tailors to your individual DNA. Barbara used to struggle with acne, and realised that the one-size-fits-all treatment approach was never going to work for her. So she created four products – an Antioxidant Booster, Customised DNA Neutral Day Cream, Collagen Booster and Hydration Booster – that could be individually formulated, on the basis of a DNA test. This isn’t a cheap option, so it might be one for your wish list – but when you think about how much you spend on lotions and potions, it adds up to a sound investment.
Gabriela Peacock is a nutritional therapist and naturopath who’s passionate about the impact high-quality supplements can have on our lives, particularly as we get older, and sleep, immunity and energy levels become an issue. I take her Gold with Collagen, which covers all your daily essentials – a multivitamin, a high-grade turmeric capsule and a vegan omega-3 supplement – with added collagen for skin health. Gabriela has also written a book, 2 Weeks to Feeling Great, a guide to health and wellbeing that’s not full of ridiculous rules. It’s about making small changes that are actually achievable.
Don’t put your dreams on hold: that’s what Hayley Thomas realised when her husband was diagnosed with stage-three bowel cancer. One of the things she did was set up a business, selling fuss-free, beautifully made tees with a conscience. They work just as well dressed down with jeans and a biker jacket as they do glammed up with heels and a blazer. I have her Où est la Discothèque? sweatshirt in black, made from Fair Trade cotton, and I absolutely love it. Now, where is that disco?
5 Sarah Haran
If, like me, you’re slightly embarrassed at the state of your make-up bag, Sarah Haran’s beautiful pale-blue Peony Cosmetic Pouch might be just the thing. Sarah worked in tech for many years, then gave it all up to start making her own bags, with a bunch of designs that could double up. So this pouch can be used as an evening clutch, too. All her leather is from ethical tanneries, and she works with small, family-run producers, to bring her customers bags of joy.
6 Astrid & Miyu
At the age of 54, I decided my piercings needed an upgrade – now I have three in one ear and two in the other. What am I wearing? Astrid & Miyu’s silver and cubic Crystal Cluster Huggies, which look fabulous in a stack with my hoops. The brand was founded by Connie Nam, who believes in pushing the boundaries of self-expression with responsibly created, high-quality pieces. Connie was born in Seoul and has spent much of her life travelling, picking up quirky gems in markets and from small local jewellers. That’s the spirit she brings to her brilliant brand.
7 Club Matters
I’ve got a bit of a thing about glassware, so Club Matters’ Crystal Wine Goblets are right at the top of my Christmas list. They’re hand-blown and engraved in England, and designer Mary Corbett’s appreciation for artistry and old-fashioned values shines through. Her Monogram Table Mats are fabulous, too. All her tableware is about celebrating those beautiful moments with family and friends – and that’s particularly special at Christmas.
8 Rae Feather
Rae Feather is a traveller at heart, so the inspiration for her first collection came from her travel diaries. She wanted to make resortwear that was stylish and comfortable, in natural fabrics, along with funky – but luxurious – accessories. I’m currently obsessing over her Monogram Women’s Stripe Slip-on Sheepskin Slippers – they look super-cosy, can be monogrammed for the personal touch, and have a handpainted signature stripe. So if any of my family are stuck for gift ideas…
9 FWP by Rae
I love a great T-shirt – but you’ve probably worked that out by now. FWP by Rae are some of the best. I’ve got their Bon Vintage Stars Tee in black and gold: you can dress it up or down, it’s made from high-quality organic cotton and it never fails to put a smile on my face. Rae Adam set up her own business when she got fed up buying T-shirts that were either cheaply made or completely overpriced. All of hers are ethically produced, and printed in the UK.
And finally, hair. “Love your hair, love yourself, love your planet” is Tabitha James Kraan’s ethos – and it’s one I love. Tabitha is a hair geek – her words – who’s been pioneering organic hairdressing since 1999. She had a lightbulb moment when she was pregnant and realised that whatever she used on her body would filter through to her unborn child. Her haircare range is vegan, cruelty-free and made in the UK. There are Get Started sets for dark and fair hair – you’ll be instantly hooked.
So there you have it – nine wonderful female entrepreneurs making fabulous gifts. Happy Christmas shopping.