3 years of Matriarch
The year 'me' became 'we'.
I start writing this blog post by reading back the last 2 anniversary blogs I’ve written. It’s hit me hard and I am really in my feels about it.
106 blog posts
26 community posts
497 instagram posts
3745 instagram followers
9 team members
1 idea. 1 platform. 1 business.
I often hear people saying that most businesses fail in their first year. True, Matriarch didn’t start as a business, it was always more of an idea, but I think there is still something worth recognising there. What was little more than a passion project has lasted and grown so graciously over the last 3 years and I couldn’t feel more in awe of it all. It’s like standing in front of a skyscraper which is growing in front of you - the more it grows, the more you lose sight of it. That’s exactly how it feels sometimes because seldom do I stop to look at how much, how well and how quickly we’re doing and achieving things at Matriarch.
In the past year so much has occurred but the first part of that I want to celebrate is our expansion from 1 to 9 people. Matriarch is now run by 8 other team members and there isn’t enough hyperbole in the world to cover how awesome I think these people are. Jana, Chloe, Harriet, Alicia, Lulu, Nausika, Barney and Martha - I am fulfilled by what you create every day, you challenge me to always be better and constantly remind me with your work how out of your league I am. It was a huge deal for me to invite other people into what has been a very personal, vulnerable and forgiving space. Matriarch is my baby and my main concern was always that people I let in wouldn’t treat it with the care and compassion I raised it with. So thank you, for treating it in the same way, excelling my expectations of what a team would be like and making Matriarch what it is today. I genuinely know it’s a better place because of all of your creativity, knowledge, experiences and love - I couldn’t be more grateful. Thank you again & always.
Our building internally has been mirrored in our community work too and we have worked with more of you lovely community members to platform your stories. Matriarch Community, I have always openly admitted, is one of the parts of Matriarch I am proudest of. It is an honour to give other people a platform to express themselves and every time we read a new community post, editorial submission or hear a new story for our upcoming Community Conversations project on Instagram Lives, I feel so lucky that people trust Matriarch and feel it is a safe, compassionate space to share. I always look forward to the next piece of work that involves the community - after all, there wouldn’t be much Matriarch without you all.
This year, with huge credit to the team here, I think we’ve re-established our foundation a bit. When there are so many ideas and you’re trying so many new things, it’s easy to lose your way a bit and lose sight of what got you where you are. We experienced that a bit this year and there were many moments and months I felt dazed and admittedly worried. What do people think of when they think of Matriarch? What is it people like about us? What do they come to us for? What do we do well? Why did people engage with us in the first place? And through a very contemplative discussion with our content head, Harriet, I feel like we’ve re-established that all a bit more.
People come to Matriarch for vulnerability and honesty. They want to see the topics that other people don’t talk about - the taboo stuff. They want to be related to. They want to feel seen & heard. They want to feel included. They want to feel validated.
They want all the things I was searching for 3 years ago.
And this reflection on who we are and what we do was such an important turning point to redirect our content a bit and get back to who we are - female pleasure, learning to respect ourselves, talking about the Queen & empire, body image, disability, grief, contraception, anti-racism and as of late, BDSM. When I look back on our content from the past year I am proud of what we’ve talked about, how we’ve talked about it and how we have also all grown as 9 individuals creating content.
But the other pretty significant part of the past year is the growth of our business from the platform. As I said, Matriarch was not a business when I started it and I had no idea where it was going. But I was so certain about it, something in me felt so right about it, I trusted the process and knew that whenever or however we’d get there, we would. And this year we’ve started that journey.
Around November 2021, I was really starting to think about what Matriarch’s product would be if we were to become a business. We considered everything from magazines to mugs, but none of this felt right. How could we legitimately sell a mug when people bought into us because of the stories we told? It just didn’t make sense. I then ran a talk at my old school about what Matriarch is and what we’ve achieved and I really started to think about one of our founding principles - be who you needed when you were younger.
And then the lightbulb went off.
We have been covering anti-racism and inclusion topics on Matriarch for the past 3 years. I love the process of educating myself and turning that into something educational for someone else. But it means even more when there’s the potential there for it to be helping someone who’s experiencing something they shouldn’t be. Something that’s excluding them or discriminatory. I first encountered these feelings at school, as young as 7 years old. And what I needed was for someone to tell me where it was all coming from and that I was not at fault for what I was experiencing.
I was certain PSHE (personal development) classes in schools weren’t covering them. There had been some rift of creating changes in the curriculum. But I knew there needed to be more than this.
There needed to be someone to tell school kids what I needed to hear when I was growing up - How to deal with racism when you encounter it. What to do with your unconscious bias. Where your privilege comes from. Why there is a racist undercurrent in this country. What empire was. What colonialism is. Why people immigrate.
But there wasn’t.
Until there was.
And that’s us.
This year, we’ve worked with our first school to deliver hour long workshops on privilege and unconscious bias, designed and delivered by us. After having seen, experienced and delivered workshops like these before, I was so conscious of what was always missing. It’s normal for inclusion work, especially within corporate environments to position these topics in a way that makes people with privilege feel more comfortable. But this is wrong. The approach should instead be to embrace what’s uncomfortable in order to do justice to marginalised narratives and those who actually experience discriminatory issues.
At Matriarch, we’re aware of the need to move out of our comfort zone to create change - that’s essentially what we’ve been doing for the past 3 years. Change demands friction. Change requires discomfort. And when you choose to embrace that, you deal with these issues properly. Because they are uncomfortable. And that’s a challenge we’re ready to take on even if other people aren’t.
So that’s what we do - deliverable inclusion work done in the right way.
(if you’re interested, click here for more info…)
This part of Matriarch has sparked something in me. I never thought ‘entrepreneur’ was in my future. I didn’t ever consider developing a business out of Matriarch which is rooted in values of change, compassion and humanness. But this is the thing that gets me out of bed every day and keeps me up at night. I am constantly distracted thinking about it and I’ve fallen in love with an opportunity and a process I can see growing into something staggering. I can’t wait to showcase this in new ways over time and I’m so excited for those of you who have been here for year 1, 2 and 3 to see our development in real time and appreciate that.
There is just so much to cover when talking about Matriarch, I really could do it all day. But to be honest, there will never be enough words to cover it all and how I feel about it. So, simply put, I just feel gratitude and love. I am taking a risk every day to follow something I am passionate about rather than going down a traditional, already paved route. That is terrifying and anxiety inducing, but it’s so worth it for every person who expresses appreciation for Matriarch. So again, thank you for making this risk worth it. Thank you for being here, and thank you for sticking around. I can’t wait for you to see where we go.
Year 3, wrapped up! Let’s see what year 4 brings.
All my love,