This post was sponsored by My Made in Box. I receive no editorial direction, and all opinions are my own.
2018 is already shaping up to be an interesting year for those of us who identify as women. This year marks a century since the first women in the UK gained the right to vote and, even though you had to be over 30 and meet certain property qualifications which left a huge amount of women out, that anniversary still means something to many across the world. In this year of the suffrage centenary, I’m hopeful that the inclusivity of the moment is growing. It’s encouraging to see a campaign such as Times Up not just focusing on women in Hollywood, but also using funds to defend women in a wide variety of industries like agriculture, manufacturing and the domestic field, and give voices to marginalised individuals such as immigrant women, disabled women, LGBTQ women and women of colour, who are so often ignored and overlooked.
‘Yay! We’ve won the year! And it only took 2018 attempts against only one opponent… It seems like giving birth to literally everyone since the dawn of time has finally paid off.’
But at the same time, CNN has a point. They describe women as engaged, energised and more determined that they’ve ever been. Issues that women have been dealing with for years are becoming public and refusing to go away, and women are beginning to speak louder to demand change. We don’t just see this in the Me Too and Times Up Movements (although I would be inclined to see both as pivotal points in a shift in culture), but in politics too. In the UK a Centenary Action group has been set up: made up of a coalition of charities, women’s NGOs and political parties, the group encourages parliament to work for improvement in areas such as women in politics and leadership, violence and abuse towards women (including labelling misogyny a hate crime) and economic inequalities that affect women.
Overall, we still have a long way to go, but little by little I feel like I’m seeing more of these shifts of tone and awareness, and it gives me hope that the seeds planted now can do nothing except grow. Women aren’t going to quiet down, and we aren’t going to go away.
If you didn’t know, this isn’t the first time I’ve written about My Made In Box. Every two months they deliver a box of beautiful ethically handmade items from a different part of the world to your doorstep, allowing you to connect with other cultures and their native creators. Customers can choose a bi-monthly, six months or one year subscription, and for each box the team choose a location then source five handmade items from local makers in the area, including the story behind the products and a lifestyle city guide in each box. Each item’s sustainable and design credentials have to be rooted in authenticity, craftsmanship and transparency.
If you hadn’t already guessed, their newest box is French themed. This time of year does give us Valentine’s day (more on that here), so it was an obvious choice to go for the most romantic country on earth. But, as March also brings us International Women’s Day, Mother’s Day and the beginnings of Spring and new life, My Made In Box decided it was the perfect time to put the spotlight on women. And there aren’t many things I love more than supporting women-led businesses. The goodies in this box hail from the finest female creators from the likes of Brittany, Paris, Avignon and Marseille. Ooh la la!
So what’s inside?
As always, each box comes with five items that have been handmade with love. I’m particularly excited about the contents of this one:
Le Boudoir d’Heloise French Bow
Hailing from a small, one woman business in Brittany, these bows are handmade with delicate and recycled materials, adding a unique twist to any day to day outfit as they come with a handy clip on the back. This one, in classic French colours, is oh so cute and adds that perfect Parisienne feel to any item. Top tip from the MMIB team – this is perfect to attach to an open back dress to hide a bra!
Les Petits Prodiges Natural Balm
Created by school friends Camille & Clémentine and made in France with only seven ingredients, this multipurpose balm is ideal for nourishing, protecting and softening skin. You can use it as a day/night cream, lip balm, make up remover, aftersun, beard balm, make up remover, on dry and irritated skin… and so many more ways! It’s paraben free, preservative free, cruelty free (although not vegan) and fragrance free. As someone who travels a lot and tries to keep a pretty minimal care routine I am so excited about this. Taking one item with multiple functions is my dream scenario for keeping my luggage light and my life less cluttered. Multiple uses all in one lil pot? I’m sold.
Lolita Picco Postcard
This sweet and playful postcard was illustrated in Marseille by Lolita Picco, a female freelance illustrator since 2009. Picco’s brand aims to bring a smile to anyone’s face, mixing nostalgic iconography, modern references and a sprinkle of tongue in cheek humour. Her mantra is simple: do good and don’t take yourself too seriously. Since discovering her through this box I’ll be the first to admit I’m a little bit obsessed with her aesthetic.
La Manufacture du Siecle Magic Soap
This is a genuine zero waste soap! So many times I’ve tried to find a soap bar only to find it wrapped in plastic, but not this lil guy, it comes packaged in a cardboard box only. With ingredients sourced from local french businesses only, this natural soap is handmade using the cold press method, indulging the senses and leaving skin soft and nourished. This soap features shea butter and sweet orange oil and, while not vegan, it does source from small sustainable farms; this one specifically sourcing from a farm in a small village in the Hautes-Alpes, at the foot of the mountains. Aside from working well as a soap it also smells amazing, myself and Gianna both stopped for a little sniff while we were taking photos.
Plum Jewellery Minimalist Boho Bracelet
This beautiful dainty bangle is handmade in Paris with pearls, a golden star and an organic cotton tassle to add a subtle touch of personality while still keeping things super sweet and minimal. I don’t wear as many bracelets as I would like because I so often feel weighed down by them, so I am in love with how light and fun this is, whilst still staying modern, feminine and highly versatile. Even though it seems simple, it’s really stunning in person. I’m going to be wearing this a whole lot from here on out.
Each of the items in this My Made In Box have a beautiful authenticity and intentionality to them. Not only do they bring a real flavour of French craftsmanship, but I think they also encompass the variety of women who created them. They’re of course beautiful, but they’re also funny, smart, and expertly and precisely created. They’re full of delicacy, detail and strength. It’s nice to support female enterprise and economics, but it’s also nice to see women harness their power of creativity to create such a lovely variety of items. Each of these treats are genuinely useful to me, but more than that, they’re steeped with a sense of the power, integrity and love that went into them.
Photos by Gianna Scavo.