With her inaugural 'Her Stories' auction just around the corner, we met up with founder Hannah Philp at CommuneEast; to talk covens, boundaries and optimism.
What are you working on at the moment?
Her Stories, which is an appeal to benefit women and women’s charities, organised entirely by women. The main event will be the auction, but we’re also hosting an exhibition, dinner, comedy and live music.
The works have been donated by 12 artists, including Jala Wahid, Marie Jacotey and Rebecca Ackroyd; and the proceeds from the auction will be donated to three charities who provide services directly to the most vulnerable women. Young Women’s Trust, who work with young women who are economically vulnerable; Beyond the Streets, who work with women who are sexually exploited; and Solace Women’s Aid, who provide beds for women experiencing domestic abuse.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Probably my optimism.
I think that things can change for the better, and they definitely need to change for the better for women.
What’s your wardrobe strategy?
I wish I had one. Well today [having borrowed my outfit], it’s Leanne Young of CommuneEast… she’s my wardrobe strategy. And my sister, she’s really stylish, and we’re the same size, so I often call upon her. Other than that, whatever’s clean.
What does a typical day look like?
I could tell you what today was, because it’s a good example: I got up this morning and sent some emails at home, then I had meeting in Shoreditch and Peckham. I had lunch with the gallerists from Bosse & Baum, and we had lunch and talked about Her Stories. Then here, and I have another meeting after this, too. Today is busy, and a bit all over the place.
What’s your side hustle?
This, Her Stories.
What would your fallback career be?
I’m hopefully going to do this, watch this space! I would love to have been born with the raw artistic talent some people have, and the drive and motivation to be an artist.
What’s the trashiest thing you love?
I loved ‘Love Island’ this year. I do tend to watch only dating programmes - First Dates, The Undateables…
What are you reading?
Sarah Pascoe’s, ‘Animal’, which is great. I just bought Hillary Clinton’s ‘What Happened?’ I’m reading ‘Little Black Book’ by Otegha Uwagba, and ‘The Confidence Code’ by Katy Kay and Claire Shipman.
What’s your rescue snack of choice?
It’s a bit boring, but oatcakes. Oh and probably Patty & Bun burgers…
Where is your happy place?
I’d say with my coven, the Sisters of the Sanitary Cloth… we’re a bunch of women who periodically get together to set intentions and share what’s been hurting us. That’s a really happy place.
How’s your work/life balance?
Really bad at the moment, because I’m doing Her Story, thinking ahead to a business next year, and I’m still running the marketing for an investment company. I’m learning about it all the time.
I’ve realised I’m not going to be able to tick all the boxes I want to, so I need to set some boundaries.
Where’s your favourite art spot?
My favourite place is The Stony Island Arts Bank, which is Theaster Gates’ art center in the Southside of Chicago. It’s the most inspiring place I’ve even been.
What inspired you to join Marguerite?
So many challenges in the workplace remain gendered; women face unequal recognition, pay and harassment. At the end of the day, women rely on other women to stand by them.
I really believe in the power and solace of female solidarity. Marguerite's mantra of supporting one another to the top is one I am 100% behind.
Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?
Hillary Clinton, Cardi B, Gloria Steinem, Solange, Jess Phillips MP and my Mum. The conversation would be rich in my favourite subjects (with me learning a lot). In my fantasy we'd all end up dancing on the table at the end of the night.
Where do you hang out at the weekend?
Here, [at COMMUNEEAST]. I also live right next to the Walthamstow marshes, so I like walking there, and I hang out with my God-daughter who lives nearby.
What talent would you most like to have?
Artistic, or I’d just really like to know how to make people feel really great about themselves.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I hope it will be raising awareness of how some women live in London and the UK; austerity and poverty has a female face and there is so much more we could and should do to prevent the burden of poverty falling upon women.
What’s next for 2017?
And now into 18… watch this space!
Tickets to the Her Stories Benefit Dinner on 23rd November 2017 can be purchased here.