“It’s not about selling specific items any more. It’s about creating deeper relationships between your brand and your tribe”.
One symptom of this new age of polarization? A new wave of start-ups that center their entire ethos around one powerful truth: EMPOWERMENT.
We caught up with Jimena Durán, co-founder of Queen Girls – a line of children’s stories centred around women who behave outside of preconceived (read: outdated) gender ‘norms’ – to talk tribes, togetherness and the futility of ‘the right moment’.
Here at TrendWatching, we know all about the initiative and the message it spreads. But for those that are less familiar, could explain a bit about the project in your own words: what is it about, what is the core message, who is it aimed at?
Queen Girls is about giving girls books where they can see themselves reflected and could help them envision their dreams as possible and doable. There is not a lot of empowering content for girls between 4 and 7 years old, and this is when they develop perspectives that they will hold for life. Our ultimate goal is to give girls a more diverse picture and open possibilities in their little minds.
Talk us through the inspiration for and thought process that led to the initiative. How did the idea come about?
Honestly, as cliché as it sounds, my son helped me see the world with different eyes. When he came into my life, I felt this urge of doing something to help make the world he’s inheriting a better place. I also wanted to make him proud of me one day! I feel many parents would relate with me when I say this! My partner in crime is my sister in law, Andrea. She has always been a big children’s advocate as well, and did not doubt for a second to jump with me into this adventure!
You deal with the notion of stereotypes regarding women head on. What has the response been like? Have you encountered any negativity since you launched?
The response has been incredibly positive. We felt our Kickstarter campaign was a great exercise of togetherness: women and men coming together for equality and diversity. It is both powerful and beautiful to be part of this movement.
Why do you feel it was important for you to start promoting this message of empowerment at this moment in time?
Any time is the best to fight for what you believe. I feel that waiting for the right moment to do the right thing is the most common way to procrastinate. Simply talking about the right time to do ‘anything’ is a way in which our society has of promoting procrastination.
Take our case, for example. I had just had my first baby and signed myself up to become a life coach, all while living as an expat in the US. My sister in law had just come back from a long, self discovery trip abroad, and her situation was not exactly stable. We didn’t have experience in writing or producing books, but our hearts spoke and we let ourselves go with the flow.
We learned that becoming an activist only requires taking the initial step and then moving to the rhythm of your beliefs. This allowed us to connect with wonderful individuals that helped us move forward – from our illustrator and editor, to the last person that bought a copy. They all fuel our motivation.
We’ve seen a number of empowerment-themed initiatives and campaigns over the course of recent months. More broadly, why do you think it is valuable for brands to position themselves as supporters of tolerance and diversity? Why do you think so many brands are aligning themselves with this message now?
Like Justin Trudeau said, ‘it’s 2017’. This conversation about tolerance and diversity has been on the table for too long. We all understand now more than ever the power of coming together. As clients, it’s important to recognize the soul of the companies we buy from. We don’t buy what, we buy why. As a company co-owner, it is important to create community that shares more than a specific need. It’s not about selling specific items anymore, but creating deeper relationships between your brand and your tribe.
What are the next steps for Queen Girls? Where do you see the initiative heading?
It could head in multiple directions, we are open to options. As for now, we are focused on gathering feedback from our tribe and starting to create more Queens. We are planning on launching a larger collection by the end of the year.
What do you think of our big idea that, despite all the current polarization and anger, we are moving towards a more empowered future – and this is a force that brands should tap into?
I couldn’t agree more – despite the initial anger, we are all learning what Mandela said long ago – ‘resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other one to die.’ This polarization is an opportunity to explore and find new perspectives. It doesn’t serve us. We are witnessing the beginning of a transformational era, from anger and individualism to togetherness and love. This is the force that will move us all forward!
Never miss a TrendWatching Quarterly Briefing!