As International Women’s Day is celebrated around the globe, we sat down with seven of our inspirational female entrepreneurs to learn more about how they founded their renowned brands residing in the streets of Seven Dials.
From alcohol-free bars to sustainably curated dinner menus and exclusive fashion collections adorned by British royalty, these successful entrepreneurs have disrupted their industry and challenged gender norms.
Each of the Seven Women of Seven Dials has shared their invaluable advice and inspiration for the next generation of budding entrepreneurs.
Catherine Salway, Founder - Redemption
Find Redemption at 15 Shorts Gardens
Catherine Salway is the founder of Redemption. Described by The Guardian as ‘the best-executed booze-free bars in the world.’ The concept is a broad theme of ‘spoil yourself without spoiling yourself’ – vegan, sugar-free and wheat-free, without feeling like a sacrifice, and according to Time Out, ‘worth staying sober for.’
Salway comments: “Entrepreneurialism is like a bug that you catch, and I caught it from Sir Richard Branson. It’s a passion for spotting gaps in the market and having a vision about making it happen. A vision so strong that you can’t stop thinking or dreaming about it. A vision so strong you will gamble everything to make it happen.”
“I also read an interview with the athlete Dame Kelly Holmes and everything she said about training to win really resonated with me and inspired me to continue with Redemption. When you fail, pick yourself up and keep going. Often you start winning only once you’ve worked through great hardship and seemingly endless bad luck.”
Chantelle Nicholson, Chef Patron – Tredwells
Find Tredwell’s at 4A St Martin’s Lane
Tredwell’s Chantelle Nicholson, Chef Patron of Tredwell’s, is one of the leading female names in the hospitality industry, having worked incredibly closely with Marcus Wareing over the last 15 years.
Chantelle Nicholson’s advice to young female chefs to celebrate International Women’s Day: “You have to seriously love what you do and be willing to put your all into it. There is a need to be nimble and embrace that sometimes, it’s better to change course, rather than be stubborn about your intentions. It is important to know which battles to fight and which to allow to be laid to rest.”
Dinny Hall, Founder - Dinny Hall
Find Dinny Hall at 61 Monmouth Street
Designer Dinny Hall founded the brand in 1985 after graduating from Central St Martins alongside contemporaries such as Philip Treacy. Her debut collection was a resounding success and the brand continues to flourish three decades on, with even members of the British Royal family adorning her pieces.
Now as an established jewellery designer and role model for young entrepreneurs, Dinny Hall passes on her advice: “Where do I start? Be true to your own convictions, understand your own capability, find good partners who complement your skills, work hard, believe in yourself, but don’t be self-delusional and lastly, do your sums.”
Karine Jackson, Founder - Karine Jackson Hair and Beauty
Find Karine Jackson at 24 Litchfield Street
Former London Hairdresser of the Year, Karine Jackson has continued to be a vocal advocate for the hair industry and opportunities for women. Karine was also the former President of the Fellowship for British Hairdressing, only the third woman to ever do so.
Evaluating her success up to now and some of the challenges working women face, Karine said: "I think when women have a family, we become the main carer at home and it’s tricky to juggle that with also leading a business. I so often see that women do a hard day’s work and then also manage their home more than their partner when it comes to kids, cooking, cleaning, organising; it’s never-ending. Although there are plenty of determined women doing both, I don’t think we shout loud enough about our work achievements. Women are so dedicated and hard-working, as a society we must make sure we are making it possible to work at the same time as raising a family, rather than offering an inflexible work environment that doesn’t take this into account. However, I’m not thinking of barriers anymore, I want women to just do it! You can achieve whatever you want to, just go for it!”
Lucy Litwack, CEO - Coco de Mer
Find Coco De Mer at 23 Monmouth Street
Lucy Litwack, CEO of Coco de Mer, has over 19 years of experience in the lingerie and luxury retail world from managing brand strategy, creative design to merchandising and development of multiple luxury brands. The brand’s flagship store in London is based in Seven Dials and offers visitors the opportunity to purchase luxury lingerie and attend private in-store experiences for both men and women.
Lucy Litwick, comments on her inspiration and drivers for the success of the Coco de Mer business: “I believe in the empowerment of women, and the healthy self-confidence that comes with pleasure-seeking and a more progressive viewpoint. Owning and growing Coco de Mer allows me to influence and support dreams, sensuality, and satisfaction.”
Julia Deane, Founder – Cambridge Satchel Company
Find The Cambridge Satchel Company at 37 Neal Street
Julie Deane OBE and her mother Freda started The Cambridge Satchel Company at their kitchen table in Cambridge with a budget of only £600 and one goal - to make enough money to send Julie's children to a better school.
Julie’s advice for budding female entrepreneurs: “First and foremost, the most important person you should listen to is yourself – and you should always remember to back yourself, be your own champion and clearly understand what you are good at and what you are not good at. The areas that you are not good at, listen and learn from TED Talks, podcasts and other sources and continue to learn from everything. You’ll never know where your next idea or inspiration will come from for an existing or new business, so, always keep your mind wide open! Finally, the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is to not lose sight of your own vision and be guided by others based on current market trends.”
Harriet Vine and Rosie Wolfenden, Founders – Tatty Devine
Find Tatty Devine at 44 Monmouth Street.
Behind every great brand is a great woman, or in the case of Tatty Devine, two great women! Tatty Devine is the go-to brand for original, fun, acrylic statement jewellery, and was founded in the heart of East London in 1999 by Harriet Vine MBE and Rosie Wolfenden MBE. From collaborations with industry greats to receiving MBE’s for their contributions to fashion, the last 20 years have seen the duo continue to successfully elevate themselves.
Rosie Wolfenden of Tatty Devine gives young entrepreneurs some advice on starting a new business: “Don’t be afraid to start small but make sure you are seen. Be at as many events as possible telling as many people as possible about what you do.”
Seven Dials is known for curating, supporting and launching new brands and experiences in the UK, with many led by inspirational women. To hear more from these, and other inspirational women in Seven Dials head over to our Instagram page.