Women In Business For International Women’s Day

 In Inspiration

On Friday 8th March, we celebrate International Women’s Day. So in honour of brilliant female business owners and managers across Oxford and Oxfordshire, we’re celebrating the women behind some of your favourite local independent businesses, with the hope that it inspires you to follow your dreams to start your own business as well as support those already on their indie journeys. >>

Independent Oxford
Image by Philippa James Photography

Victoria Borondo Co-Owner of 2 North Parade

Opened in September 2013 2 North Parade is a neighbourhood produce store run by Peter Slade and Victoria Borondo. They work closely with local farmers, producers and suppliers who focus on the quality, integrity and provenance of their produce. They’ll give you recipe ideas and guide you through their changing seasonal stock.

2 North Parade Oxford

Amy Surman Owner of Amy Surman: The Oxford Bead Shop

Amy runs a lovely friendly store tucked at the top of Cowley Road selling a fantastic array of jewellery making supplies. Amy also holds regular workshops from silver smithing to beaded jewellery for beginners as well as skilled jewellers. It’s perfect for Hen parties. There are also some lovely handmade pieces on sale too as well as a bespoke service available for wedding jewellery and personalisation.

Amy Surman Oxford

Annie Sloan Owner of The Annie Sloan Shop

Annie’s gorgeous shop sells a wonderful range of up-cycled furniture and Annie Sloan fabrics as well as gorgeous home wares and gifts. Workshops in paint techniques are also run from the shop by the wonderful store team Lucy, Bee, Cal & Katie.

Annie Sloan Oxford

Miri Allen Co-Owner of Babylon Trading

Miri founded Babylon 10 years ago, after working as a buyer in the Gift & Home industry for 20 years. She felt the retail offer in most of our High Streets is restricted to big chains offering the ‘same old’ in most places, effectively creating ‘Clone Towns’.  Babylon was founded to create an eclectic Home, Gift & Lifestyle offer that tries to make a point of difference on the High Street, drawing products from small scale designers and makers that are not represented by the multinationals.

babylon trading Oxford

Emily Jones Owner of Barefoot Oxford

Emily’s gorgeous cafes in Jericho & Woodstock serve locally roasted coffee & the most beautiful homemade cakes, including Emily’s famous salted caramel brownies.

The cafes is light and bright, with cute details such as colourful tea pots and seasonal flowers. The window display is a feast for the eyes, and laden with tantilising treats, including vegan and flourless cakes, all decorated in Barefoot’s signature sumptuous style.

Barefoot Oxford

Jane Gandon Owner of Bicycle Blooms

Bicycle Blooms is a beautiful artisan flower shop on Magdalen Road, where Jane creates bespoke bouquets for all occasions. Her emphasis is on seasonal flowers, seed heads, berries and foliage that reflect the year, as well as super cool house plants.

Bicycle Blooms Oxford

Jess McHugh Owner of Browns Guest House & Silvie

Whether you’re working, on a city break, or in Oxford visiting friends and family, this modern update of the British Guest House is the perfect base. Browns has 11 unique bedrooms which come with a fresh mix of antique and retro furniture; each fitted out with a mixture of stylish design pieces, locally roasted coffee, handmade artisan soaps and modern art prints.

Silvie serves breakfast and lunch daily as well as offering an order service on breads and bakes. Silvie also hosts events, workshops, classes and exhibitions. The bakery café also retails and supports local producers, as well as supporting community organisations and groups.

Silvie Oxford

Milly Barr Owner of Colombia Coffee Roasters

Colombia Coffee Roasters is a speciality, single-origin coffee roasters born and based in Oxford (UK). Milly is part of a generation of coffee growers in Colombia with a strong focus on delivering high-quality coffee and education, whilst supporting Fair Trade conditions to ensure her coffee is sustainable and ethical.

The coffee beans come from her family farm and neighbouring small coffee farms so she can trace the origins of every bean. As soon as the beans arrive they are roasted immediately and delivered, fresh and bursting with taste, to customers within three days.

Colombia Coffee Roasters Oxford

Nicole Crawford Owner of The Cosmic Cake Company

Nicole’s business, The Cosmic Cake Company specialises in raw vegan cakes. Always made with 100% natural plant based-ingredients, she create desserts that are nutritionally rich without compromising on taste. Her yummy treats are made without dairy, gluten or refined sugar. She makes special celebration cakes, as well as supplying cafes around Oxford.

The Cosmic Cake Company Oxford

Fiona Cranston Owner of Cranston Pickles

Fiona makes home made, locally sourced pickled fruit & vegetables alongside free range pickled eggs. All her ingredients are sourced locally from farms and markets around Oxfordshire. Alongside the tasty pickles, Fiona also holds Supper Clubs, as well as serving pickled street food out of her pickle van! Her pickles are currently stocked in a number of pubs, restaurants and cafes around Oxfordshire, as well as being stocked in local farm shops and delis.

Cranston Pickles Oxford

Lucy Askew Chief Executive & Charlie Morley General Manager at Creation Theatre

Creation Theatre creates exciting, ground-breaking productions of classic texts in unusual locations across Oxford. From Blackwell’s Bookshop to Oxford Castle, Peter Pan to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, they see stories in new ways.

Creation Theatre Oxford

Jo Hunt & Sarah Taylor Owners of Eagle Vintage

Eagle Vintage is a vintage clothing store based in Jericho, promoting sustainable fashion at affordable prices. Sarah & Jo stock male and female clothing and hand pick all their items to ensure quality and variety.

Eagle Vintage Oxford

Mieko Galpin Co-Owner of Edamame

Mieko and her husband Peter opened Edamame over 20 years ago on Holywell Street in Oxford. Edamame is a small, family run eatery that serves truly authentic and freshly prepared Japanese home-cooking (and sushi) in an informal and inviting setting. They operate three different menus that follow a weekly schedule so their food and its preparation can be as fresh as possible.

Edamame Oxford

Katie Gordon Owner of Everybody Studio

Everybody Studio are a small, supportive, non judgmental space for yoga, Pilates, barre and holistic therapies.

Everybody Studio Oxford

Harriet Coleridge Owner of the Ewelme Pottery

The Ewelme Pottery was started in 2001 by potter Harriet Coleridge. She makes a wide range of ceramics for the house and garden.

Pots are made of Limoges porcelain, thrown on the wheel, glazed with a variety of carbon trap shinos, decorated with wax, sang de boeuf and sprinklings of rose ash, ferociously reduced in a gas kiln. Gold lustre is applied (sparingly) by brush and fired on at a lower temperature.

Harriet Coleridge Potter

Daniella Cromwell Store Manager & Feng Ho Marketing Manager at Fairtrade At St Michaels

Fairtrade at St Michaels was the first shop in Oxford to offer a high quality range of fairly traded goods from across the globe, safe in the knowledge that our friends in the developing world are being advantaged and the environment is being honoured. They also pride themselves on great customer service and on being kind to the planet.

Fairtrade St Michaels Oxford

Eleanor Winn Owner of Freestyle Textiles

Freestyle textiles was set up to celebrate an art form that is thousands of years old yet has a fresh new perspective to offer. Freestyle Textiles exist to promote textile art to bring the work of the UK’s foremost textile artists to the viewing public with exhibitions and share skills and techniques in ‘Draw with Stitch’ workshops so that people can discover the joy of creating their own work.

Freestyle Textiles Oxford

Angela Carroll Owner of Fresh Clothing

Angela first opened Fresh in 2000 with a collection of feminine, vintage inspired clothing, jewellery and accessories.  Since relocating to a larger store in The Covered Market, Fresh has continued to concentrate on niche British designers.  Fresh has a unique mix with many ranges exclusive to the Oxford store, including British made knitwear.

Fresh Clothing Oxford

Kate Hamblin Co-Owner of Hamblin Bread

Kate makes bread from stone ground British flour, water and salt, and use locally grown grain wherever possible. Kate & Hugo also sell house-made preserves, cheese from Neal’s Yard, provisions and a small selection of natural wines, ciders and beer. Their cafe serves breakfast, lunch and filter coffee. The open space allows you to observe all the action of the on-site bakery. On Sundays Kate & Hugo make pizza to order. They also run baking workshops and host regular evening events. They love talking about baking, so please get in touch or stop by the shop.

Hamblin Bread Oxford
Kate Hamblin far right

Celine Wills Co-Owner of The Handle Bar Cafe & Kitchen

Celine has worked in the industry in Oxford for about 18 years, and comes from a family where everything is grown at home.

The Handle Bar Cafe & Kitchen serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, all made with love and carefully sourced ingredients from local independent suppliers. They also always have exciting vegan, vegetarian and gluten free dishes on the menu. Also check out Celine’s newer projects, Le Bar under the Handle Bar Cafe, BRICK at Modern Art Oxford and Handle Bar 39 on Magdalen Road.

Handle Bar Oxford

Julia Atkinson Owner of Happy Cakes

Since 2009 Happy Cakes have been making thousands of cupcakes with fun and love! Each cake is lovingly hand crafted in Julia’s Summertown kitchen using the finest ingredients available. No two orders are the same – she prides herself on innovative design as well as delicious cakes. She can cope with large orders for logo cupcakes and love a cute bespoke small order.

Happy Cakes’ manifesto is to make life a little bit more delicious and a lot more fun!

Happy Cakes Oxford

Gillian MacDonald Owner of The Hat Box

Gillian stocks a huge range of ladies hats and fascinators in over 100 colours, as well as stocking men’s hats and caps including top hats and bowlers from her super cute shop in The Covered Market.

The Hat Box Oxford

Laura Hancock Manager of Healthy Oxford

Healthy Oxford is a peaceful therapy room in the heart of Jericho offering a range of restorative, nurturing and transformative alternative practices and treatments to the local community, including Ayurvedic Massage Therapy provided by Laura.

Healthy Oxford

Hilal Johnson Owner of Hilly Jo

Hilly sources the highest quality in Turkish beachwear and lifestyle products. She carefully selects products from artisan producers amongst Turkish villages to bring you individuality and long lasting authentic Turkish textiles.

Hilly Jo Oxford

Emily Stewart Owner of Horsebox Coffee

Horsebox Coffee Co. is a small, independent coffee roastery based on a quiet working farm in South Oxfordshire. Emily’s trusty old Horsebox has been converted into a mobile coffee bar which you can find at events across the county.

Horsebox Coffee Oxford

Sarah Wearden Co-Owner of Indigo

Indigo was opened by Sarah and her partner Josh in 2008. Their mission is to support small producers and suppliers, and offer something different to their beloved Oxford community and earn an honest crust along the way.

Indigo Oxford

Ruth Dorso Co-Owner of The Jericho Cafe

Whether it’s excellent coffee you want, a full English breakfast, a light healthy lunch, tea and a (large!) slice of home-made cake, or a full evening meal after a film at the independent cinema across the street- they’ve got it covered.

The Jericho Cafe Oxford

Anna Proctor Owner of Jericho Design House

Anna fell in love with textiles while studying for her A Levels and has worked for retailers such as Oliver Bonas & Anthropologie.

Anna takes inspiration wherever and whenever it strikes, and is always photographing beautiful things; be it nature, clothing or art. The patterns are designed with her home in mind and she has created 4 collections; Ornate, Playful, Tonal and Fresh, to create different looks for each space in your home from the garden through to kids rooms.

Jericho Design House Oxford

Suné Markowitz-Shulman Owner of the Kitchen Table Coach

Kitchen Table Coach, Suné Markowitz-Schulman, helps women over 40 with intelligent weight-loss and body confidence in three steps. Suné offers bespoke one:one coaching packages, 6-week group programs as well as 28 day online programs. She’s also available to speak at your company, event or school and can host healthy cooking and mindful eating workshops on request.

Sune Markowitz-Shulman

Nitzan Winograd Co-Founder of Linden Chocolate Lab

Linden Chocolate was founded by Nitzan Winograd & Yatir Linden in 2018.

They aim to take the cacao to its origin and to create a new type of chocolate bar where pure pleasure fuse together with healthier benefits.

They create chocolate bars with significantly less sugar and the right level of sweetness interweaving with unique taste profiles.

Linden Chocolate Lab

Molly Stevenson Owner of Littlemore Candle Company

Molly creates soy wax candles, hand poured in small batches, using natural essential oils. Each unique candle is decorated with botanicals and includes a healing crystal for you to keep, creating a little more than a candle.

Littlemore candle company Oxford

Flo Fowler Co-Owner of Magdalen Arms

The Magdalen Arms is a great gastro pub in the heart of East Oxford opened by Flo & her husband Tony in 2009. The pub has a large dining room and daily changing menu, and as well a great bar area where you can relax with friends and order food at the bar. The outside area is perfect for catching the last rays of sun in the evening.

The Magdalen Arms Oxford

Vicky Troth Co-Founder of The Missing Bean

The Missing Bean was founded by Ori and Vicky in 2009 to establish a speciality coffee scene in the heart of Oxford. After discovering the laid back espresso bars and cafés that they had grown to love, while studying in Australia, were non-existent in the city they decided to set up their own.

Five years later, with a reputation for excellent coffee, sustainable production and a friendly relaxed atmosphere, they set up their own roastery in East Oxford, where they carefully source beans from around the world that they roast and sell as single origin or in a variety of blends.

Today, they are proud to be part of Oxford’s ever-growing coffee scene.

The Missing Bean Oxford

Melissa Sharp Co-Founder of Modern Baker

Modern Baker is the UK’s first healthy baking brand, born from co-founder Melissa Sharp’s own journey to health when diagnosed with cancer in 2010. With a range of organic, sourdough breads, cakes and biscuits recently launched through food retailers. Science is at the heart of the ‘healthy’ … as is ‘delicious’. At Modern Baker, they’re a little obsessive about good provenance, nutritional benefit and great taste. Combining all three creates food that excites your taste buds and, best of all, is actively good for your body.

Modern Baker Oxford

Natasha Denness Owner of Natasha Denness Coaching

Natasha is a creative business coach who helps business owners and freelancers achieve their personal and professional goals. For further information, coaching packages and client testimonials, please head over to her website, where you can book a free 30-minute no obligation introductory call.

Natasha Denness Coaching Oxford

Sam Mellish Owner of Next To Nothing

Sam’s shop in The Covered Market is a bright inviting shop selling beautiful clothing and accessories. The ranges she sources from Seasalt, Adini, Masai, Cut Loose, Nomads and Thought, always come in wonderful colourful fabrics which are often organic and some are fair trade.

Next To Nothing Oxford

Hazel Dexter Owner of Objects Of Use

Objects of Use is a modern-day hardware store, home to a unique selection of everyday household tools, conscientiously sourced from around the globe. Their collection brings together centuries of tradition, passed through the hands and minds of generations, whose processes and techniques have culminated in the production of beautiful tools made with practiced skill, using low-impact methods and materials.

Objects of Use Oxford

Ladd Thurston Co-Owner of Oli’s Thai

You can book in advance or turn up at opening time and grab a spot at the bar. This restaurant certainly lives up to the hype, and delivers exceptional food produced by Ladd who uses her family recipes to create delicious dishes such as Aubergine Thai Curry, Lemongrass Mieng, tamarind sweet and savoury Chickpeas and Confit Duck Panang.

Oli's Thai Oxford

Ann Whorall Owner of Olivia May

Ann has spent years of styling private clients and time sourcing international designers that created elements of difference through unconventional designs or unique high-quality fabrics. It was this, along with a strong passion for the creativity within clothing that spearhead the launch and brand of Olivia May – a multiple designer clothing retailer.
Named Olivia May, after her youngest daughter ‘Olivia’ who was born in the month of ‘May’ the unique model offers effortless fashion for the contemporary women.
Olivia May Oxford

Joy Hetherington Owner of Oxford Aromatics

Oxford Aromatics is an independent Oxford-based company that sells a variety of fabulously aromatic products. Joy opened the store in Oxford’s historic Covered Market in 2008, establishing a reputation for selling quality, reasonably-priced products.

Nicole Rahimi Owner of Oxford Christmas Market

With the sound of choirs singing Christmas carols, market traders offering unusual and handmade gifts, colourful decorations brightening wooden stalls and the aroma of mulled wine and cinnamon drifting in the air – a visit to the annual Oxford Christmas Market is a truly magical Christmas experience. Est. in 2009 by Nicole Rahimi, the event has become a firm Christmas tradition in Oxford.

Oxford Christmas Market

Karen Draisey Owner of Oxford Yarn Store

Karen opened Oxford Yarn Store in December 2012 and has created a thriving hub for knitters and crocheters of all abilities and backgrounds. She offers a welcoming environment and support with projects and in creative decision-making. Her ethos is to promote the pleasure and creativity of knitting, crochet and other fibre crafts in an atmosphere of shared skills and knowledge.

Oxford Yarn Store

Sarah Lay Owner of The Oxford Yurt

Sarah’s business is best described as a hidden wild oasis, a place where you can really unwind away from the hustle and bustle of modern life without needing to travel too far. Where all your needs are catered for including delicious vegetarian food cooked on site by Sarah, unique accommodation and entertainment organised.

The Oxford Yurt

Vanessa Vaghetti Owner of Oxfordshire Living

Vanessa’s business Oxfordshire Living offers a range of apartments and houses which can be booked short term as an alternative to a hotel. Whether you are visiting Oxford for business or pleasure, you can relax and feel a part of Oxford in one of her properties in and around the city centre. From as little as two nights, you can enjoy the freedom, space and comfort associated with her serviced accommodation.

Oxfordshire Living

Judy Payne & Anna Coppock Family Owners of Payne & Son

Payne & Son is an eighth generation family business, established in 1790. Judy started working in her father’s store in 1969, and now Anna and Max, the 8th generation, also work in the shop. Payne & Son specialises in 20th century and contemporary silver, as well as modern and traditional jewellery in gold, platinum and silver.

They have an extensive ring collection featuring rare coloured stones and bespoke wedding rings, and are a major stockist of Georg Jensen.

Payne & Son Oxford
Payne & Son Oxford

Philippa James Owner of Philippa James Photography

Philippa is a photographer specialising in documenting family life and relaxed weddings. She runs a photography workshop called The Motherhood, where mums come and learn about manual mode, storytelling techniques, and documenting those honest everyday moments.

Philippa James Photography Oxford

Rachel Movitz Owner of Rachel Movitz Photography

Rachel became captivated with photography as a teenager. After university she went on an adventure across the world capturing a diverse mix of cultures with her camera, including Spain, Egypt, and Israel, East Africa, Central America, Thailand, Cambodia and India.

Rachel earnt a Masters degree at the prestigious School of Visual Arts in Manhattan before being awarded a Fulbright Travel Grant in Photography, which led her to a small town in India where she spent a year working on a documentary project.

She shot her first ever wedding in India for a dear friend.

Rachel Movitz Photography Oxford

Abi Simmons Owner of Red Hand Gang

Red Hand Gang is a small but perfectly formed children’s home decor brand. Abi designs, makes and hand screen prints a whole range of gorgeous goodies for kids rooms and it is all made in her workshop in Oxford!

My Red Hand Gang

Amanda Suliman Bell Owner of Rainbow & Spoon Boutique

Amanda has run Rainbow & Spoon on Park End Street since 1982 and is one of Oxford’s most loved boutiques. Visit her for stylish and individual clothing, gifts, jewellery, scarves and accessories and lifestyle items.

Amanda prides her store on its friendly service, fair trade credentials and affordability.

Rainbow & Spoon Oxford

Sarah Boada-Momtahan Co-Owner of Sanders of Oxford

Sanders of Oxford, situated in the 17th century Salutation Inn, is one of the largest printsellers in Britain. One of the few antiquarian print and map galleries left outside London, Sanders’ selection is extensive and varied, dating from the early 16th century to contemporary works, and encompassing a vast range of subjects, engravers, and prices. Established in 1927, Sanders of Oxford continues a tradition begun in 1834 of selling antiquarian prints, maps, and books from its historic premises. Located on Oxford’s picturesque High Street, Sanders has long been a landmark of the University City.


Sarah Wiseman Owner of Sarah Wiseman Gallery

Situated in the heart of Summertown, Sarah Wiseman Gallery is a destination for contemporary art. The gallery is the place to start an art collection, or to nurture an established one. Walking into the gallery, all visitors are greeted warmly and encouraged to browse the exhibition. Throughout the year they have regular solo and themed group exhibitions by their gallery artists so there is always something new to see on each visit. The gallery artists are all British and from across the UK.

Sarah Wiseman Gallery Oxford

Harriet Peacock Shop Manager at Shop at the Old Fire Station

Harriet curates a cheerful, cheeky and colourful lifestyle shop. The Shop at the Old Fire Station sells quirky, feelgood gifts including jewellery, homewares, textiles, prints and stationery. All the goods she sources are designed or made by UK indie designer-makers or small businesses. Plus, as part of Arts at the Old Fire Station, the money from your purchases goes back into their charity work with Crisis, providing training and volunteering opportunities for homeless people. Harriet also coordinates modern craft workshops if you fancy learning something new.

Old Fire Station Oxford

Sophie Grigson Owner of Sophie’s Cookery School

After writing about food and cookery for nearly three decades, Sophie decided to put all that information to use and started her own Cookery School. At first it was just a class here or there, but it has grown and grown. Now she has some brilliant specialist teachers so the school can cover a wide range of cuisines, including Japanese sushi, Vietnamese, Korean, Indian and even Georgian.

Sophie Grigson Cookery School Oxford

Tess & Amy Taylor, Co-Owners of Tap Social Movement

Tap Social was opened in 2016 and is a craft brewery, coffee house and community space that provides training and employment to people serving and recently released from prison sentences.

Tap Social bar Oxford

Charis Sharpe General Manager of Turl Street Kitchen

Open early ’til late, Turl Street Kitchen offers relaxed eating and drinking with a focus on local, fresh, seasonal produce and independent drinks makers. Drop in for breakfast or coffee, stay for lunch, dinner or drinks.
Located in the heart of the city of Oxford among the dreaming spires, within a stone’s throw of the Bodleian and Radcliffe Camera, local food is at their heart. Their menu changes every mealtime based on what’s best in season, the weather, the day of the week and any of those other factors that would affect what you’d cook if you were at home.
Turl street kitchen Oxford

Caroline Falce Gozzi Co-Founder of YogaVenue

Caroline is the co founder of YogaVenue, a Yoga studio in Oxford. They have over 40 classes a week for all levels and ages, and offer Hot Yoga, Power Yoga, Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin, Yin Flow, Restorative, and Hot HIIT Yoga. They also run Spiralling Crow, a Yoga teacher training school, which provides foundation Yoga teacher training in Vinyasa and Hot Yoga. Caroline and her husband Alessandro set up the studio 7 years ago and they’ve been teaching there and managing the studio ever since. 
yogavenue Oxford

Harriet McAtee CEO of Yoga Quota

Yoga Quota is a registered charity (no. 1161833) where Harriet and her team spread the benefits of yoga to vulnerable people nationwide, fully funded by their amazing studio here in Central Oxford. They teach over 30 classes a week, and work with an incredible variety of charities nationwide. They believe that the transformative effects of yoga should be accessible to everyone, everywhere.
Yoga Quota Oxford

Women make up only a third of entrepreneurs in the UK and we’d love to see that increase. Through working together and building a strong and supportive community, we hope to encourage more women to start their own businesses, and reshape the business landscape in the UK for the better.

Running your own business is certainly challenging, and a lot of hard work, but if you are prepared to put the hours in it can hugely rewarding for you and the local community.

Love, Rosie


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