This is the third Groundswell Innovation profile of women leading businesses in the Northwest who are creating change, generating social inclusion, and truly demonstrating inclusive innovation.
Amy Kohl is the founder of KOHR, a sustainable and ethical fashion house specialising in gender-neutral elevated basics. She is also a freelance graphic designer: a testament to her creativity and versatility. Amy has been nominated for the Northern Power Women Awards 2023 Future List – a reflection of her hard work driving change in the fashion industry.
After achieving a BA in Fashion Design, Amy began life in the corporate world.
“I worked for a brand that didn’t align with my ethos and values at all which made me fall out of love with the fashion industry. Until I realised there was a place for me in the industry to make a difference.”
Her journey really accelerated when she left her job and started a Masters in Fashion, Business and Marketing. This is where KOHR was born.
Her skills and entrepreneurial mindset stem from her broad range of experience working in the fashion industry, from sportswear to crafts, third-sector organisations and the public sector.
KOHR reflects Amy’s strong values on sustainability. She has created a brand that is not only environmentally friendly but also socially responsible, following her vision of creating a more transparent and ethical fashion industry.
Amy describes KOHR as “Figuring out how we can protect our planet and garments workers, whilst creating garments people want to wear”
Her vision is to see KOHR ‘’being on the high street with an in-house factory where consumers can see their clothes being made.’’ We think that would be pretty cool.
Gender bias in business – the challenges faced being a female founder
Creating a business can be rigorous and challenging. Creating a business in a world that isn’t set up for female entrepreneurs? Well, that’s a different story.
Amy’s belief in the importance of supporting women in business is evident in her own experience as a female entrepreneur.
“The hours, alpha-driven atmosphere and pay aren’t an environment where women thrive, and so they have to start up on their own. Women tend to start up on their own because they want a meaningful job, they want flexibility in their hours, they are undervalued, or they don’t fit within one job role.”
“As a woman, I’m a multi-tasker, passionately creative and driven by values, which get severely overlooked in both the corporate and business world. Most things get measured by numbers, metrics, data and logic. Women don’t tend to be wired by logic, I’m certainly not.
Interestingly, her business friends are either women founders or co-founders.
“You can look at that negatively or positively. Positively because these women believe in themselves enough to set up on their own, they have the talent, drive and passion to be successful business owners. Or you can counter it negatively and say the corporate world isn’t built for women.”
Amy has her own advice for female business owners: “Create a vision board, dream big, and confidently go in the direction of their dreams.’’
She emphasises the importance of finding business friends that will support you, believe in you, and hold you accountable.
At Groundswell Innovation, we understand the value of innovation that combines intelligence, creativity, and empathy. Amy certainly epitomises all of these.
Find out more about Amy and KOHR at – https://www.kohrfashion.com
Post by Joe Evans, Groundswell Innovation intern
Written by Joe Evans, intern at Groundswell Innovation