In the world of brand marketing it’s tempting to put women (and all people for that matter) into neat little boxes. But the amazing women we work with and who inspire us most certainly do not fit – they’re not shaped from the same cookie cutter. Here, Client Services Director, Sara wishes happy International Women’s Day 2017 to all women, every type and stripe, those that bend, brush and break the mould!
It’s hard to believe that it’s only six weeks since the Women’s March saw millions of women (and allies) take to the streets around the globe to stand up for their rights against policy decisions that will negatively impact on women and the most vulnerable in society. I joined the march in London with my eldest daughter and other mums and children from her class at school. We all felt that we had to join forces with our sisterhood in the States. To unite in solidarity and spirit across country borders. One thing was so notable: the sheer creativity and individuality of all the protest banners. And why wouldn’t they be? It’s reflective of our shared, but utterly unique experiences as individual women.
"In the world of branding, it’s tempting and typical to put women (and men, and races, ages and orientations) neatly into boxes."
This is so often forgotten in the world of branding, where it’s tempting and typical to put women (and men, and races, ages and orientations) neatly into boxes. And for women, this very often sees us viewed through the lens of motherhood (I still haven’t seen an interview with a famous child-free man where it’s raised as a topic of interest). Quite literally when I turned thirty, certain retail stores started sending me emails pushing baby products, despite not having any children. Real life is infinitely more interesting and complex.
The amazing women that work at Free The Birds don’t fit neatly into boxes either. Our resident party girl designer spends weekends doing wood carving, our very urbane client services guru is immensely spiritual with a bit of a goddess obsession, our head of Brand Development, a suburban 40-something mum, spends weekends recording grime tracks in Dalston, another client services mum is a Watford FC fanatic and I have become even more obsessed with perfecting my figure skating. There is simply no one way to be a woman, there is no age when a woman will be a mother, nor should she need to want to. It’s behaviour and needs not arbitrary status (or age) that should matter.
"There is simply no one way to be a woman, there is no age when a woman will be a mother, nor should she need to want to. It’s behaviour and needs not arbitrary status (or age) that should matter."
It’s why the brands that have their own distinct point of view, appeal to us so much. They don’t flex desperately trying to target you, they include you in their world. Aesop, Kiehl’s, Le Labo, it’s not just the aesthetic that binds them, but a way of being and doing things their own sweet way. Even the mass market is starting to get that you don’t need to genderise every single thing (see new L’Oréal’s Botanicals range) to engage with people. People are people.
International Women’s Day is all about celebrating women and their achievements and amplifying them in a world where far too often men’s voices dictate what’s said. And that’s all women’s voices, of every type and stripe.
So here’s to the women that have inspired us this year, who we’ve worked with and alongside, who will never be able to fit into any single box.
Caroline Hirons, beauty guru and humanitarian. Charlotte Mensah, hair care genius and supporter of Ghanian girls. Eleni and Chris, Norwegian mother and daughter entrepreneurial powerhouses. Sian Sutherland, whirlwind of wellness and Imogen Matthews, who has forgotten more about the beauty business than most people will ever know. Desiree Reid, a groundbreaker in beauty diversity through Iman Cosmetics and Jay Manuel Beauty, Marie Drago the microbiomic marvel and Sarah McCartney indie perfumer extraordinaire, whose creativity knows no bounds.
We salute them all. Every woman is an individual. Every person is an individual. We all succeed when women do.