Recognising remarkable women at Festival Place on International Women’s Day

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Published on:07 MARCH 2024

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Festival Place is joining in the annual focus on the achievements of women by shining the spotlight on some of its own talented female entrepreneurs.

Today (March 8) is International Women’s Day and there are plenty of exceptional women behind the stores and restaurants at the Basingstoke shopping centre.

Determined to make a difference and put the earth first, passionate environmentalist Carlee Osundina, 24, co-owns and manages the sustainable-focused Nigerian restaurant Afrizi with her husband, Ezekiel.

They have created a positive work environment that encourages their employees to be themselves and strive to reach whatever goals they are aiming for.

Carlee was inspired by her mother and grandmother to be a strong independent woman.

"Both of them are deaf women, and I grew up watching them navigate life and overcome every obstacle,” she says.

“They showed me how to be a strong and independent woman and to try everything. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them alongside me.

“Today, women in business face societal pressures in having to choose between having a family or a career. Those who strive to balance both roles may be unfairly labelled as inadequate mothers or incapable of fully committing to their professional responsibilities, but I would always say if you have a vision, then go make it a reality. Don’t stop yourself from reaching your full potential because someone else doesn’t see what you see.

“I hope to uplift and empower my female colleagues by listening to them, providing the means to go further and encouraging them to go for whatever goal they are aiming for.”

Kimberley Franks, 34, who manages Lush Basingstoke, was inspired by her two-year-old daughter Violet to create the Wild Violet Co-Mingle body scrub, which is part of the cosmetic company’s global Mother’s Day collection.

“Fortunately, working in the cosmetics industry for a brand where women aren’t underrepresented, I have had access to development opportunities, progression and promotion on a level with other people in similar roles across the business,” says Kimberley.

“The business world is changing, but women are still often underrepresented in industries dominated by men. This can mean that access to funding is limited, or even access to something as simple as being able to share an idea.

“I hope the future of women in the workplace continues to evolve, become more inclusive, more dynamic, more celebratory. I hope that women can support each other and remove even more barriers for those that come after.”

Other businesses at Festival Place run by women include Aray Jewellery, owned by artist Mandy Stacey and her daughter, Rhiannon. Looking for something new after redundancy, Mandy turned her passion for the arts, the Art Deco movement and her background in art and design to set up her own business. Sourcing silver and gemstone jewellery and designing bespoke pieces, the mother and daughter team believe professionalism is underpinned by friendship, understanding and trust.

And at the award-winning Festival Street Kitchen, passionate foodie Danielle Menicou is one half of the talented team behind the unique street food business.

Inspired to create their eco-friendly business after travelling the world, Danielle and her husband have brought those global flavours to Basingstoke, cooking up big-pan recipes that rotate on a regular basis. The business has gone from strength to strength, and is on the move to larger premises in Festival Place.

FP Head of Marketing Emily Palmer said: “We have so many inspirational women working here, both in our retail stores and on our own management team, so here’s to celebrating all remarkable women’s achievements – today and every day!”

© Festival Place 2024