My best friend, Claire and I began BabyFace last April and like all good things, the project was largely born out of frustration. We're both young women fighting for a voice in the din of creative London. We stand at intimidating 5ft2 and we're inclined to wear lots of fluffy things and clogs but we were growing tired of being consistently underestimated. Yes it's flattering to be ID'd at a club-door and newsagent counter, but outside of Friday night, consistently being reminded of your youthful looks can be a little irksome (bare with us) especially if that place is the office and you're female.
Having both graduated from Sussex University and gained jobs within the fashion industry we subsequently moved into a hovel in East London together. Finding ourselves frequently disgusted as we were by our own hallway/bathroom/living room we'd catch the double decker from Kingsland Road all the way out to the suburbs to visit my mum. During those long journeys, feet up on the top deck, we'd put the world to rights; riffing about the challenges and satisfactions of being a twenty something year old woman living in a big city. One topic of conversation that always came out of our philosophising was the overwhelming amount of creative and industrious young women surrounding us- maybe they'd started their own PR agency, their own jewellery line or maybe they'd begun tattooing their own illustrations on people and we'd seen them shouting about it on Facebook or via their Instagram. Not all of them were on first name terms with us. We were used to seeing girls across sticky dance floors whose mix-tape we'd loved or women that we'd pass on the street only to silently acknowledge the piece she'd written on that musician we'd had on repeat or quietly whisper to one another 'that's the girl who put that photography exhibition together'. It was one of those conversations that birthed BabyFace. Don't get us wrong, we love an Instagram stalk ourselves, but we'd noticed that girls, by no fault of their own, rarely approach one another, come clean and say 'I loved that work you did'. So we decided to facilitate that pat on the back and make things easy for everyone.
Sure that other girls around us were tired of being underestimated too we set out to create a platform to celebrate femininity and creativity - because quite frankly, we were drowning in it. Why shouldn't there be a sweet little spot for girls doing their thing that was cooler than LinkedIn and more career-focused than Instagram? Why isn't there a place for girls to shout about their work online? And so we began. Each girl was to have a profile: we'd interview her, she'd answer a series of questions and she'd provide a baby picture. Keen to stay true to our principal of authentic networking (ever been endorsed for your blogging skills by a total stranger? Us too) each girl had to recommend another woman she wanted to elect, and always give a reason why. The reasons are always unanimously along the lines of 'because I love her and she's a boss' and it's that sisterly love and appreciation that's continued to propel us forward.
Part of the joy of working on BabyFace, is that mine and Claire's working processes couldn't be more different. Claire will remember a face she's met five years ago in a badly lit bar, can spot a typo from a hundred yards and if asked will recall what I ate last Tuesday for breakfast. I'm not nearly so together. I'm more likely to be found covered in crumbs listening to Drake and furiously typing- but, it does work. Now, things have developed further. Right now,we function as a creative agency; we bring girls together on collaborative projects, shoot editorials and work with brands and girls that we love, always using our in-house teams from within the BabyFace collective. We write too, about everything from club-night recommendations (we're out a lot) to our regular feature, 'Baby Mamas' where we invite a mother, whose career we admire, to impart her well earned advice on to us. We spend most weekends and 'school-nights' holed up in our local, Bardens, who very patiently supply us with bar snacks and Earl Grey, with our laptops open and our phones-in-hand. BabyFace has allowed us to make some great friends and that heart-in-mouth moment when we discover new girls doesn't get any less exciting, and neither does working with Claire.
We have big plans for the future; pop-ups, dinners, parties, workshops, exhibitions and lots more collaborations. There was even talk of setting up a BabyBoy branch- don't get us wrong we're staunch feminists but we're most certainly not separatist and we'd love to be working with some of the boys that surround and motivate us daily. We're also chomping at the bit to chat to girls working in more male-dominated fields like medicine and technology and we want to cast our already global net, wider, but whenever I'm asked where I see the business going, I don't get too bogged down with schedules and plans, I just always reply, 'to carry on working with women who inspire us.'