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International Women's Day in Seven Dials

Tuesday 8th March 2022

Seven Dials is spotlighting the inspiring women in our community

International Women's Day in Seven Dials
International Women's Day in Seven Dials

Spotlighting inspirational women in our Seven Dials community

In celebration of International Women’s Day on the 8th of March, Seven Dials is spotlighting some of the community’s most inspirational women. From female creatives to CEOs, we’re celebrating the women who have either founded or made a positive impact on some of Seven Dials’ most iconic brands.

Scroll down to find out a bit about their backstory and how they came to be a part of the brand.

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Alex Hely-Hutchinson, Founder of 26 Grains

Alex Hely-Hutchinson is a professional cook, an author, entrepreneur and owner. Her first restaurant, 26 Grains, located in Neal’s Yard, put grains on the map – specifically sweet and savoury porridge, made with a range of interesting and delicious flavours. Alex also created a recipe book that details 100 delicious recipes using wholesome grains inspired by Nordic cooking and the Danish ethos of hygge.

Alex always worked in food during school holidays and after a year spent in Copenhagen as part of her degree, it kicked off her love of simple, seasonal food. Between jobs, Alex wanted to work in food again and so she set up a pop up stall serving porridge as it was something she had started eating again while she was living in Copenhagen. She did pop ups for a year and launched her permanent site in Neal’s Yard.

“Neal’s Yard has an amazing history of originally being run as a commune, producing dry goods to compliment the fresh fruit and veg market that used to take place in the main piazza. It was run like the commune based in Copenhagen in Christiania, hence the array of colours and plants in the yard.” Alex Hely-Hutchinson, Founder.

You can find the her restaurant located in 2 Neal’s Yard!

Joanna Dai, Founder & CEO of Dai

New to Seven Dials, Dai is a performance wear brand pushing the boundaries on innovation and sustainability. Founded by Joanna in 2017, the B Corp status brand prides itself in clothing designed to empower women.

“Eight years into my investment banking career, I had my fair share of long days. On that particular day, I had my 4am cab pickup, the first flight out of London, a day of meetings around Stockholm, and the last flight back at 8pm. When I finally sat down on my return flight, my waistband was digging in, nothing stretched, and I was uncomfortable. I wished I were in my yoga kit. Then, my a-ha moment. I thought to myself, ‘could this feel like yoga and still look like a power suit?'”

“When I started Dai in 2017, I made the commitment to do good for our planet and people through our brand and platform. Planet-friendly fabrics are just the beginning. Sustainability is woven into every fibre of our brand DNA and extends to everything we do, everyday. Three years on, we are proud to achieve our Certified B Corporation status, joining the global community of companies reinventing business as a powerful force for good.”

Check out Dai’s brand new store at 35 Monmouth Street.

Petra Barran, Founder of KERB

KERB, the team behind Seven Dials Market, was founded by Petra Barran, who began talent spotting and organising traders from her choc-mobile ice cream van, Choc Star, in 2010. She then spotted an opportunity to do something with all of the talent she saw in her fellow traders and her idea was to bring them all together on the streets of London.

KERB has been at the helm of the London street food scene since she launched it in 2012 in King’s Cross, giving Londoners something tasty to sink their teeth into and has grown a community of entrepreneurs.

“We began as a little rag-tag community and we have been through so many dips and dives, but the commitment of so many people, past and present to my original vision of bringing people together in public spaces to eat, cook and enjoy the moment has been remarkable to witness. I’m proud of following through with an idea and seeing it grow into something that marches on – it’s incredible, really.” Petra Barran, Founder.

You can grab a bite to eat in Seven Dials Market with entrances on Short’s Gardens and Earlham Street!

Ellie Ramsden, Photographer for Museum of Youth Culture

Ellie Ramsden is a London-based photographer. Ellie’s love for underground music and youth culture has led her to document London’s contemporary music scene over the past five years, self-publishing her first book ‘Too Many Man: Women of Grime’ in 2019, and releasing a second edition in 2021.

Much of Ellie’s work aims to question stereotypes, stimulate discussion and give new perspectives. She is interested in exploring gender equality and documenting communities who choose to live outside of the conventional constructs of society. Her work has been exhibited internationally as well as being widely featured in the press.

“My favourite aspects about being a photographer are getting the chance to meeting so many interesting people, and sharing how I see the world with others. For so long we have seen the world through a male lens, so it’s incredibly important that we are looking at imagery by people from all walks of life. We can learn so much about each other’s life experiences through photography, it is important we celebrate this.” Ellie Ramsden, Photographer.

You can find the Museum of Youth Culture located on 154 Shaftesbury Avenue!

Lucy Litwack, CEO of Coco de Mer

Lucy is one of the most experienced executives in the global lingerie industry, with over 20 years’ international experience. She has managed brand strategy, creative design, technical direction, development, merchandising and marketing categories for a series of luxury and mainstream iconic brands.

Lucy has been CEO of Coco de Mer for the last seven years. Under her leadership the brand has grown from a niche business to a global luxury brand reaching new audiences and markets. Since Lucy joined the company, Coco de Mer has won numerous awards for creative collaborations including renowned photographer Rankin, design agency Williams Murray Hamm and The V&A Museum.

You can find her Seven Dials store located on 23 Monmouth Street!

Lisa Der Weduwe, Cultural Projects Assistant of Museum of Youth Culture

Lisa’s role within the Museum of Youth Culture involves Museum development, with a focus on community outreach, whether that is working with photographers, youth groups, other heritage institutions or the general public. She is a collector of youth culture stories, finding memories and photographs wherever she goes.

“Our pop-up Museum of Youth Culture on Shaftesbury Avenue celebrates some of these incredible stories, through exhibitions and events. Having this space allows us to share the work of incredible female photographers like Ellie Ramsden and Georgia Cook. Being a noughties emo teenager, I’ve always been drawn to subcultures and the experiences of youth culture, joining the Museum nearly 6 years ago.” Lisa Der Weduwe, Cultural Projects Assistant.

You can find the Museum of Youth Culture located on 154 Shaftesbury Avenue!

Jen Rubio, CEO and Co-Founder of Away

As the Co-Founder of disruptive travel brand Away, Jen Rubio has brought the brand on an incredible journey since founding it in 2015.

Born in the Philippines and moved to the US when she was seven, Jen Rubio grew up travelling a lot and lived in seven different cities throughout her life. With travel at the core of who she is, the idea for Away came from a personal pain point when her suitcase broke at the airport and with that, Away was born with co-founder Steph Korey.

Jen and Steph chose Seven Dials as the location for their UK flagship Away store due to its iconic and beautiful neighbourhood that’s home to so many beloved retailers.

You can find her store located on 9 Earlham Street!


*Image credit to Masha Maltsava

Emmanuelle Moeglin, Founder of Experimental Perfume Club

Emmanuelle Moeglin is a graduate of the perfumery school ISIPCA and a highly respected perfumer with 15 years of collective international experience in the industry. Over the years, Emmanuelle has worked with hundreds of iconic brands including Dior, Mulberry, Hermes and Chanel.

In 2016, Emmanuelle founded her very own project, Experimental Perfume Club. Within its first years, the EPC lab opened its doors to thousands of visitors allowing individuals and brands alike to create their own bespoke fragrances. Emmanuelle is nothing short of a superwoman, launching EPC’s flagship store and lab in Seven Dials in May 2021, just two months prior to giving birth to her daughter. She continues to spearhead the brand as Creative Director, CEO and nose behind the brands own exquisite fine fragrance collection.

“Let me start by saying I love my job! I see it as a passion. I have worked my entire career in the industry of perfume creation. My fascination for fragrances started at a young age, collecting everything perfume as a child. My love for ingredients came later when I studied perfumery and spent time understanding the intricacy of perfume creation.” Emmanuelle Moeglin, Founder & Perfumer.

Check out Emmanuelle’s EPC lab at 52 Monmouth Street!

Sophie Alexander, Director of People & Culture at Seven Dials Market

Sophie started her career in staffing in one of London’s largest entertainment venues. She has been incredibly organised, fair and good at crunching numbers. Sophie only moved from this as she had that seven-year itch and felt like it was time for a change.

Sophie then moved to KERB and it was a huge culture shock for her in one of the best ways possible, she found the company gave her a voice straight away – no questions asked.

Since working at KERB Sophie has completed her CIPD, working as part of the opening team at Seven Dials Market, handled the pandemic and built out their incredibly talented and diverse team. Not only this, she has created a brilliant culture within the workplace and she encourages her team to express their individuality around the brand.

“For me, when I see the team smiling, laughing together, or hanging out outside of work, I know we are creating something special.” Sophie Alexander, Director of People & Culture.

You can grab a bite to eat at one of the 11 vendors in Seven Dials Market with entrances on Short’s Gardens and Earlham Street.

Rosie Wolfenden, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Tatty Devine

Rosie co-founded Tatty Devine in 1999 in East London with Harriet Vine, fresh from art school and with “no intention of getting a real job”. At first they made accessories for themselves to wear as there was a lack of interesting and affordable accessories around, but also because they didn’t want to look like anyone else – an ethos they still live by today. Individualism and originality have always been so important to them; being able to express who they are and make a statement for what they believe in.

“As women running a business, designing jewellery and leading a team, equality is at the heart of everything we do and we’re on a mission to spark real change. We are thrilled to have partnered with Equality Now as they actively challenge ever-pressing issues faced by women and girls worldwide today. The Tatty Devine x Equality Now collection will be launching at our Seven Dials store on 1st March.” Rosie Wolfenden, Co-Founder & Managing Director.

Pop by their store located at 44 Monmouth Street!

Jess Heunis, House Manager of WatchHouse

Jess moved from Australia to London in 2016. She was hired by an Aussie style café in Wimbledon where she completed her first ever coffee training. She later ended up working at Taylor Street Baristas were she completed their intensive training programme from trainee to junior and then onto senior barista. Further down the line Jess moved to Berlin to work for Five Elephant, opening their first collab with WeWork where she was the sole barista catering to a building with an occupancy of 1000 tenants.

After all this, Jess moved back to London and began working in Neal’s Yard as a Head Barista in a tiny café called Jacob The Angel which has since changed to a micro-restaurant called The Barbary Next Door. With her love of coffee she wanted to continue working within the industry, so when her former colleague moved to WatchHouse he recommended the café to her and she ended up joining to open and manage their Seven Dials ‘house’.

“When Seven Dial’s was announced I jumped right on it as I love area and wanted to get back to the Seven Dial’s community. It’s cool because there’s all the old crew there from pre-pandemic times!” Jess Heunis, House Manager.

You can find WatchHouse located on 7 Upper St. Martin’s Lane.

Lucile Levasseur, Managing Director of Fafa's

Lucile began working for Fafa’s in Finland. Fafa’s has always been a brand that focused on rewarding skills and give motivation to succeed by encouraging the expression of everyone’s full potential. After leaving Finland for London, Lucile then worked her way up to the top and is now the Managing Director for Fafa’s Seven Dials restaurant.

“I realised that my limitations are only where I set them, or where I accept them to be set on my behalf. I stick to the “I didn’t know I couldn’t do it, so I did it” rule, as self-reliance and self-confidence gang together.” Lucile Levasseur, Managing Director.

You can find Fafa’s located on 1 Monmouth Street!

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