14 under-the-radar lifestyle brands started in lockdown by brilliant women
Get your hands on unique pieces from newly launched under-the-radar brands, before all your friends do.
In times like these it’s important to find the silver linings where we can and, although lockdown has been undoubtedly difficult, it has provided a catalyst for a wave of women to start their own businesses – which is incredibly exciting.
Since March 2020 there’s been an explosion of new, independent brands being born through Instagram. They use social media as a platform to showcase creative new ventures such as homeware, accessories and food.
In a world where women have typically been disadvantaged, many are finding their feet and nursing their creative passions to become their own bosses with brilliant business ideas that we can’t stop buying from.
So, if you love finding under-the-radar brands with carefully made gems like candles, ceramics, t-shirts and brownie boxes, then you need to shop our edit of the best new businesses founded by women since the pandemic.
This is the place to get your hands on unique pieces and support women at the beginning of their new business journey. You can thank us later.
Laylo is a shining example of an innovative indy wine brand, which was founded by friends and wine experts Laura Riches and Laura Rosenberger in July 2020. Together they decided to rid boxed wine of its bad rep and celebrating it for its eco-credentials instead by creating their own, complete with stylish packaging.
Their aim was to produce a premium boxed wine which anyone would be proud to display on their countertop with an ambition to make brilliant wine more accessible and easier to keep – something they’ve absolutely achieved.
Their first wine is a deep Spanish red which they promise will transport you back to holidays spent nibbling and drinking in tapas bars, which is an image we could all do with right now.
Shop Tempranillo 2019 wine at Laylo, £34.99
In lockdown, the day-brightening effect of flowers has felt more important than ever. Couple that with the tablescaping trend and influx of homeware influencers and suddenly, having a good floral game is essential.
While we love fresh blooms, Leo Flowers offers something unique, creative and breathtakingly beautiful. Jessie Beaumont is a membership manager by day, working on (very cool) projects such as Peckham Levels, Pop Brixton and Hackney Bridge. But since November she has been turning her hand to the intricate art of paper flower making, with stunning results.
She started by trying out different styles and sharing with her friends on social media, but within the last few days she’s gone live with her website (congratulations to Jessie!) and her creations are now available to buy.
Our favourites? Those huge peachy peonies that will, of course, never wilt and lose their petals, and the delicate Icelandic poppies with wiry stems and cheery yellow and red heads.
Leo Flowers make a gorgeous gift in place of regular flowers or a must-buy for your own living room. We think you better ready your best vase.
Shop paper flowers at Leo Flowers, from £15
The Good News Baker
In 2019, Warsan searched for creative outlets to aid her anxiety and landed on baking as a way to help her heal. She shared her bakes with friends and family, continued to teach herself and experiment and saw a huge improvement in her mental health.
Over time her following grew and, in May 2020, she decided to make it official. Cue the launch of her brand The Good News Baker, which sells postable brownie boxes stuffed with gooey salted caramel and Biscoff concoctions.
Warsan means ‘good news’ in Somali which is reflected in every part of the brand from the positive ethos behind it to the beautiful, bright colours used in the branding.
Shop brownies at The Good News Baker, from £14
When Léa Zana was made redundant at the beginning of lockdown from her profession as a shoe designer she, like many others, felt that her life had taken a dark turn.
Inspiringly, though, she now says that this unexpected situation led her to her most beautiful achievement, creating her own brand Vaiselle.
As a child growing up in France, Léa would often roam flea markets with her grandmother and inherited a love of homeware and ceramics which contributed to the large personal collection she has today.
While it hadn’t previously occurred to her to make her own, she began sketching in lockdown and came up with the playful, colourful designs that you can now buy from her website spanning oil pourers, teacups and saucers as well as dipping bowls.
Since then she’s tried hard to find suppliers who match her passion, now working with a couple in Southern Spain who make and paint the pieces together.
Shop ceramics at Vaiselle, from £25
Sasha Compton is from North Yorkshire but for the last few years she has been based in Amsterdam, originally as a graphic designer for a Dutch fashion brand.
In January 2020 Sasha decided to make the move to go freelance, but, by March all the work had dried up due to the shock of the pandemic. With years of creative experience she decided to go back to basics and get her hands dirty, moving away from the digital work to make intricate art inspired by Grecian goddesses and the celestial.
Sasha’s works are very of the moment with themes rooted in the female form, mystery and magic and the natural world. She often uses rich pinks and blues alongside metallic touches.
Shop art at Sasha Compton, from £55
Dinner candles are all the rage right now, and an important contributor to that scene is Rosily Roberts and her joyful oil painted candles.
Rosily was furloughed from her job in a commercial art gallery in London last year, before being made redundant as the pandemic carried on.
She had always been a gifted painter, something which is clear from her designs, and so after recognising her own passion for candles she brought those two loves together to create these one of a kind pieces.
Most of her candles feature rich, expressive interpretations of fruits and flowers, although she’s constantly coming up with new ideas. We particularly love her lemon design.
Shop hand-painted candles at Rosily Roberts, from £6
Rachael noticed a gap in the market for beautifully designed, truly sustainable paint after feeling that even the most established brands felt a little outdated.
And, voila – Pickleson Paint was born. The formula is water-based and low in volatile organic compounds which is better for the environment and dries quickly enough to re-coat within 20 minutes.
The best part though? The colours. We adore Sangria Pink, Artichoke Blue and Aegean Sage, but all are created with impeccable taste. Their fun names will draw you in alone.
Shop paint from Pickleson Paint, from £29
Sister-team Bethany and Annabelle have had a lifetime love affair with the art world. Raised by a mother with impeccable taste, both with backgrounds at art schools and now each working in the creative industries themselves, they felt a shared passion to make buying art easier and less intimidating.
It started with conversations between friends about how they’d like to start investing in exciting artists but would have no idea where to start and ended with their pair starting their own web store showcasing hand sourced antique lithographs, exhibition posters and oil paintings.
You’ll find nods to well-known names but Bethany and Annabelle are both keen to push forward lesser-known artists and steer people away from being obvious or safe.
Shop art at Sunday Club, prices vary
Palette Gifting and Roses
Finding interesting and aesthetically pleasing ways to wish friends happy birthday and congratulations has become one of the learnings of lockdown.
But, while flowers always hit the spot, Palette Roses and Gifting offer an even more special way to send your best friend some blooms. The idea for a luxury gift box service started back in May and together sisters Emma and Hannah worked hard to have the product ready to launch by December. Impressive, huh?
There are currently eight boxes to choose from, each one includes a bouquet of luxury, cream roses (we can vouch that they are every bit as breathtaking in the flesh) alongside an assortment of goodies such as face masks, chocolates, candles, bath salts and alpaca bed socks.
All of this is packaged in pale pink box and tied with a black ribbon, for a ‘movie-style moment’ of delivery.
Shop gift boxes and bouquets at Palette Roses and Gifting from £45
Like many others, Maisie didn’t know what to do when she lost her job in beauty PR in the first lockdown.
She had always considered herself a creative soul with a passion for interior design, but presumed that actually having a career in that industry was out of her reach, or at least difficult to get into.
But when she started experimenting with candle making, she was excited to see that her creations came out better than she initially expected and before long family and friends were queuing up to buy them.
Maza candles are inspired by art, design and sculpture and experiment with playful colour combinations that look gleefully stylish.
Shop candles at Maza, from £8
Drop of Dopamine
Vintage homeware Instagram accounts have exploded over the last few months, providing an easy way for all of us to feed our interiors addictions over lockdown.
For the women who have started them, it’s been an exciting venture and as the founder of Drop of Dopamine Fran Hewison says, also incredibly liberating.
Drop of Dopamine is a curation of unique vintage home accessories such as candlestick holders, glasses and decorative bowls, often in pastel colours with a kitschy feel.
Shop homewares at Drop of Dopamine, prices vary
Give your tablescape an organic feel with Ved Cooks unique selection of rustic-looking napkins. Each one is hand-dyed using the colour collected from food waste.
Verity was inspired to repurpose her food scraps after creating new recipes during lockdown. She didn’t want things like vegetable skins to go to waste, so she used them to add interesting hues to 100% Irish linen napkins.
Shop napkins at Ved Cooks, from £56
There’s nothing cosier than a flickering candle on a winter’s night and Lit’s 100% natural candles are perfect.
They are hand-poured and come in a range of delicious scents such as bergamot, cedarwood and orange. Lit candles look the part, too. With minimalist, monochrome packaging and a generous, rounded size, they sit nicely on any coffee table or mantlepiece.
The brand was only launched last October by Heather Gilberthorpe Pell, but is already a Stylist favourite. Heather had been blending scents and practising candle making since 2019 and after her jobs in events became endangered during lockdown she decided to follow her passion fulltime.
Shop candles at Lit Home, from £28
Art By Elle
Art by Elle is your chance to secure a stunning original artwork for your walls to take your pad to a whole new level.
Elle was made redundant from her job in PR at the beginning of lockdown but instead of being stalled by what she admits was a “terrifying time”, she put her time into creative expression and nurturing her artistic talents.
Since setting up her own Instagram she’s already drawn in a dedicated audience, selling an impressive amount pieces within a matter of months.
Elle works with acrylic paints and gold leaf to create mesmerising abstract landscapes with ornate texture and a contemporary feel. They exude calm and serenity, perfect for gazing into with a cup of tea.
Shop art at Art By Elle, prices vary
Images: Maza / courtesy of brands
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