Last Thursday Ayesha Bell (our founder and as we like to call her ‘General Boss Lady’) won young business woman of the year for the Derbyshire Times business awards!
We are soooooo proud of her and it is so well deserved, because leaving school at 16 and working your way up from shop floor to business owner in the space of just two years is not an easy task.
Having the ingenuity to move back up to the East Midlands and start her own shop up at the age of just 18 even more so. This alone, and making a go of AIRR Clothing in Wirksworth is perhaps enough, but having the vision to be able to see the fashion & clothing industry for the outdated rapacious machine that it has become in the last few decades is another thing entirely.
Ayesha saw through her dealings with the brands she stocked and the difference she saw in brands like People Tree and visits to Foundation Agency, a hub of the best up and coming ethical brands. The way brand mangers and representatives treat a small business can be quite telling, and being considerate and facilitating works both ways and directly impacts on customers.
So the 2 areas of impact are firstly human, workers rights, conditions and places of work. The second is the environment, on which the clothing industries effects are massive as fashion is the second biggest polluting industry on the planet after oil.
With these two equally important things in mind Ayesha decided that AIRR would be Fair, in all things. Fair trade, organic and ethically produced clothing stock AIRR’s shop and website. Some brands don’t yet have the Fair Trade accreditation but all hold great ethically responsible working policy which Ayesha takes the time to check and ensure that no one, nor our environment is being exploited.
As a team we benefit from Ayesha’s vision and as a community she has had a great impact too. As head of the Traders group for a few years and then just by organising events here such as the screening of The True Cost Movie in our local Northern Light Cinema. She is constantly being objective reassessing and putting customers first.
Not only this, but Ayesha has grown AIRR to move to larger presmises in year 2 and then opened a second shop in neighbouring city Derby in year 3 for a limited period and has grown her online presesence year after year (which has just also relaunched this week!) All of this, in the short space of 5 years – quite remarkable for a 23 year old!
So, a huge welcome and big cheers from us all at AIRR. We can’t wait to see what else you will accomplish in the next 5 years!