When we decided to start our own business it never entered our minds that, as two young women, this was quite a bold thing to do.
Through our careers, we'd worked in design agencies run by men, and with managers and senior mentors that were predominantly male. We sat in meetings with mostly male clients, and without realising it, were representing a minority group; female designers!
Yet, when we first started Off Grid, the question of our gender never entered our minds. We've always felt just as capable as our peers; If they can all run their own companies, then why can't we?
This bold, and maybe naive view of the world, has meant that even when the playing field hasn't been quite as inclusive and fair as it should, we've carried on regardless. We’ve taken knocks and gotten straight back up - mostly through our own damn stubbornness!
It's only now, as we whisper the terrifying words that we are running a 'successful business', that responsibility to our gender has started to weigh more heavily on our shoulders. People, women especially, are looking to us for guidance on how to hold our own in this male dominated industry - and we are filled with fear that people may soon find out that we've been winging it all along!
However, we are making waves. Though it brings controversy, it also attracts great things, and even greater people. Increasingly, strong, fierce businesswomen are seeking us out and wanting to join forces with us! Women, like us, who really want to make a change.
We'd love to introduce you to a few of them:
A force to be reckoned with. After leaving a corporate career in 2013, Anna has cycled around all 50 states of America, ran the length of New Zealand and cycled along the spine of the Andes. This has been interspersed with plenty of other scooting, blading, camping and fancy dress fuelled adventures.
When she eventually stays still (which we predict is not for long!), she writes inspiring and whitty books about her adventures, gives much-acclaimed talks, inspires the younger female generation as an ambassador for the Girl Guides and is one half of the brains behind the ever-growing group of badass women, Adventure Queens. If she's not an inspiring business women, I don't know who is!
We've had the pleasure of designing the cover and interior for her latest book, ‘50 Shades of the USA’, along with all the accompanying maps and illustrations. Now, we are working with Anna to reimagine the interior of her original story, ‘Pants of Perspective’ and have a few nuggets of fun coming up for Adventure Queens.
Self-proclaimed as 'not an athlete', Sophie has successfully tackled countless physical challenges. Having taken the bold decision to quit her job in pursuit of a life of adventure, she has truly been living a life that is a little less ordinary. To date, she's completed the Alpine Coast to Coast, competed in multiple Iron Man challenges, cycled from London to Paris and then across America.
Alongside all of this, Sophie has also set up the initiative - Trailblazers - a community built to help teenage girls develop the confidence and life skills to live courageously. The project gives students free access to workshops and adventures for those in economically deprived areas; bridging the gap between what is learned at schools and how to navigate the modern world.
We worked with Sophie and her team to create printed materials for the first Trailblazers camp. This venture is only in its infancy, but we are sure there will be many amazing things to come.
After having her first child, Lucy fully embraced getting outdoors, meeting people and getting fit. After moving to Macclesfield and speaking to lots of other mothers, she found that a relaxed, mama friendly fitness class was missing in her area and decided to do something about it.
Walking away from a career in PR, Lucy wanted to create her own path in life by doing something that she really cared about and that would benefit others. Now a fully qualified fitness instructor, she runs a challenging, fun and baby friendly fitness company, Mamas Who Move.
We worked with Lucy to create the Mamas Who Move brand - a non 'mumsy' fitness company.
Eighth generation dairy farmer, Mary is the first female from her family to take on their 160 strong herd. Traditionally, farming has been a heavily male orientated career, but in recent years more and more women have started to take on the challenge. Mary looks to be at the forefront of that.
Leading the team on their farm in Cheshire, Mary is looking to change many of the existing practises to improve welfare and health which, in turn, will boost production.
We worked with Mary to help her deliver new ways of communicating their practises and protocols across the farm. Together, we wanted to ensure that the extremely high standards that are expected are easy to follow and accessible to all. This will become a tool to share knowledge that can be passed along to other farmers and milk contractors.