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The spirit of Joy in London: four female entrepreneurs who’ve taken the city by storm

By Time Out in association with Fox
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Sisters are doin it! To mark the release of the brand new film ‘Joy’, starring Jennifer Lawrence, we celebrate the talent of London’s very own female entrepreneurs

Fittingly, the first big film of 2016 – all about making a fresh start while dealing with a big (emotional) hangover from the past – is released on January 1.

In ‘Joy’, Jennifer Lawrence plays a single mother who invents a simple household product (the self-wringing Miracle Mop) and becomes a shopping channel superstar. Throwing off the shackles of family and the burden of expectations placed on a little girl growing up to be just another wife and mom, Joy is a compelling character played to mesmirising effect by Lawrence, while the film itself is a beautifully shot, smartly expressed, gritty film with echoes of Scorsese at his best (and not just because Robert de Niro plays Joy’s father).

‘Joy’ is released in key West End cinemas on Boxing Day, ahead of its nationwide release (#JoyMovie and Facebook JoyMovieUK).

Writer-director David O Russell opens his film with the line, ‘Inspired by stories of brave women.’ In that spirit, we’ve picked four London-based women entrepreneurs whose energy, ideas and perseverance are making life right now that bit better for us all.

 

Emily Brooke, Blaze.cc

As founder and CEO of Blaze.cc, Emily Brooke is making her mark with one of the most funky and ingenious product brands yet for the urban cyclist. Like many successful entrepreneurial women, Brooke was undaunted by taking a right turn in her life – she quit reading Physics at Oxford to study the more hands-on discipline of Product Design at Brighton. The Blaze Laserlight was her final year project and within days of her exhibition, her invention was featured on every cycling blog in the UK. Especially designed to improve road safety for cyclists, the Laserlight combines a powerful LED front light with a laser that projects a bike symbol on the road, six metres ahead, to increase vehicle drivers’ awareness that there is a cyclist close by. Still in her twenties, Brooke and Blaze have also successfully launched an innovative back light, the Blaze Burner. Her future’s bright.

 

Tajinder Banwait, Urban Apothecary and Palette London

Some of the best companies have started in humble settings. Even chic start-ups like Tajinder Banwait’s style and wellbeing business… After ten years working in the beauty industry, Banwait devised, created and launched her lifestyle brand, Urban Apothecary, from her kitchen table. In the film ‘Joy’, Jennifer Lawrence’s character gets her business started by creating a production line in her dad’s mechanics garage. Perhaps that’s a little easier done with the ‘Miracle Mop’ than Urban Apothecary’s elegant glass-encased candles, but with the same single-minded drive, Banwait saw to every detail – from designing logos to sampling hundreds of scents – in one of the busiest rooms in her home. Constantly creating, in the last six months alone Banwait has also launched Urban Olfactory and unveiled Palette London – a bespoke nail paint brand which allows you to create your own colour collection just as you might mix and match paints when you decorate your walls at home.

 

Alex Depledge, Hassle.com

Brixton-based cleaning company Hassle.com evolved when CEO Alex Depledge and her colleagues made a very simple discovery: the vast majority of people on their original website (Teddle.com, a service linking local tradespeople with customers) were actually just looking for cleaners. Depledge’s team simplified their strategy to one brilliantly straightforward idea… with a lot of hard work and tech know-how behind it. They changed the business name to Hassle.com, focused on cleaning services and offered an easy to use online platform that has become an international success. On the business’s website, customers find, book and pay for a fully-checked cleaner near their home at a set £10 an hour. In less than three years, the company has become the world’s biggest home-cleaning marketplace, following a multi-million pound business merger just a few months ago.

 

Tamara Arbib, Rebel Kitchen

Mumpreneur Tamara Arbib struggled for five years to champion healthy eating through her charity, A Team Foundation, but found herself overshadowed by big brands. So instead, she decided to launch her own products and take the megabucks on at their own game. So Rebel Kitchen was born, making ‘mylk’ drinks for children (and grown-ups) from coconut milk. In the movie, Joy learns to draw strength from her family to push towards her goal, even working with her ex-husband, because she trusts him more than anyone else. Rebel Kitchen is a real family affair too – Arbib recruited her husband as business manager and has mixed stylish marketing, an ethical business approach and all-natural food principles to create a hugely successful dairy-free products company that has launched in the US just over a year since it started here.

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