We love vulvas and when we find an artist who openly talks about this female body part, we can’t but praise her work! Amy from Hello Treacle not only designs beautiful products but also shares wonderful stories which inspire others to shine a little brighter. After fighting infertility, she decided to turn her experience into something positive.
Amy followed her inner voice and traded her job for spreading good vibes full-time. We adore her colourful accessories which celebrate all aspects of being a woman. The Viva la Vulva collection is now stocked in our shop. Buy your pin or patch today to join the body positivity movement and read about what inspired Amy to start a feminist brand.
Who is Amy and what led to starting this amazing project supporting women experiencing fertility problems?
I am a thirty something mum of two from Swindon. I’m part rainbow hunter, part repressed goth and since turning 30, I’ve started to really find my voice, take calculated risks and pursue happiness. Hello Treacle came about when we were trying to conceive our second child. The journey to motherhood while trying to conceive our first was long and took a significant toll on our marriage. Hello Treacle was created to help me cope with the process.
What is your background and what gave you the courage to start your own company?
I have no creative qualifications – I got myself through school and wanted to study social sciences at university, but ultimately quit full time education part-way through college. I then had a series of jobs, some very well paid, but I never settled.
More recently I worked in communications and event management, which was really enjoyable, but I’m not exactly the best at marching to the beat of someone else’s drum. I managed to negotiate an exit package from my last role just as I was going on maternity leave, which left me with enough comfort space to at least try to be my own boss.
How do you divide your time between designing, blogging, curating your shop and Instagram account, all whilst running a family?
Honestly? At the moment this is a tough one to answer. I’m still working out who I am and where my business is going. I’d love to say that I have a formula for making it work, but I do what needs doing when it needs doing.
I’m finding a lot of personal satisfaction in my recent projects – like Viva la Vulva which is empowering women and celebrating their bodies. As you might expect, I’m quite happy pulling late nights if there’s something really exciting on the go. I’m often going to bed at 11:30pm, then up at 6:30am the next morning – night feeds in between!
I’m finding a lot of personal satisfaction in my recent projects – like Viva la Vulva which is empowering women and celebrating their bodies.
What stories have you encountered over your career and how does it impact your business?
I see and hear stories about everything from invasive ultrasounds and exams for fertility investigations and treatment to childbirth, postnatal bodies and relationships, and more general body confidence. Some women confide in me about their fertility and post-natal experiences – I receive a fair few “do you know anyone who…?” questions.
I genuinely laugh and cry with customers when they share their stories and news with me. Real and raw stories of grief, perseverance, stamina and success really drive me and make me want to serve more women. I will always want to support women on their fertility journey, but I’m becoming increasingly interested in supporting mothers, as well as broader issues of equality.
Which obstacles did you find yourself facing after launching your company?
Until February of this year I was still employed, and I felt that my maintaining my professional reputation in my day job was holding me back from saying what I really wanted to in my little biz. I’m starting to feel braver now and it’s been quite a liberating year. I’ve talked about boobs, about the female anatomy, about awareness and taboos, but I’ve barely scratched the surface.
I think some friends, family and acquaintances have taken a little while to adjust to my more explicit enthusiasm for women’s issues, as there were plenty of scrunched noses at my Viva La Vulva campaign. But that’s exactly why I did it – why is it that it made people feel uncomfortable? 50% of the population is female and we should absolutely not be ashamed of talking about our bodies.
I genuinely laugh and cry with customers when they share their stories and news with me.
Which organisations do you currently work with and how do you choose them?
At the moment I make regular donations to Fertility Network UK – £1 from the sale of each pink Positive Pants pin gets donated to them. I’ve just launched some teeny tiny red droplet pins in support of Bloody Good Period, too. Next year I hope to do more charitable work – watch this space!
I’m openminded about future collaborations and I think I’ll know when there’s a good fit. I’ve something fun lined up for the new year, which has more of a positivity focus (top secret, sorry!), but I’d really love to do some impactful awareness raising work with other designers or organisations.
Where do you see yourselves and the company in the near future?
This is a good question! I don’t really know, to be honest. I was only chatting to my husband last night about what the next few years look like for us.
I think the plan is to see if I can generate and sustain gradual growth over the next couple of years and then really push when my baby is ready to start preschool. This should afford me the time and space to take on a few passion projects and test some ideas.
We keep our fingers crossed for Amy as she is such a prime example of a strong fighter who really deserves our support! You can shop the Viva la Vulva collection now. A limited selection will also be available at our pop-up shops on the 12th of February at Camberwell College and on the 7th & 8th of March at Central Saint Martins. Let's spread some positive vibes, vulva lovers!