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Photography James A. Grant, via The Mushpit
Photography James A. Grant, Skinny Girl Diet shot for The Mushpit

How to create an all-girl gang of creativity

BabyFace is a little black book of the brightest female talent – here its founders school us on how to put together a team fuelled by girl power

Girls have figured out that working together produces magic results. Although, even with such proven facts we’re not seeing enough spaces – online, IRL or wherever you want it to be – allowing women to grow individually, help each other grow or grow together, no matter what their discipline. You don’t all need to have the same talent to work together, and, in fact, if you create a pool of different skills and expertise then helping one another becomes second nature. Journalist in need of a photographer? Done. Nail art guru in need of a hair stylist? Sure. Creative agency BabyFace bring such women together – from art curator Antonia Marsh to London menswear designer Katie Eary, zine queens The Mushpit girls and journalist Phoebe Lovatt. Founded by London-based duo Claire Burman and Nellie Eden, below they school us in how – and why – to put together a team fuelled on girl power.

EMBRACE YOUR CONTEMPORARIES

“We never felt uncomfortable working with men – we really quite enjoy it – we just noticed that women worked a little differently and that a traditional office-space wasn't always conducive to the most inspiring work – yep, we've both worked dull 9-5s. We are not an all-female, men-bashing collective, we're actually quite man-friendly, but the reality is that there aren't enough places for women to collaborate with other women in a professional manner that doesn't look like the inside of a Rymans. Look at BabyFace girl Phoebe Lovatt's girls-only travelling-office project, the WW Club, proof that there's a thirst for new and gendered work spaces that exist both on and offline. It's a powerful thing to choose with whom and when you want to work and it's a thing that we've really come to value. Something magic happens when you get a bunch of peers in the same place and working on a project together. Heck, why wouldn't you want to hang out with a whole load of potential friends, create some amazing content and then all hit the pub? Yeah, you get it now.”

GET A ROOM TOGETHER

“Girls are professionals at pretending to not know each other. Sure, you've admired her drawings from a distance; maybe tapped twice on that editorial she put together and you've definitely read that bull-busting article she shared on Twitter, so it's time to get your big girl pants on and step out from behind your iPhone. BabyFace is all about actualising that sense of admiration we all feel for the women around us and initiating IRL (like, actual face to actual face) conversation: bigger than a ‘like’ on Instagram, and more than an endorsement on LinkedIn, we believe in creating a proper touch-and-you-can-feel-it community. Sure we're online too but it's time to stop admiring each other from afar. Helping to aid collaboration, organic networking and general girl chat is kind of our thing.”

CULTIVATE YOUR FRIENDSHIPS

“Never work with children or animals”, “don't shit where you eat”, “don't mix business with pleasure” – who on earth came up with this shit? Seriously, don't listen to them. Working with your friends can be an unbridled creative experience. Why? Well, taking for granted that you're sharing the same end goal and that you both like the same 'office' music, you could be onto a winner. If they're the right partner then welcome to a whole world of trust; late, hungover starts, laughing till your guts feel like they’re falling out, arguments, strained over-laptop-eye-contact, passive aggressive texts, impromptu dancing, loads of dating advice and a unique working life. Women are brilliant at sensitively supporting one another, so if you have a girlfriend whom you've discussed an idea with more than thrice – we beg of you, do it. Keash Braids are a perfect example close to our hearts, of two real-life school mates building a business together. Just remember, when you're with your other friends keep all that ‘did you reply to that email about the…?’ chat to a minimum and to do one totally unrelated work thing a week where no one can mention the ‘w’ word.”

RECOGNISE THAT FEMINISM ISN’T A FASHION TREND

“Sex sold in 1995, and in 2015, feminism sells. It's a double-edged tampon for sure. You’ve got your Caitlin Morans and your Beyoncés, and yeah, while we all occasionally find ourselves straining to hit the high notes of ‘Flawless’ on the 149 bus (just us?) but we're also sick of huge corporations cashing in on the feminist cause. Don't piggyback on trending topics or trivialise a cause (you will get rumbled). We're pro bono, passionate and committed to furthering awareness around poor attitudes towards women and the female sex that continue to exist. We genuinely believe there should be a place for girls to proudly share their work and a place for 'normal' girls to voice their interests and concerns. For us, equality is the end goal.”

GET YOURSELF A MOTLEY CREW

“Our collective is non-separatist, non-partisan and all-inclusive; we're proud to host women from all walks of life, work and heritage. We have 20-year-old political activists in Tijuana, photographers in Buenos Aires and filmmakers in Hackney on our site and we're constantly looking to diversify our members and our audience. We run a regular feature called ‘BabyMamas’ (the only prerequisite is that you have to have kids) where we chat to 'older' women about their lives, experiences, regrets and clubbing-days, and it's just about the most inspiring thing we get to do. Try working with people who are extremely established and people who are just beginning their careers – whose backgrounds and disciplines are so varied it's hard to believe they occasionally share a postcode or a mutual friend. It'll do your business the world o' good.”

YOU WILL BE JUDGED ON YOUR APPEARANCE – EMBRACE IT

“That stuff your mum told you about not judging a book by its cover should apply in a professional environment. The reality is, it does not always. We called our agency 'BabyFace' because we're both constantly told how young we look. We are, of course, young. But it gets a little patronising as a woman trying to be taken seriously when colleagues, peers, dates, strangers, shop owners, and bar workers comment on your height and appearance. Being mistaken for 17-years-of-age, while flattering is immensely frustrating (and it implies we couldn't order a white Russian in an American bar. Oversensitive? Us? Jog on…). Bottom line is make your individuality your strength, do your thing and shut the #haters down. When we learnt to give over to it and let our secret source of eternal-youth (Quorn scotch eggs) work in our favour, things came together. Our point of difference has become our trademark.”

To find out more about BabyFace click here, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for a more frequent fix. The collective also recently collaborated with London brand Illustrated People to create a baby blue t-shirt, available to buy now