Buy Women Built group at 10 Downing Street

Source: Alice Hodgson / No 10 Downing Street

Members of the ‘Buy Women Built’ group outside 10 Downing Street

I recently found myself at a special event at No 10 Downing Street, along with around 100 other founders, who were there to celebrate businesses built by women.

Every business there had committed to adding the ‘Buy Women Built’ kitemark to their product packaging. It got me thinking about how SMEs can best use their packaging real estate to showcase the things they want to shout about.

We now live in a world where the consumer wants to understand who they are buying from. They want to understand the values and ethics of a brand, and if they align with their own.

It’s brilliantly simple to be able to communicate on our packaging that we are a women-built business. Why has it never been done before? Growing up, if you’d asked me to name a famous businessperson or entrepreneur, I would have said Alan Sugar, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg or perhaps even Steve Jobs. As it turns out, I was not alone. Eighty-one per cent of 11 to 18-year-olds are still unable to name one single female entrepreneur.

Thankfully, I can report progress is being made. Several years ago, I was invited to be one of the first 20 founding members of a very special community called ‘Buy Women Built’ – the group behind the packaging kitemark.

Over the past three years, the group has significantly grown its community to number well over a thousand members, making important headway in their mission to shine a spotlight on female-run businesses. Its mantra is simple: “Not everyone can invest in female founders. Not everyone can mentor female founders. But we can all buy from them.”

Recently, efforts have also been made by retailers to use their own ‘real estate’ to increase the visibility of women-built brands.

Take Whole Foods Market, for instance. Earlier this year, it completely transformed seven of its London store front windows to create an eye-catching display of Buy Women Built brands. Shortly thereafter, Ocado showcased a virtual ‘female founders’ aisle’ on its website.

So outside of flavours, serve or product usage, what are the most important aspects of your brand that you want to communicate? Identify those attributes and make sure they take pride of place on your packaging.