Nothing gets us more excited than a group of creatives joining forces to support women and female empowerment, so we were super thrilled when we heard about GRL PWR Gang; a cool collective of influential women in the creative industries, coming together to motivate and support the next generation of creative talent.. Here’s what happened when Debut met co-founders Kylie Griffiths and Kirsti Hadley..
Debut: We absolutely love the idea behind GRL PWR Gang, why did you feel this initiative was important?
K & K : We felt like there was a gap missing in the industry for a place where girls could come together to network and share ideas. We wanted to create a space where girls could support one another in what they are doing creatively. We also felt it was important to help the next generation of girls break into the creative industries through talks and giving them access to their predecessors.
Debut: Tell us about what Feminism means to you?
Kylie: Supporting other women, maintaining equality and being proud to be who you are.
Kirsti: Our tag line is girls helping girls and that to me is it in a nutshell.
Debut: Agreed! And speaking of feminism, growing up we were obsessed with the Spice Girls, what do you think “Girl Power” means to the younger generation today?
K & K: It’s hard to say what it means to other women as I think it’s quite a personal thing – from having GRLPWR Gang we want Girl Power to mean owning what you do, and being proud of who you are.
Debut: You’re all quite successful now, how difficult did you find it to get support while you were making the first steps in your career?
Kylie: I worked for some really inspiring ladies when I started styling and they really helped me with my career through advice, giving me opportunities and support. It’s important to ask for advice when you’re starting out and listen to the guidance you get given.
Kirsti: Firstly have a strong support network – even if it’s just one person you go to – one of my best friends and fellow GRLPWR GANG member Mairead Nash has supported me as a friend and in my business since day one and she still does now, she’s a massive inspiration, success is such a weird word through – it can be measured in so many ways and means different things to different people – being happy is what success looks like to me.
I have massive imposter syndrome – I never think my work is good enough but I think that’s what drives me, I’m a grafter and that’s what I’d recommend equally – sheer hard work. Have a strong work ethic whether you’re working in Claires Accessories (yes I did) or running your own business – put the same energy into it.
Debut: What are the top three difficulties women might face while making their debut in the creative industries, and what’s the best way they can deal with them?
K & K: We think the top three difficulties regardless of gender within the creative industries are lack of support when starting out, and guidance with how to sustain your business, from things such as doing your first invoice to your first VAT return. In my opinion the best way to deal with them is through asking for advice and guidance from people you respect and look up to in the industry. This is one thing that GRLPWR Gang hopes to address by offering real life guidance and support for those starting out.
Debut: What qualities does a girl need to be in your gang?
K & K: As a gang we are inclusive, we welcome girls from all the creative industries that are both looking for a support network and to help the next generation breaking through.
Debut: In saying that, why do you feel women are not always happy to support each other in the work place and how can we change that?
K & K : We think there is a lot of perception of competitiveness in the creative fields as a whole, partially because the jobs are hard to come by so people are scared to share their skills and knowledge. This is another reason why we started GRLPWR Gang as we wanted to try and eradicate this mindset and get girls to help other girls, therefore generating more work opportunities for one another instead of less.
Debut: What’s the toughest thing about being female in the creative industry?
K & K : We’re not sure there is one tough thing it’s just tough full stop, and having contacts is a big help which is one of the key points we are focusing on supplying the next generation with through our events
Debut: How important is it for women to understand the value of ‘self-love’?
K & K: Very! We Think it is so important to be comfortable in your own skin and be happy in who you are. It’s really easy to be negative about yourself in this day and age due to things such as social media so we think it’s important for each girl to remember the positive qualities and unique traits they have.
Debut: Why do you think female bosses or women on top are always portrayed as ‘bitches’ in the media?
K & K : We don’t believe that they “always” are – we think it’s quite an old fashioned view which is changing everyday.
Debut: What’s the nicest thing you’ve ever done for one of your friends?
Kylie: I’ve always had an open door policy to any of my friends who needed somewhere to stay, which over the years has been lots of fun! I’m really lucky to have such a supportive network of mates, and we’re always there for each other in personal dilemmas and work projects
Kirsti: Omg I have no idea – I think you’d have to ask my mates! I definitely view myself as a loyal friend though. Loyalty is hugely important to me.
Debut: Do you think as women we can have it all?
Kylie: Define “all”! I think every single woman should pursue whatever their life goals are, I know I am!
Kirsti: As a mum I struggle with this slightly. Trying to have it all can be a blessing and a curse.
I’m pretty happy with my lot as working for myself I get to choose my own hours and work around my little boy – his dad is a director so we get to go 50-50 on childcare which is ace but I also sometimes have to work till midnight which is not always ideal. It’s definitely my preference though. I always feel lucky being able to be the one waiting at the school gates.
Debut: What would you say to women that don’t like to referred to as girls?
K&K: We would ask them what they would rather be referred to as – personally it’s a term we’re comfortable with, as in the same way we would refer to male friends and colleagues as boys, it’s a colloquial term.
Debut: What is the long term goal for GRL PWR Gang?
K&K: Global domination!
Head over to grlpwrgang.co.uk to keep updated on the gangs next move!