New all-women market opens in Petticoat Lane

Pic: Eleanor Magill
A stall at the market. Pic: Eleanor Magill

London’s first all-women run market launched yesterday in the iconic Petticoat Lane area, part of Tower Hamlets Council’s plan to breathe life back into the East End.

As part of a wider regeneration programme, Tower Hamlets Council and the City of London have collaborated to resurrect an old market on Wentworth Street and rename it Lady Lane. The new market aims to empower local female entrepreneurs, giving support and space in a traditionally male-dominated environment.

The market will run every Friday from 10am-3pm and hosts handmade products ranging from skin care to hot sauce.

Pic: Eleanor Magill
A view of the market. Pic: Eleanor Magill

Kirsty Valentine, project manager for the regeneration of high streets and town centres for Tower Hamlets council, told Eastlondonlines: “We have brought those women together and offered them some business training and some social media training… it is about improving the business that happens on the street, the entertainment that happens on the street and making it vibrant again.”

She said the ‘rich tapestry’ of the East End was reflected in the diversity of its vendors: “It is really exciting because we’ve got a lot of different women from over 11 nationalities. And they all come from different situations and they’ve all got different types of barriers that have prevented them being able to take this step, so it’s a really empowering programme that is helping individuals develop their skill sets and businesses.”

The founding women have benefited from business training provided by Tower Hamlets Council in conjunction with Sara Carter Business. Ann Sutcliffe, Corporate Director, Place Directorate, said in a press statement: “Markets have played a crucial role at the heart of the East End for generations but they have traditionally been male-dominated spaces. Lady Lane Market has been established to support this group of inspiring women who are determined to show why it should be an environment in which anyone can succeed.

“These future traders have already shown their passion and skill and I look forward to visiting their stalls and seeing this exciting project come to life.”

Pic: Eleanor Magill
Stall owner Susanne Nicholas. Pic: Eleanor Magill

One trader, Susanne Nicholas, launched MaszuNaturals, an organic cosmetic line, with business partner Marilyn Crew after struggling to find products that suited Afro-Caribbean hair and skin.

Nicholas told Eastlondonlines: “It is great working with other women, some women have busy lives with children and careers etc and for them to find them time to do this as well, to do something for themselves. We come in in the mornings and we are all working together, it’s really great. Soon we’ll be taking over the whole of Petticoat Lane!”

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