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How to Build A Feminist Fashion House: Black & Beech

Black & Beech Founder Stacey Cant-Graham

What does it take to build an award-winning feminist fashion house?

Stacey Grant Black & Beech Founder

You might know Black and Beech because of their iconic Feminist Pyjamas, or have seen them on Instagram as part of our recent Christmas Giveaway. Founder, Stacey Grant-Canham is the powerhouse and fashion designer behind the brand. With a background in Fashion Design and a decade of experience in lecturing on fashion, we sat down with Stacey to chat about all things entrepreneurship, politics, women in business and of course periods! We hope you enjoy it.

Hi Stacey! You launched Black & Beech in 2016. Had you been planning the launch for a long time or was it an inspired moment that year? 

Very much a moment of inspiration! I had a lovely little baby boy, Clement, and I saw pals at yoga wearing teething jewellery which their babies played with whilst boobing and I thought they were great, but visually not my vibe. So I created some in line with my more monochrome aesthetic made from black silicone and wooden beads, and Black & Beech was born.

Politics and social movements have had a big impact on your brand and designs, are there any particular movements, or people that have inspired you?

Well, a year after I started with the necklaces and was very much in the baby space, Brexit happened. I ironically pulled an all nighter in Ireland next to my son sleeping peacefully,  we had brought the baby home to meet family and wept in the morning when it was a done deal. 

Vivienne Westwood

Trump becoming president and the iconic Repeal movement at home in Ireland were swirling in my mind. I had seen protest signs saying ‘ A

woman's place is in the resistance ‘ but not, mothers. So I played around with this and my first garments came to life, aligned to abortion rights. I am interested in the rub between feminism and motherhood and I want to shine a light on mothers who are feminists and how that plays out for us. 

I guess I have always loved fashion that tells a story and is meaningful, and that inspires me. It could be Dame Viv, or Martin Margelia for high fashion, but also Patagonia and Hiut denim for having principles. 

You were a Finalise in the coveted Female Founder Category of the Independent Awards- Congrats!- Why do you think we still need categories like this for female founders?

Well, every now and then I wonder the same. And then I read the stats from Holly & Co (founders of the independent awards) and I get it. Women need to be showcased and platformed. In particular the statistics around investment are devastating for women, particularly black women and this needs to change. 

For any budding entrepreneurs out there, what are your three top tips for starting your own business?

Consider how you will build your audience and community. I see a lot of talented people making beautiful things but they don't have eyes on their lovely things. 

Create the best product you can. Making “stuff” comes with a responsibility. Try your best to make it long lasting and beautiful. 

Be brave. The love, passion and care you have for your dream can not be replicated by huge brands. Lean into it. 

What are your favourite products from your own collection, and why? Don't be shy! We love it when founders share their passion for their products...

HA!! My feminist gloves are very special to me because I had the idea many

Feminist Gloves Black & Beech years before I made them, I had to lean into my idea and take a big risk to step into manufacturing from scratch and reaching the minimums of lovely factories we work with. They sold out on launch and have been worn by some badass ladies! 

My LES tee. A slogan I was CHUFFED to come up with and then discover was doing the rounds with french feminists for the last 50 years. Often copied but never equaled!

My Do No Harm cardigan. Again, sells out season after season and I love how powerful it is. 

What's next for you and Black & Beech?

Well, I recently resigned from teaching Fashion after 11 years to go all in on B&B so its all about growing the business to sustain myself and my family now. I want to expand into more manufactured lovelies like dresses, and I dream of making an Irish made jumper! 

Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom and experience, Stacey. 

You can check out the Black and Beech store here! PLUS WUKA customers can get a cheeky 15% off their first order with WUKAWUKA  code - check it out!