A rich and powerful man once asked me what I planned to do next.
When I told him I intended to start a business and sell feminist stationery, he expected me to fail.
Reader, I defied him.
I set up Clavis & Claustra in 2015 after moving back home to Yorkshire. I'd missed the hills, the mills, the violent winter chills of the north. And after working in the Oxford and London publishing scene for nearly a decade, I was ready for a new challenge. I wanted to create products with equality and diversity built in from the start: lovely things made for feminists by a feminist.
I have a long-standing love affair with history. Not conquests, kings and empires. But the stories of women who looked at the expectations and constraints placed upon them and said "Nope." I wanted to celebrate their stories, and imagine their voices as if we heard them now. What would Elizabeth I's Instagram account look like? What if witches had been able to troll their accusers on Twitter? What if Emily Wilding Davison had live-streamed her protests from Westminster? It's history, but not as you know it.
Being a stationery addict, I have an entire bookcase loaded with notebooks which are too nice to use, greetings cards I'm hoarding for the perfect occasion, colouring books (because self-care), and other such necessities. So many times have I taken swanky stationery with me to an important meeting - not so much to impress, but to boost my own confidence. As a shy person, it helps to have armour sometimes, even if that armour is a feminist tote bag. Makes me feel like a bonafide Boudicca.
So I set about designing my own armour. Taking inspiration from the history books I've loved since childhood, the novels I read at university, and the many awesome social justice movements of our time, I've created items which you can give to the rebels in your life or treasure for yourself. That feeling when you're ready to take on the world and win? That's what I want you to have.
Liberate your inner warrior.
– Cat Crossley, owner