International Women's Day 2021
"It never occurred to me that a woman couldn't do something if she put her mind to it."
Hidden Curiosities director and creator Jennifer Meguro.
International Women's Day is an annual celebration on the 8th March to commemorate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women. We thought we would highlight it this year, as Hidden Curiosities was created by a woman, one who wears many hats and spins quite a few plates, juggling two very different businesses simultaneously - Cravat Club and Hidden Curiosities.
We thought you may like to see the face behind the brands, and get to know a little bit about the female director and creator, Jennifer Meguro.
Jenny promoting her businesses at the Royal Berkshire Show in 2019
Cravat Club was established in 2014. Jenny was eager to develop Cravat Club as a brand, and determined to create exceptional quality silk cravats all handcrafted in the UK. Menswear was something she was interested in, and like many women, was a strong advocate of men who dress well and take care of their appearance.
Since then, she has vastly expanded Cravat Club's product range, is now selling to over 70 countries spanning across 6 continents, and has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers on the quality and presentation of her products.
Cravat Club has also introduced woven and printed silk neckties, silk pocket squares and printed silk evening scarves to their collection, which make a perfect accompaniment for any outfit for the style-conscious chap.
Hidden Curiosities & Aranami Strength gins have both won multiple awards.
Then, 3 years later, in 2017 she wanted to pursue a second venture, Hidden Curiosities gin. Reason being, she was a huge fan of craft gin, and sampled over 100 different craft gins. She was determined to dedicate her time and passion to develop a unique recipe with a very distinctive character and Hidden Curiosities gin was born.
Since then, Hidden Curiosities gin has certainly evoked curiosity in the gin world; featuring on the menu at Michelin Star restaurants; available in top London bars and gin palaces; and renowned stockists, including Harvey Nichols stores. It consistently received overwhelmingly positive reviews from prominent gin bloggers in the drinks industry.
If that wasn't enough, she then wanted to develop a Japan-inspired navy strength. After having lived in Japan for 5 years refining her already discerning palate, Jenny wanted to incorporate some of her favourite flavours that signified that of Japan, including yuzu, sansho pepper, cherry blossom, sour plum and shiso. After months of recipe development, Aranami Strength was born. The response was overwhelming, winning a multitude of awards, including Best Navy Strength Gin at the World Gin Awards 2020.
Jenny likes to show off a bit of personality through her unique style.
Known for her idiosyncratic and unique style, it's no secret she's a fan of playful colours and prints, which is evidently reflected in Cravat Club's eye-catching designs. Jenny believes that the way you dress is a form of self-expression and creativity. Why stick to boring colours and patterns, when you can be more adventurous with your outfits, and make your style your own, regardless of your age or gender.
Jenny says, "In my experience, gentlemen, notably in the UK, have always opted for 'safe' colours and articles of clothing. Many haven't really given their wardrobe a real thought, and simply conformed to the obvious. I think they overlook how important dress and style is, and how it can make you feel. It certainly ignites a topic for conversation, and will get you more noticed on dating apps, in the street, or at parties etc.
"If you wear distinctive clothing, it will naturally spark interest and curiosity, and it also helps to show off your personality. There's no harm in injecting a bit of colour and variety to your day-to-day outfits, and cravats, pocket squares and scarves are the perfect accessories for this."
Taken at Miyajima Shrine in Hiroshima, Japan
Jenny spent 5 years living in Japan during her twenties, learned the language to a fluent level, and since moving back to the UK, often returns to Japan to see family and friends.
Japan has been a huge influence on her growing up since she was a child. Learning the language and understanding the culture have both helped to form who she is today: a woman with a flair for meticulousness, treats people with politeness and respect, endeavours to see and appreciate the positive elements that life has to offer, despite the adversities we sometimes encounter. She has will, determination, and strength, and a perpetual drive to work hard, with a desire to succeed while maintaining a sense of integrity.
Taken at the Philosopher's Path, Kyoto, Japan
Jenny says, "I'm not sure what to say about being a female entrepreneur as I don't know otherwise, but it never occurred to me that a woman couldn't do something if she put her mind to it.
"Being brought up with two older brothers, and naturally wanting to join in with whatever they were doing - climbing trees, watching 80s action movies, and having water fights with Super Soakers in the garden, I had no reason to believe that either. If you have the will and determination, you can do a lot of things! I'm so grateful for all my customers, from wherever they are in the world, and who actively choose to support a small independent business like mine, it's incredibly touching.
"I feel lucky to have met so many interesting and inspiring people along the way, and I hope we see progress for women of all kinds everywhere in the future."
Jenny is looking forward to a post-pandemic life when we're able to travel abroad again safely. Taken in Chania, Crete.