The Incredible Women of Digbeth’s Independents

Guest post by Bread Birmingham Ltd

Yesterday was International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the triumphs and highlight the struggles of women and female presenting people worldwide. Women in cities far and wide are championing change and bringing success to themselves and those around them, with this year’s theme being ‘press for progress’.

Inspired by this Bread Birmingham, a new PR, Events & Creative Agency in Digbeth have highlighted some of the fantastic women in this area.

Digbeth is heralded as the creative heart of Birmingham, brimming with exciting start-ups, entertainment, food and drink businesses and of course, independent businesses. The women of Digbeth are incredibly hard-working, talented and inspirational. Here is just a small selection of these women.

Rachael Kelly

Rachael is the Events and Business Development Manager of street food venture Digbeth Dining Club. The award-winning street-food festival and events company has recently opened a 1920’s themed cocktail bar Cafe Colette and has a plethora of events coming soon involving other Birmingham businesses.

According to Rachael, Digbeth is “a melting pot of strong personalities”. She added: “Digbeth is no different to the rest of world. Inequality is real, and the pay gap is real. That said, I feel like an absolute equal in B9.”

Her advice for women looking to break into the industry is to “find what makes you tick and chase it to death. It’s ok to get things wrong, it’s ok to make mistakes! Keep learning, keep improving.

Don’t ever wait for someone to open a door, open it yourself. Create your own opportunities.

Aliyah Hasinah

Aliyah Hasinah is a freelance curator and poet, currently producer for Apples and Snakes. She champions the voice of poets across the region and populates cities in the Midlands with poetic activity and support. Aliyah is based at the Impact Hub and is currently working on an event at The Birmingham Hippodrome called Hit the Ode, a chance to bring international poets and spoken word artists to Brum.

Aliyah said:

Women have been innovating, collaborating and building incredible structures and spaces in Digbeth. I love the vibrancy and energy that women have brought, as always the future is ours.

Aliyah is inspired by Patrisse Khan Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter. “I’m currently reading her book is a testament of the strength and emotional labour that women have always dealt with to help uplift and support their communities.” Aliyah’s list of inspirations is endless and there is “no limit to the power of women and Brummie women are taking on the world unapologetically.”

Kay Fisher

Kay Fisher is the curator and director of both Digbeth Arts Market and Koo Arts. Kay ditched her 9-5 to pursue art, creating Digbeth Arts Market to mentor and showcase Birmingham artists in a market with reach across the midlands.

Kay says her main inspiration is her mother. “Not because she was famous, she was not always good. But she was very loud and proud woman who was always hard working. She loved people, loved life and that’s what inspires me and my daughter to be proud women.

We need to be proud of ourselves and shout about all the amazing things women do every day.

Mazzy Snape

Mazzy is Company Director of Bread Birmingham Ltd. A specialist PR, Events and Creative Agency in Zellig, Digbeth.

Mazzy puts her success down to “working hard on things that I’m passionate about like art and music, good food and drink and promoting good things in Birmingham.”

Women that inspire me are always headstrong and determined, I admire a lot of women but especially Lauren Laverne from 6 Music and more locally, Malala Yousafzai.

Jo Salmon

Jo Salmon is Head of Estates for The Custard Factory, Fazeley Studios and a 15-acre estate of Digbeth. She puts her journey down to “hard work and commitment”, however added that “Digbeth is becoming a more inclusive community for women with networking events – the first being on International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Day for Jo is a chance to celebrate all aspects of being a woman. “I am a chartered surveyor, which is tragically underrepresented by women! We are pretty amazing – we can grow children, run a home and have a demanding job too! It’s hard and tiring, but isn’t it fabulous to lead a full life?”

Jo’s advice is for women to support each other as sisters –

Sometimes women can be hard on each other, let’s try and see every new woman we meet as a friend in waiting.

Jessie Scutts

Jessie is an Assistant Manager at The Night Owl – a soul and retro nightclub and live music venue.

Working her way up the ladder through various clubs and bars in Birmingham with a passion for music, great customers service and drinks!

My biggest inspiration is the manager of The Night Owl Clare. She gave me my first big break with running my own cocktail bar and since then has pushed me to be the best I can possibly can be!

Amelia Carter

Amelia Carter is the Front of House manager of Kanteen. A place serving feel good food and coffee that’s always full of life in the heart of Digbeth.

Hard work and determination has got Amelia to where she is now, managing a bustling eatery alongside quirky events. She put her inspiration down to her mother: “She’s the strongest person I know” adding “women who support other women are heroes!”

Rebecca Chitty

Rebecca Chitty left a life in law to take the plunge and open her own business. In 2011, Rebecca’s business existed out of her bedroom. Fast forward to 2018, Rebecca has two studios and a store in The Custard Factory serving Digbeth delicious, handmade cakes and hot treats at Chitty’s Cakes.

Rebecca is inspired by “any woman who has started their own business and made it a success” just like her! She added” I have even more admiration for those who have managed to do it and bring children into the world!”

For those looking to start a business, Rebecca’s advice is to

research is carefully and then just go for it. You regret the things you don’t do in life far more than the things you do.

Rachael Condron

Rachael Condron is the supervisor to one of the many hot-spots of Digbeth. The Mockingbird Cinema and Kitchen is Digbeth’s independently run cinema, hosting curated events alongside specially selected cocktails and food.

She puts her success down to “hard work, determination and gritted teeth” – persevering through a male dominated area. “I’m seeing a lot more women coming through, I’d love to see even more!”

She added:

Being a woman, some people may confuse power and professionalism with bossiness. Be ready for those comments.

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