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International Women’s Day – Inspirational tips on how to live your dream

In honor of all the remarkable women, in this wast world, we wanted to do a special feature this year in light of Women's Day. From the perspective of Green Little Heart, we're proud of the fact that close to 80% of the brands in our platform are female founded. Now that is cool.

First some sad facts, in Sweden less than 1% (0.97%) of the invested capital goes to companies founded by women. Sweden is one of the worst counties in Europe when it comes to actually support women entrepreneurs. And anyone who starts googling these sad facts, is left with an overflow of similar articles and information stating these facts.

I recently went to an event organized by Women in Business, amazing event, and there we were presented with a recently conducted research project, by Professor Malin Malmström Luleå Technical University, and it proves that there are severe structural behavior problems that manifest inequalities between men and women, can you just imagine if you dive deeper into other structural problems like being a female immigrant and over 50 years’ old and you want to start your own company?

Facts:

📊 Women entrepreneurs face a higher rate of rejection for business loan applications compared to men.
💰 When they do secure loans, women pay higher interest rates.
🏛️ Interestingly, in societies leaning towards conservative political ideologies, the gender gap in loan interest rates is more pronounced.
🌍 Moreover, in societies with higher levels of women’s empowerment, gender discrimination in loan rejection and interest rates is exacerbated.

Source 

When in funding situations, women are asked questions about risk and men questions about potential. Malin Malmström, Professor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation; Director of Sustainable Finance Lab at Luleå Technical University, labels them as Prevention questions and Promotion questions.

These are just a few examples of many proving the same point. Then if you start weighing in other facts like how much more responsibility women take for the home environment to function, the fact that women and children are exploited in the production of fast fashion – and yes, the list goes on.

The importance of emphasizing this is to ensure, all women out there, in situations of presenting their business, pitching, discussions with banks and other situations – that we understand these severe structural problems arm you with knowledge about it and if/when you are exposed to this. You can do something about it and you can be prepared. I think I’m not the only one having  questioned myself after having been exposed to injustices and situations of these types of structural problems. After having read and educated myself of this situation, I can also face this type of situations much stronger and informed, also knowing – it’s not me.

Full interview with all the Founders!

Key leanings from Our Founders

So, in spite of all of that, still 80% of the 150 brands in our platform are founded by women! Now that is truly inspiring, and we have met five of them and asked them how they started their business and which piece of advice they want to share with the rest of the world!

We recorded 6 interviews with 6 founders and this article will sum up the best takeaways so that you can read this and leave feeling inspired. Five of them are brands on the Green Little Heart platform and we also spoke to the CEO & Founder of Green Little Heart.

We met Jonna Johansson, CEO & Founder Attáge, Wendy Heijne, CEO & Founder Stutio Heijne, Jenny Tohmasson, CEO & Co-founder Loose Knot. Therese Wiman, CEO & Founder the_wiman, Linda Nordin CEO & Co-Founder Pure Effects.

Jonna! The founder Attáge

First, we had Jonna Johansson, Jonna is the founder of Attáge, Attáge designs and produces high quality bags in innovative vegan materials with a focus on Slow Fashion and providing a more sustainable choice. The material is waste material from the Apple industry, Apple Leather, the footprint is because of this, reduced. A big focus is given to design to produce a long-lasting product which lives long beyond trends. 

Listen to Jonna’s full interview here. (add embedded youtube video)

Top five take aways from Jonna:

  1. Believe in yourself.
  2. Get a supportive partner or support group.
  3. Trust your gut
  4. Don’t give up
  5. Just do it

Jenny! The Co-founder of Loose Knot

Next Up: Jenny Thomasson, one of the Co-Founders of Loose Knot, the other founder is her sister. Loose Know makes amazing Slow-Fashion kimonos in dead-stock material. After many years in the fast fashion industry, it was time to make something very different from that. These pieces have no new production and are made in Europe. The Kimonos can be worn in many ways and one of those pieces you can wear for many many years. 

Listen to Jenny’s full interview here. (add embedded youtube video)

Here are Jenny’s top inspirational tips:

  1. The grass is not always greener.
  2. You’re not alone – others struggle too.
  3. We’re stronger together, help, listen, learn.
  4. “Listen to your sisters.”
  5. Go for your dream, Live the dream instead of dreaming it.
  6. Be brave and dare.

Jenny has an incredibly positive attitude to life and business, you can feel her energy through the screen in this interview.

Linda! The Co-founder of Pure Effect of Sweden

Next up we sat down with Lind Nordin, one of the Co-founders of Pure Effect Sweden – a a biotechnological revolution USING good bacteria to fight odor and stains, making fashion last longer! . In the world of Slow Fashion, Second-hand plays a big role and this amazing product is everything you need to protect yourself from smell and stains. Simply magic!

Listen to Linda’s full interview here. (add embedded youtube video)

Here are Linda’s top inspirational tips:

  1. Pay it forward
  2. Be a role model
  3. Stop washing your clothes so much! She shares an alarming statistic of how often we wash our clothes unnecessarily!
  4. You get to steer the wheel when you are your own entrepreneur, the freedom it gives you is unmatched!
  5. Purpose-driven companies need to come together.
  6. It’s necessary to be a part of a community.
  7. Stop blaming and shaming – just make small changes to be better.
  8. We need purpose. Purpose-driven businesses drive positive change.

Wendy! The CEO & Founder of Studio Heijne

Next up is our sister from the Netherlands, Wendy Heijne, founder of Studio Heijne. Studio Heijne works with a Made-to-Measure principle with a sustainable approach when sourcing materials which makes the loop much more circular.

Wendy’s biggest challenges as a female entrepreneur: “in the beginning I wasn’t feeling like I wasn’t being taken seriously from men, not anymore”

Wendy said: “Networking with women is easier and more fun.”🤪 we agree here at Green Little Heart!

The best of the journey: “do what I’m passionate about, what I love”, evolving constantly, journey that never ends, you always learn.

How can the female community be stronger? be a mentor for younger women, hire more women in your own company, invest in other women?

Here are Wendy’s top inspirational tips:

  1. Build your network!
  2. Take small steps, be brave, go for it.
  3. Use your free time, you don’t need to quit your job, just use the time that you have.
  4. Start small, one step at a time.
  5. Start talking! New doors will open. See if people actually want what you are offering.
  6. Don’t do it all yourself.
  7. Be a mentor for younger women.
  8. Do something better for the world.

Therese! The CEO & Founder of the_wiman

Next up is Therese Wiman, the founder of the_wiman , a quality fabric for women’s wear. Therese is using certified recycled material and has a circular approach to how she works with the collection.

Here are Therese’s top inspirational tips:

  1. Don’t compromise on the quality and values.
  2. The freedom is the best part of starting her company.
  3. Ask for help.
  4. Believes that we are stronger together.

How can we support women founded companies? – “Lower the threshold for starting, break glass ceilings, show where you add value, continue to create change & do great things.”

Empower each other.

Listen to Therese’s full interview here. (add embedded youtube video)

Therese! The CEO & Founder of Green Little Heart

And last but not least the founder of Green Little Heart

In her heart Green Little Heart grew stronger and in 2021 she seized the opportunity and embarked on building the Impact Platform Green Little Heart. Today there are 150 vetted remarkable brands on the platform who share one strong purpose and that is to strive for a more sustainable lifestyle. Leaving less footprints behind us and working towards an inclusive and kind prosperous society.

Therese gave her best tips on being more sustainable in everyday life, how to support female founders in business and her expert tips on starting a purpose-driven company!

🤍 Key takeaways:

  1. Go slow, step by step.
  2. For those who want to be more sustainable: test and test small, rather than being passive, you expand in those emotions, test bamboo toothbrush, we all leave footprint behind, we can do it in more sustainable way <3 think second hand, think what’s new and innovative, we all need to be more responsible.
  3. Mission: make sustainable lifestyle a norm, every mall looks the same, we can change the narrative, we need transition, use what we have and prosper businesses.
  4. For those who struggle to bring an idea to life: talk to other people (friends, companies,), women’s network that provides a lot of knowledge, don’t be afraid to ask for help, listen to your heart!

“How do you sustain the hope every day?”

Therese: “Raise my eyes and look around, that’s why we are doing that, we need to be more conscious. no one else is going to do it, you are the someone.”

🙏🏻 Trust your core, do research, network, listen to your heart and brain.

💰 Vote with your wallet, use the power you have as a consumer, little contribution, small steps matter, don’t be afraid of trying out.

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