Here’s 10 Female Owned Cumbrian Brands To Support This International Women's Day
International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day which celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality. IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people.
This year the theme is #ChooseToChallenge. To mark the day we have compiled this list of Cumbrian brands owned and run by women. From chocolatiers, to bakers and artists the Lake District is home to some of the best talent in the country.
Freedom Chocolate, a small family business based in Carlisle, use their own unique recipes and raw ingredients together to craft their very popular artisan chocolate products. Owned by Sarah Wood and her husband Simon Wood, they set up the brand in October of 2017. Freedom Chocolate was born out of their family’s experience of struggling with food allergies and intolerances and all of their products are suitable for all including vegans and allergy sufferers.
Ginger Bakers was founded in 2006 when Lisa Smith began baking cakes from her home kitchen and selling them at local markets. She took a leap from her career as an art therapist into cake baking following her move to the Lake District. The Lake District offers Ginger Bakers a wealth of fabulous ingredients, which are still an integral part of their recipes. Selling traybakes, tarts, fruitcakes and seasonable cakes there is always something for everyone.
West Lakes Hemp
Established in 2018 as Lakeland CBD but now known now as West Lakes Hemp, they are the Lake District’s original CBD brand. Known for their transparent, honest and helpful advice they strive to ensure customers are guided and educated across the world of CBD. The company is led by mental health advocate Nic Hewitt and her long-time school friend Luke Woodend, who have both used CBD themselves for just under five years. They stock everything from CBD capsules, supplements and cosmetics, with bath bombs, soaps and bubble-bath all made inhouse by hand.
Herdy is one of the Lake’s best loved and recognised brands, launched in September 2007 by Dianne Hannah and her husband Spencer Hannah. The company designs and creates unique gifts, homeware and accessories with the main goal of making people smile. Herdy was originally inspired by the Lake District’s loveable Herdwick sheep. From mugs, pin badges and keyrings in 2007 to being stocked in over 400 retailers by 2015, Herdy is a true Cumbrian brand.
Vie’s Jamaican Rum Cakes
Elaine Rémy lost her mother Agnes Viola Henry aka ‘Vie’ in 2018 and she was determined to mark her passing with a fitting tribute to her inspirational mother and Jamaican heritage.
Elaine created ‘Vie’s Jamaican Rum Cakes’ which was launched in mid 2020. Vie, Elaine’s mother was well-known for her scrumptious cakes which were infused with the finest of Jamaican white rum and Elaine is now reproducing her mum’s cakes based on her traditional recipe. Elaine has taken great pride in ensuring both the original and gluten-free versions of the cake are as fruity, flavoursome and fantastic as her mother’s used to be.
Shed 1 Distillery
Launched in October 2016 by Zoe Arnold-Bennett and her husband Andy in the market town of Ulverston, Shed 1 Distillery produces award-winning, classically-distilled, craft gin. The inspiration was to create more contemporary-style gins with bigger, bolder flavour profiles. From beginning in their garden shed, they moved to The Old Calf Shed in 2019 and started Cumbria's first and only Make Your Own Gin Experiences. The Shed is also a licensed wedding venue. Zoe started her work life as a special paint finisher. Then an opportunity to teach in Japan for a year turned into a 7-year stint in Asia. After meeting Andy in Korea, she moved to Cumbria and they made Ulverston their home. A few years later they launched Shed 1 Distillery.
Janette Phillips Art
Janette, a member of the Lake Artists Society, is known for her expressive and light-filled painting. Working from her studio overlooking Morecambe Bay in the South Lakes, she has spent lockdown connecting with artists worldwide, sharing her creative process by taking her inspirational workshops online. As an associate artist of the Yorkshire-based company Wallace Seymour, Janette has also created a series of bespoke courses, working with their premium ranges of art materials.
Linnhe Harrison opened Mini Eden, in Kirkby Stephen, in 2017 with the aim of creating a clothing store and gift shop and cafe with a difference. All the clothing the shop sells is preloved, end-of-line, recycled, handmade, made in Cumbria or fairtrade, while its cafe sells barista-prepared artisan coffee and other treats. The shop also features indoor play gardens for kids made by local carpenter Wayne McLay. This year Linnhe has invested in an “outreach coffee van” which is set to tour the county and visit sites including Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s Smardale and Foulshaw Moss nature reserves.
Nettle + Tansy
Emma Mackintosh is a Lake District based glass artist and founder of Nettle and Tansy. Their core range of glassware is created in house by Emma, inspired by nature and the beauty of the National Park in which she lives. Emma’s glassware is both classic and contemporary, with a focus on combining style alongside functionality. Emma has been working with glass for over 12 years and has developed a personal style which results in pieces which are refreshingly individual.
Residents and visitors alike have developed a distinct soft spot for Cherrydidi and its shops in Ambleside and Windermere. Founder Jean Harmer is passionate about promoting the work of artists and start-ups and stocking their gifts in her two stores and online shop. Cherrydidi is also the home of the Zak the Collie Dog range of gifts featuring Jean’s own faithful friend, with a pound from every sale donated to Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dogs and the Border Collie Trust.