The Women’s Room Salon: Women of Substance

Women of substance

Take one fabulous location with an amazing view of the best city in the world, delicious cocktails and mini meringues, four inspiring speakers and 80 of our readers and friends and what do you have? Women of Substance, of course – our very first Women’s Room Salon.

The Ace Hotel Women of Substance final

Jessica and Olivia from the Ace

Our sold out event on Tuesday night surpassed all our expectations and turned out to be an evening of witty conversation, new best friends and food for thought. Held in the recently opened Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, our hosts could not have been more fabulous.

Olivia and Jessica we salute you – without you, this event would not have happened. Delayed building work in the Ace bar, meant our original venue wasn’t ready and we had to re-locate to the unfinished roof space – which turned out to be just fine, as the view of the city, more than made up for the “un- Aced” space.

We started the evening with cocktails created by the Ace barman, using Hendricks Gin over ice, a dash of peach and plum bitters and topped up with tonic. The Meringnue Girls provided us with an array of rainbow coloured, flavoured mini meringues, while Florist Hatty Fox demonstrated how to make modern buttonholes (no carnations here).

Women of Substance The Womens RoomConversation flowed as Twitter handles became real people, old friends and colleagues caught up and Amanda and I finally relaxed a little.

The highlight of the evening was of course the conversation with our Women of Substance, Debbi Evans (founder of Libertine), Angela Flanders (Perfumer), Jane Shepherdson (CEO of Whistles) and Viv Groskop (writer, presenter and Comedian) – who quite honestly (if there are any TV companies are reading) needs her own chat show/comedy series.

Debbi & Angela

Debbi and Angela (photograph by Fraser Carr Miles)

Jane & Viv

Jane and Viv and my favourite tweet from the evening

Annoyingly we forgot to record the conversation (so let us know what you remember) but our highlights included:

Women in Powerwhy there are still not enough women in positions of power – either in politics or the boardroom?
Jane – “Even in fashion, at board level women represent less than 10%. It’s shocking”

Why don’t women know some of the short cuts to get to the top?
“Men 80% are self promotion, 20% actual work, while women are busy getting on with it”.
“Women get more done.”

Is there a special place in Hell for Women who don’t help other women?
“Definitely.” – all
Female support is essential and we are so good at it.”
“It seems to be ok for women to adopt a maternal role when managing people, but when women are tough (and more male) they are criticised” – Debbi

Does Technology empower, or overwhelms us?
“Networking has helped me more than anything else” – Debbi
“I’m a fan of a hand written note” – Angela
“Technology has made me more reactive & less proactive” – Jane

The importance of good manners and being nice to people?
“if you really want to be heard – don’t shout, drop your voice” – Angela

The Importance of standing your ground:
“Sometimes you have to stand up to the bullies and be tough – then they listen to you”.

Style at any age:
“The Whistles woman wants to look great, without looking like they’ve made a massive effort: – Jane
“I’ve never seen so many statement necklaces in one room” – Viv (true –  more of this on Friday)

On retirement: 
“I never want to retire, why would I” – Angela”
“Anyone who can make a living doing something they love is very lucky” – Jane

Goddie Bags Women of Substance

Ros Shiers prints, Whistles rings, Vita Liberta, Buckitt bagskey rings, Angela Flanders perfume and Libertine magazines filled our goody bags –   thanks all

The conversation ended with everyone agreeing that we were all proud to call oursleves feminists and hopefully the term is being reclaimed by the younger generation.

Jane Brocket (writer and blogger) was the lucky winner of our golden ticket- a night for two in the Ace Hotel – and we retired to the bar to carry on the conversation and drink more cocktails (note to self – must have food next time).

The feeling of positivity and female solidarity in the room was wonderful and made us resolve to make our salons a regular thing. Five years of blogging (its our birthday on the 13th of October) can occasionally take its toll, but meeting our readers and realising we have built such an amazing community of women, made it all worth while.

Much later in the evening I received a text from my reluctant to call herself a feminist, 17 year old daughter – “Very inspiring and a lovely evening, with interesting women.”

Couldn’t have put it better myself.

Huge thanks to all our speakers, sponsors, readers and friends for making our first event so special.


  • It was a fantastic evening – and yes, great to meet real and virtual friends – I had a brilliant time. Thank you!

  • Julie says:

    A lovely evening – thought Viv was very funny – loved all the necklaces, the very interesting guest speakers and meeting you both. Looking forward to the next one! Very well done to all involved. Julie

  • Andrea says:

    Sounds like such a great evening, can you hold one ‘up North” for all your Yorkshire followers sometime soon please!!

  • Amanda says:

    What an excellent idea! Yorkshire is on the list for sure….A

  • Claire says:

    My highlight was that I chose to wear my new camo shirt from Whistles and it turned out Jane Shepherdson was wearing the same one. Unfortunately I don’t have the matching trousers (yet)! Knew I was on trend!! Thnaks for a great evening.

  • Jane says:

    And very fabulous it looked too Claire – made me want to buy it.
    J x

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