Happy International Women’s Day! The theme for IWD this year is #balanceforbetter, and focuses on gender parity and equality for all. Women are making strides each day to create a more gender balanced world, and that is certainly something to celebrate. So, in the spirit of honoring what’s become a favorite holiday in the Spoonflower office, and now a national holiday for our Berlin factory, we reached out to our community of designers (over 75% female) and asked them to share their greatest achievements. We were deeply moved and inspired by their responses. Join us in celebrating what women have achieved over the past century and get to know 10 different women from the Spoonflower community that have all answered the question:
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Elishka is a rocket scientist by day, graphic designer by night. When she’s not designing rockets, doodling on her computer or designing for Princess Awesome, you can find Elishka in Tucson, Arizona with her husband, daredevil child and two goofy basset hounds.
In my ‘day’ job, I’m an aerospace engineer. Making it through both my undergrad and masters degrees, and continuing to work, learn, grow and succeed in this exciting field, I feel is my greatest accomplishment.” – Elishka Jepson | robyriker
Judy is a Cuban-born artist of Spanish and Taino Indian descent. Her art honors and respects her deep spiritual and cultural connection to her roots, ancestors and to the earth.
Since I was a little girl my favorite thing to do was draw fashion sketches. I dreamt of working in the fashion world all my life. Growing up in a family with an amazing artist as a father, I had access to paints, tools and a studio at a very early age. As I grew older, my passion for drawing and creating remained but self-doubt slowly crept its way into my life. I was surrounded by all this great art and I felt I would never be able to be this good. This self-doubt took a hold of that passion and steered me to study something that made me feel empty and lost at times. During this time I never stopped creating, I just stopped dreaming of where my art could take me. Fast forward many years later and I have to say my biggest accomplishment has been to climb my way out of the self-doubt and to simply believe in myself. Changing my mindset and fighting hard for my passion has given me the opportunity to provide for my family and has given me the life I once dreamt of when I was just a girl. I will never stop learning and trying to be better than I was yesterday, but doubt will never invade my head or heart again.” – Judy Quintero | ShopCabin
Tess is a British-based multi-award-winning entrepreneur, creative hustler and self-taught doodler. In addition to designing for her Spoonflower shop, Tess runs a growing business, House Of Wonderland, where she conjures up magical products and sells them online and in independent stores worldwide.
There have been many accomplishments throughout the life of House of Wonderland. However, my proudest accomplishment would have to be managing to build a successful business that I love, but also combining that with the causes in life that mean so much to me. I never dreamed I would actually be able to support my family while working hard to raise awareness for women everywhere. Even now it can be a little hard to believe.”
– Tess Shearer
Based in Los Angeles, Krista is a craftivist, feminist, Hollywood screenwriter and co-creator of the Pussyhat Project. She wants to make the world a safer place for women and to help everyone validate their own creativity, femininity and intuition.
When asked, ‘What is your greatest accomplishment?’, I think the expected answer is, ‘I created the pussyhat.’ The pussyhat affected so many people very deeply – as accomplishments go, it had both quantity and quality, but my real answer is: ‘I put two couches back to back.’ When my grandmother became a widow, she downsized from her two-story home into a two-bedroom apartment, and it was my job to cram as much of her beloved furniture in there as possible. It was a real-life Tetris problem, and I wanted my grandmother to be able to live there comfortably too, not just like she was living in a storage unit. Then it hit me: her couch and loveseat should go back to back, creating a tv-watching spot and a conversation spot in the living room. It sounds like a such a small thing but it changed everything – suddenly this project was easy, everything flowed after that design decision, and my grandmother got to live in a beautifully arranged home as she aged. I felt like a knight who had done her duty for her queen. My greatest accomplishment is being able to make life better for those I care about with ingenious solutions, and that includes putting two couches back to back for my grandmother and creating the pussyhat for people everywhere.” Krista Suh | krista_suh
Samarra Khaja is an artist, illustrator, graphic and textile designer, art (and trouble) maker of all things with over 20 years of expertise in art direction, illustration and graphic design.
“Well, as long as you’re not counting the houseplants I’ve managed to slowly kill, I’d say being known for my voice in my work. People come to me for my twist on a theme, along with amplified whimsy, quirkiness and – if I’ve had just the right amount of morning coffee – unabashedly goofy and pun-erific cleverness. If it’s run-of-the-mill, I’m just not as interested as I am in creating something unexpected, amusing and a little bit different. When those ideas travel successfully from my brain (through my work) to the viewer, my job is complete.” Samarra Khaja | sammyk
Natalia is a Spanish-born surface pattern designer and illustrator based in London. She loves telling stories with her patterns and enjoys trying new techniques.
My greatest accomplishment has been to learn how to manage my expectations and feel happy with my life no matter the circumstances. I am glad that I can explore my creativity every day developing different projects like creating patterns or online courses.” – Natalia Gonzalez | natalia_gonzalez
Janine is a surface pattern designer from Atlanta. She has a passion for creating bright, lively prints and enjoys hiking, hanging out at local breweries and spontaneous dance parties.
Building the confidence in myself and my creative vision has been my greatest accomplishment. I’ve never had an issue with lifting others up, but when it comes to lifting myself up I struggled and the uncertainty was crippling at times. All the doubts led me to miss out on opportunities, growth and didn’t allow me to achieve my goals. But once I learned that I and my creative voice had a place in the world, everything started to open up and make sense. And although I might have to remind myself from time to time that, “I got this!” because the fact is, I do.” – Janine Lecour | lapetitelecour
Anda is a freelance illustrator, designer, author of the Spoonflower Quick-Sew Project Book and artist living in Berlin with her little family. She spends a lot of time drawing and making things, teaching others how to make things and thinking up ideas for the things she wants to make next.
The greatest thing I’ve accomplished by far is leaving America eight years ago with my family to start a new life in Berlin. The company I worked for had opened an office here, and I made the decision to leave Brooklyn extremely hastily and joyously in the summer of 2010. In less than two months my husband and I sold all our furniture, gave away kitchen appliances to friends, stashed books in our parents’ attics, and headed across the ocean with three suitcases and a toddler. It hasn’t been easy — to be honest it’s still never easy — but it has been one of the best decisions of my life. I now have two bilingual kids and a shelf full of Leitz 3-ring binders. I love that I was asked this question for International Women’s Day, which has just been made a national holiday here in Germany this year.” – Anda Corrie | anda
Jo Kalute is a Kenyan-born-textile designer currently residing in Clovelly, an idyllic coastal suburb in Sydney, Australia. Her designs are inspired by her African heritage, Sydney’s iconic coastline and women of all shapes and sizes.
Apart from the birth of my daughter eight years ago, my greatest accomplishment is starting my swimwear label, Clovelly Cozzies, which has enabled me to share my art and connect with women around the world.” – Jo Kalute | jokalute
Annie is a self-taught graphic designer with a deep love of prints and patterns. She is based in Vancouver and started her home accessories label LEMONNI in 2013 with the idea of bringing happiness to the home through pattern and color.
I think my greatest accomplishment is finding out what I’m really passionate about and deciding to do something about it. I remember how scared I was when I told my dad that I wasn’t going to pursue my major in college. I was scared that I couldn’t pursue a creative career without proper training from an art school. After a lot of twists and turns, I’m proud of myself for sticking it out. It’s still a long road ahead of me, but I think I’ll be in this marathon forever.” – Annie Chen | lemonni
Here at Spoonflower, women make up 70% of our workforce and 80% of our executive team. As a company, we strive for diversity and equality in all we do and are proud to be an organization that empowers women – both here in the office and in the designer and maker community around the world.
As our favorite lady Beyonce would say: “Who runs the world? Girls!” The Spoonflower Marketplace is filled with designs that celebrate the accomplishments, strength, intellect and creativity of women. Check out some of our favorite designs that celebrate womanhood in our specially curated International Women’s Day collection.