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WOMEN OF RESILIENCE

The Banga Folk Dance is a traditional reenactment of women in the pre-colonial Northern Philippines and their daily routine of fetching water from the river and trekking through rice fields and mountain sides to provide water for their village. They would fill bangas (pots) with water and stack one or several on their heads with the support of a rolled cloth or a “jikon”, a coiled headpiece made from a straw plant “ligis”. Experience and skill determined how many pots they could balance on their heads, and the more pots they could stack, the higher their standing was within the village.

Our Banga Ceramic Collection was designed to symbolize the  qualities of these Northern Filipinas amidst challenging conditions. The planters and vases in the shape of the banga are a testament to the spirit  in all women—their strength, agility, and grace in the face of adversity.

In honor of International Women’s Month this year, we immediately thought about the sentiment behind  our Banga Collection and sought to highlight a few incredible women who have inspired us.

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MAYA SHAW

Maya Shaw is a cannabis legalization advocate and silly human. In 2017 while living in Brooklyn, Ny she founded SHAW. - an online smoke shop supporting womxn, non-binary and lgbtqia+ craftspeople. Her goal is that through a grass roots approach we will bring to fruition the cannabis legalization we dream to see. It’s an uphill battle but we must continue to rally, destigmatize and normalize the plant alongside righting our wrongs within the prison system and within our government. Today Maya works with Arts and Letters Creative Co and works as a freelance designer and creative in Richmond, Va.

The theme of International Women’s Day 2021 is “Choose to Challenge”. What does this mean to you?
For me "Choose to Challenge" feels like the choice to challenge others to ignite change and the choice to challenge yourself to do the same. Living through the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge that I have never faced before (I'm sure many of us can say the same). There has been so much loss and unfortunately the reality is that there is more ahead. Figuring out how to balance your sanity has been a challenge within itself, then you layer our social, economical, and political climate on top of that. You really do have to choose to fight against the urge to just sit back, stay quiet, and keep your head down even though you know nothing will change by doing so. "Choose to Challenge" feels like a reminder to keep pushing on even when it feels like nothing is going to shift - have faith that it will.

What women inspire you? Why?
Recently I have been super inspired by my Mom and her girlfriends. Many of them have been friends since they were in Elementary school. Women have this ability to create these sisterhoods, villages, second families, and we build them daily! There is magic in watching a group of women in their 70s kiki after they've been through every monumental life shift together! My mom has always been a dynamic source of inspiration for me. She was apart of the very first class of women to attend Lafayette College and she experienced segregation first hand throughout her childhood. She overcame all obstacles and when I think about it I laugh at all the "problems" I face in my life that have nothing on the challenges she faced.

What are some myths or taboos about women you believe need to be broken?
I'm sick of women being expected to be feminine at all times. I'm tired of the idea that women must always be dainty, lady-like, seen not heard, happy and smiley. Yes, I am those things... sometimes, but the pressure to always be "on" is exhausting. The year is 2021 and we are still dealing with double standards and stereotypes that are simply no longer relevant and are damaging to the spirit. Let women wear boxy clothes if that makes them feel comfortable, let women rest their faces if they're having so-so days, let women express their anger when something is frustrating (especially Black and Brown women). Let women exist without constant judgement.

What makes you feel empowered as a woman?
I feel like my most empowered self when I feel free. When I'm in the car singing a song on the top of my lungs. When I ask for what I need. When I wear bold lipstick. When I'm in a pair of baggy pants and a big t-shirt. When I lift something by myself that even I was a little unsure of. When I crush a presentation at work. When I advocate for myself. I take pride in being able to do these simple acts because I think of the women in my bloodline who paved the way before me and what they had to endure to ensure that I could be this free. It also reminds me that it is now my job to pay it forward for the women that come after me.

How do you suggest women enable and empower one another vs. competing?
We really must remind ourselves that there is room for ALL of us. Unfortunately, society has programmed us to view each other in this manner and it is simply not sustainable. We can all win. The market will never be over saturated with women, we need more women in everything!

What advice do you have for our current and future generations of women?
Never dilute yourself!

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AMELIA POSADA

The world's top brands have tapped Amelia Posada, award winning floral designer and Founder of Birch and Bone, to brighten their spaces, parties and events with colorful botanical installations. Since launching Birch & Bone in February 2015 she’s become a favorite florist of the artist, celebrity, fashion and maker crowds.

Birch & Bone has been featured in Women's Wear Daily, LA Magazine, & LA Times. 

Amelia is a native Angeleno, living with her wife Chrissy, their dog Hazel and spunky cat "Val the night Gal", in Silverlake and working out of her studio in DTLA.

The theme of International Women’s Day 2021 is “Choose to Challenge”. What does this mean to you?
I choose to challenge myself to be of service to my community. I choose to advocate for other women, especially the ones who don't have the resources to advocate for themselves. I choose to challenge myself to recommit to showing up for the most vulnerable women in my community through activism and putting my money and resources to lifting others. 

What women inspire you? Why?
Shannon Morton, Founder of Black Women Lead. She walks the walk!!! Shannon is a constant inspiration to me- her ability to lift others, to be inclusive, vulnerable, strong, and a great leader is incredible. She created a non profit in June of 2020 and has used this platform to raise money to host twice a week  food drives in South LA, and to organize big marches, sit ins to create safe spaces for people to put their activism into action and help folks in need. 

What are some myths or taboos about women you believe need to be broken?
The myth that women are not physically or mentally as strong as men. The myth that women should all want to have kids or be able to have kids. Pregnancy is revered and praised and looked upon as the ultimate symbol of femininity, and  I am exhausted by that dated notion. Motherhood does not make a woman whole or fulfilled. The taboo system that tells women that we have to be feminine to be beautiful. And last but not least- the myth that trans women are not women! That angers me so much. Why can’t we celebrate all the different ways that women present and identify? Trans women are WOMEN. 

What makes you feel empowered as a woman?
I am empowered by my love of other women—by the community of strong women that I have nurtured over the years. I am empowered by my own unique queer femininity and my ability to embrace my strength.

How do you suggest women enable and empower one another vs. competing?
We are truly stronger together. There is nothing more gross to me than jealousy among women- turn your insecurity into vulnerability instead, and reach out to other women to collaborate, to tell them they are beautiful , or to ask for help, or to offer help, or to thank them for inspiring you. Women are collaborative by nature, but I think that society has conditioned women to focus and strive to make themselves be/look appealing to finding a partner, rather than on focusing on building community, on building wealth, on building power and independence. There is no room for insecure jealousy - only for empowering each other. 

What advice do you have for our current and future generations of women
Education is powerful and beautiful. Independence is appealing to partners. Being Single is healthy. Feminity is fluid. Collaboration is the key to success. You can be feminine and strong at the same time. 

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CINDY TRINH

Cindy Trinh is a photographer, visual journalist, organizer and activist who is passionate about social justice and human rights. Her work focuses on identity, culture, racial justice, immigration, activism and social justice. Cindy is the creator of Activist NYC, a documentary photo project about activism and social justice movements in New York City. Cindy also organizes a performance art event series titled "Be the Cure" showcasing various artists, singers, musicians, comedians, poets, dancers and storytellers to fundraise for different social justice causes. 

The theme of International Women’s Day 2021 is “Choose to Challenge”. What does this mean to you? 
The theme "Choose to Challenge" means that we must all strive to challenge ourselves and learn from others, especially women and femmes who have been organizing and fighting against injustice for a long time and are experienced in combating issues of racism, sexism, misogyny and patriarchy. In every movement, there are always strong women and femme leaders who are paving the way for others to follow. We must all strive to be more inclusive in our political analysis and fight towards the liberation of all women, in particular women/femmes of color and trans/queer women. 

What women inspire you? Why?
All the women in my life inspire me everyday. There is not one particular woman who is doing more work than any other. As women, we must constantly fight just to exist in this world. Women are strong, brave, beautiful, smart, selfless, caring, and inspiring. But if I had to name one woman specifically who I admire the most, it is my mother, who came to America as a refugee and made so many sacrifices for her family. She came here with nothing and worked tirelessly to build a better life for her children. She inspires me to keep fighting for what I believe in so that all women can have a better life. 

What are some myths or taboos about women you believe need to be broken?
Women are often stereotyped to be "too emotional" to become leaders. As we have seen in the last year of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is the women leaders around the world that have responded best to protecting citizens and residents from the deadly infectious disease. Women have proven again and again that they are not only qualified to lead, they excel at leadership. We need more women leaders around the world and within our own country, states, cities, and towns. A woman leader I look up to who has been breaking this stereotype is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has become a well recognized leader in New York City and all around the country. She proves that women are effective and strong leaders who aren't afraid to speak their mind and fight for what they believe in. 

What makes you feel empowered as a woman?
I feel empowered as a woman when I surround myself with other strong, empowered women. Being in community with other women is so amazing and beautiful; it fuels me to keep doing the work that I do. Patriarchy wants us to fight and bicker amongst each other, but dividing us is how patriarchy continues to win. By coming together and being in solidarity with each, we grow stronger to smash the patriarchy. 

How do you suggest women enable and empower one another vs. competing?
Because of patriarchy, women often find themselves being pitted against each other and forced to "compete" with one another to be recognized or heard. But there is space for all of us and we all deserve to be heard. By uplifting each other, we can create a space where all of our voices are heard and work together to fight injustice and inequality. It is such a great feeling to work together with a community that loves and shares your own goals. We can empower each other by sharing each other's work, supporting your women and femme family and friends, listening to women of color, LGBTQIA women and non-binary people, learning from women/femmes who have been organizing and doing the work for a long time, investing in art made by women/femmes, and donating to women led organizations and grassroots initiatives. 

What advice do you have for our current and future generations of womenMy advice to women is to keep fighting for what you believe in and don't do it alone. Reach out to your community and find other women/femmes who share your same passions. Together, we can fight back against misogyny and patriarchy and achieve the equality and success we truly deserve. 

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SOPHIA ROE

Sophia Roe is a celebrated chef, writer, and advocate who looks at the world of food, art, and wellness through a lens of diversity, inclusivity, and honesty. Her innate passion for food has always been connected to an understanding—from a young age—that some people have access to nutritious foods, while others simply do not. This duality is the foundation for Sophia’s work: celebrating the beauty and art in cooking while creating resources to advance food justice and build more sustainable, equitable systems.

Beyond her public platforms, Sophia dedicates much of her time to supporting and empowering young people with similar circumstances through her involvement with two philanthropic organizations: Women’s Prison Association and Edible Schoolyard NYC. 

The theme of International Women’s Day 2021 is “Choose to Challenge”. What does this mean to you? 
It means challenging the status quo, breaking the norm, and understanding that we CAN challenge the way things are and have been.

What women inspire you? Why?
Marissa Caputo—she’s my manager, and has taught me so much about what it is to have a business, believe in myself, and work smarter not harder. 

Marjon Carlos—she’s just brilliant. a bright and shining star, and everything about her is special.

Alex Elle—she teaches me about staying present even when she doesn’t know it. Her friendship means everything to me.

What are some myths or taboos about women you believe need to be broken?
That women utilizing their emotions in the workplace is a bad thing. Our ability to tap into our intuition is unique and should be CELEBRATED. 

What makes you feel empowered as a woman?
All of the women that came before me, the work they did for me, the life they gave for me. My ancestors empower me at every turn.

How do you suggest women enable and empower one another vs. competing?
It’s so important that we remind one another every single day that there IS ROOM FOR ALL OF US TO THRIVE. Conversation not confrontation. We are stronger in numbers, however we are all so individually special. Everybody has their own unique gift to bring to the party. That is worth celebrating not competing against. 

What advice do you have for our current and future generations of women
Find a hobby, and do the hell out of that shit. Take risks. Never feel guilty about taking time to relax. Wear sunscreen. Don’t wait for life to be perfect to make a big life change. Have more sex (even with yourself). 

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JEN PROCTOR

Jen Proctor is the CEO and founder of the full-service talent consulting firm, Cultivated Entertainment. She is responsible for bringing talent, news makers and tastemakers to various platforms like TV, digital, live, brands and events. Cultivated’s clients span both coasts of the US and overseas. Jen approaches every aspect of her life and business with compassion and contributes her success to incredible relationships and trust.

The theme of International Women’s Day 2021 is “Choose to Challenge”. What does this mean to you? 
Everyday we should challenge ourselves, whether physically, mentally or emotionally. I’m a firm believer that in order to grow we must constantly challenge ourselves. Sometimes you succeed and other times you fail, but you ALWAYS learn a lesson and grow.

What women inspire you? Why?
I am most inspired by women who air the “I don’t give a f*ck” attitude and authentically believe it. For far too long, we as women were held back or taught to think we must hold ourselves back. When I see women out there and proud no matter who they are, what they look like or how much money they make, that’s what inspires me!

What are some myths or taboos about women you believe need to be broken? 
The biggest myth or taboo about women is that we are fragile. We are the STRONGEST! Having gone through so many experiences in my life, both good and bad, I know nothing can break me. Becoming a mother, too, I have a newfound appreciation for my physical, spiritual and emotional strength. We can conquer anything we set out to do.

What makes you feel empowered as a woman?
When I challenge myself and succeed, there is nothing that makes me feel more powerful. Setting a goal and reaching it, or better yet, exceeding it. Cheering on and lifting up others also makes me feel empowered. We all feed off of each others energy, and seeing others succeed and be happy for my success makes me feel so empowered.

How do you suggest women enable and empower one another vs. competing?
It starts with yourself. You have to find peace and gratitude for who you are and where you are on your journey. As you feel more lighted and empowered yourself, you will want to share that with everyone around you. Life is about opening up and sharing in moments good and bad. 

What advice to you have for our current and future generations of women?
Always put relationships first. Authentic relationships. Quality over quantity. 

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ZENAT BEGUM

Zenat Begum is a native New Yorker, owner of Playground Coffee Shop, founder of Playground Youth, and an alumni of The New School. Zenat intentionally seeks to center BIPOC, marginalized bodies, the arts, and community engagement in order to foster change in a shapeshifting and gentrifying BedStuy.

The theme of International Women’s Day 2021 is “Choose to Challenge”. What does this mean to you?
Choosing to challenge is a concept not all women are allowed to practice due to patriarchal structures. Whenever I have challenged ideologies and its institutions I am met with animosity, being asked “Why are you so upset” or more asinine questions like “who hurt you?” For all women, trans, nonbinary and cis our stories are often juxtaposed to misogyny to measure impact. This notion can convolute survival narratives that pave the way for peers to break boundaries in their fields. I can attest that every time I challenged the circumstances around me I have improved my understanding of what I deserve, rightfully so. 

What women inspire you? 
My friends, my sisters and my coworkers. The women I surround myself with are magical, mystical, intuitive and solution oriented. Each of these women encourage me to be a better version of myself so that everyday I can move through the world a little lighter. 

What are some myths or taboos about women you believe need to be broken?
That women have anything to prove, that rest IS radical and so is our experience! 

What makes you feel empowered as a woman?
My fragility and tenderness that is met with this exterior of intensity to empower me to deal with daily misogyny and white supremacy.

How do you suggest women enable and empower one another vs. competing?
When I think about male dominated office and work environments it always met with this idea that men are able to work together cohesively because of suppressed issues that transpires through misogyny. Women must understand that cis men create hostile work conditions for them to see who is more marketable or neutral. Women must band together to fight these repressive structures instead of enabling harm and jealousy perpetuated by traditional white work spaces. When we work together our impact can be beyond our understanding!

What advice do you have for our current and future generations of women?
Choose yourself because it's a decision that most people won’t encourage you to make. But investing yourself is ultimately setting yourself up to be an adequate community member to improve the lives of others and you!

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KELLY WANG SHANAHAN

Kelly Wang Shanahan is the founder and creative designer of Ziran, a sustainable clothing line from Los Angeles. Ziran is an intentional brand focused on storytelling, cultural heritage, and purpose. Kelly is guided by a strong value system of sustainability, social responsibility, and the DIY mentality of working hard and getting shit done. 

The theme of International Women’s Day 2021 is “Choose to Challenge”. What does this mean to you?
To me, Choose to Challenge means having the choice and the autonomy to make decisions for myself. It’s easy to write things off and have thought distortions (like I’m not good enough, I can’t, there’s already so much noise and competition in the world, I don’t deserve it) but Choose to Challenge is choosing to dispel those thought distortions and embrace challenges in all its’ forms. 

What women inspire you? Why?
Women who are fierce yet vulnerable. Women who have beat the odds yet are not perfect. Women who are like water: strong and powerful but yielding and soft. The nuances in the female spirit inspire me. 

What are some myths or taboos about women you believe need to be broken?
That we all want the same thing - career, partnership, children. This is bullshit and societal acceptance of *all* manifestations of womanhood should be the norm. "Woman” is a state of being and identity, which can be transmuted and changes over time. You don’t have to be born a woman to be one. 

What makes you feel empowered as a woman?
Knowing what I want and getting it. Maybe as a woman this is deemed selfish or opportunistic but for a man it would be called powerful and driven. I am the most empowered when I set goals, work hard, and get them. 

How do you suggest women enable and empower one another vs. competing?
Yooooo we are all in the same boat fighting against the patriarchy!!! Our ancestors had to work together for survival, nothing has changed! We only feel competitive with one another because of systemic male-dominated power bullshit, it’s not real. When one woman thrives, we all thrive. Like Mother Earth, women are the cradle of life. 

What advice do you have for our current and future generations of women?
Do what you want. The same people who talk shit will one day look up to you. Be the influence you wish to see. Lean on your support system. Carve your own path. Take your time, “Nature doesn’t hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” - Daodejing

 

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SHOP THE BANGA CERAMICS COLLECTION

BANGA VASES
Available in natural, adobe, and blackDue to the nature of these hand-thrown pieces, sizing may vary.

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BANGA PLANTERS
The small Banga Planter can be stacked on top of the medium. Available in natural, adobe, and black. Due to the nature of these hand-thrown pieces, sizing may vary.

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