international women's day: choose to challenge

For International Women’s Day 2021, the theme is 'Choose to Challenge.' and mahabis is choosing to challenge six incredibly inspiring women on the topics of embracing ambition, celebrating sisterhood and the best advice they have ever been given. women all over the world, know that mahabis celebrate you. today and every day. 

Choose to Challenge

#ChoosetoChallenge #IWD2021 


Khalia Ismain, founder of Jamii, “a marketplace, discovery platform and home for Black British creators.” 


What does International Women’s Day mean to you?


I love International Women's Day! It's so important to celebrate the achievements of women, especially in the male-dominated field of entrepreneurship. There's a real sense of camaraderie and togetherness, and so it's really one of my favourite days. 


What advice would you have for someone wanting to start their own business?


My top tip would be to follow your energy levels and don't punish yourself for being tired. I have days when I'm feeling super productive and will work a 12 hour day without thinking, but equally, sometimes it gets to 2.30 pm and I'm over it. Running a business is a long-term endeavour and so you need to go where your energy takes you to avoid burnout and preserve your mental health!

IWD Khalia Ismain
Explore Khalia's marketplace Jamii.

Becky Okell
, co-founder of Paynter Jacket, an apparel business that makes limited-edition jackets in Batches, three times a year. Newsletter subscribers can pre-order by placing a fabric deposit to save the usual speedy sell-outs.


What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

For me, International Women's Day is a recognised moment to stop, look up and take note of the amazing women around you, from the obvious powerhouses to those who quietly get on with steely determination. We should be noticing and telling each other how much we value one another more often, but if it takes IWD to pause and take note, that can only be a good thing. 


What’s been your favourite project you’ve worked on and why?


My favourite project was a Batch of jackets we made last year named Batch No.3.5. It came between our 3rd and 4th styles (hence the name) and existed to support our NHS and our factory over in Portugal. After they had been closed during the first lockdown and other brands were cancelling orders, we decided to re-make our Bill's Blue chore jacket and give 100% of profits to the Red Cross Coronavirus appeal. We teamed up with Carl Godfrey who designed the NH-YES pin badge to create the limited edition label, and within a few weeks of the idea, we'd raised over £10k for the appeal. It felt amazing and proved that small businesses can make a big difference. 


IWD Becky Okell
Support Becky's amazing brand Paynter.


Kaew Suppamas (Kay), founder at Leafage, a London-based terrarium brand that "inspires inner growth by nurturing through nature".


What does International Women’s Day mean to you?


For me, it’s the day to celebrate the importance of gender balance and all the wonderful female role models out there who are making a positive change to our communities, whether it’s big or small. 


What does embracing ambition mean to you?


Embracing ambition to me means going after your dreams and the life you envision for yourself and the people around you.


If you don’t know what it is you want to in life yet, I recommend trying out new hobbies, attending new classes and business workshops. Start small...but start today. Once you have that feeling that you are on the right path OR think you are on the right path, it is important you go after it fully even if things don’t turn out as planned. At least you are courageous to start. You either win or learn! I want to share this quote with you that embodies these ideas. I have it up on my wall at work. “If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it, and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.” - Roald Dahl

IWD Kaew Suppamas
Take a look at the work that Kaew (Kay) is doing with Leafage.

Darvina Plante
, 700HR RYT trained Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin, Mandala & Rocket Yoga teacher and founder of Cultivating Conversations, “a space created to face our challenges together. Through events, conversations, shared stories, breaking down topics critical to our social justice, and minority representation, we can grow stronger together.”  


What does International Women’s Day mean to you?


It means to celebrate women in their awesomeness! To celebrate women in tune with their power, their voices, and the beauty they nurture and create.  We are a global family of sisters who all have something unique to offer the world; our diversity, cultures, and personal histories are rich in wisdom, strength, and love.  What a gift to be a part of it all, and to rejoice in who we are.


Which women inspire you most?


The people that inspire me the most aren't celebrities, rather the people I know doing amazing work within their communities, such as Leanne Pero.  She is such an inspiration and is truly there for the people.  Leanne is a breast cancer survivor, and founder of Black Women Rising - a charity to support black women as they embark on their cancer journey and stand up for breast cancer awareness.  I had the pleasure of meeting Leanne while teaching yoga in South London.  I'm so grateful for our connection and to know such a formidable force.


What's the best advice you’ve ever received?


“Stop asking people for directions to places they’ve never been.” - American author and activist Glennon Doyle.


IWD Darvina Plante
Find out more about Yoga With Darvina


Gini Newton, co-founder at Karma Cans, a London-based food delivery company, making and delivering sustainable, healthy lunches, breakfasts and event food around the city. 


What does International Women’s Day mean to you?


International women’s day is a time of reflection for me of what we as women have achieved. But it is also a reminder of how far we still have to go. 


What’s been your biggest achievement?


Building an incredible team. Company culture is hard to create so when you get it right, nothing is a bigger achievement. 

What's the best advice you’ve ever received?

Never fear competition, competition is proof of concept, which helps change and guide public opinion on your product, in the end, it helps advance your business.

IWD Gini Newton
Check out Gini's work at Karma Cans


We couldn’t celebrate all these incredible women without mentioning one of our own. So here’s a little about Becci Hone, head of eCommerce at mahabis. Representing for all the incredible females we have in our global teams. 


What does International Women’s Day mean to you?


It’s a day to celebrate women and acknowledge all the great things we do, especially within the team at work. Personally it’s also a day to reflect the progress I’ve made both in my career and personal life. 


What motivates you?


Working as part of a high achieving team that is collaborative, supportive, creative and great fun. It’s so important to me to build great relationships with the people I work with and in turn working with a great team, motivates me everyday.


What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?


My first manager gave me the advice of being your own cheerleader. Not only in terms of never feeling frightened to use your voice but also the importance of being present and putting yourself forward.

IWD Becci Hone


thank you to the incredible women featured in this blogpost. mahabis celebrate you. and celebrate every woman on this earth. know that mahabis will forever be your cheerleader. 


  • International women's day,  Interviews