Chapeltown creatives carving out positive space for women in Leeds and the north of England

A woman from Leeds has founded a creative community collective for women in the north of England after noticing a lack of representation in the city.

Saturday, 14th August 2021, 4:45 pm
Esta Suma, the founder of the Female Magik, and Saphire Browne, Operation Manager, are celebrating women from the North of England through workshops, events and the podcast. Photo: James Hardisty

Female Magik is a wellbeing brand which aims to give a platform to women, allowing them to connect with like-minded people while also providing resources and opportunities to help them progress in themselves and their careers.

It was founded by Esta Suma, a broadcast journalist and presenter, who created the Female Magik podcast initially to work through her own process of self-healing.

After countless trips down south to meet creatives like herself, she decided to carve out a similar space for women, particularly women of colour, in the north of England.

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Esta Suma, the founder of the Female Magik, Photo: James Hardisty

Esta, alongside friend and fellow creative entrepreneur Saphire Brown, decided to hold the first Female Magik event in 2019 at Our Place, BoomChikkaBoom, in Buslingthorpe Green.

It was a sell-out success with more than 150 attendees.

Esta, 26, from Chapeltown, said: “I chose to create Female Magik was for two reasons.

“I have been someone who has focused a lot on self healing because when I was struggling with depression I couldn't improve with conventional things that were already out there, and Female Magik was like an outlet for me to share my journey with other people.

Esta Suma, and Saphire Browne.

“Also, when I went to university and I graduated from broadcast media technologies, I realised that there was a clear lack of representation of women, especially women of colour, in the creative industry in Leeds.

“A lot of people like myself wanted to travel to London in order to feel fulfilled within their career, but because I already had one child at this point it wasn't really feasible for myself to do that.

“Myself and Saphire created the first ever community events, which sold out, and that was about heightening and raising awareness of different organisations or companies in the north of England.

“I think it is very important, financially and also mentally [that creatives are able to collaborate] because I saw a statistic that people within the creative industry have higher rates of mental health issues.

Esta hosting one of the empowerment workshops.

“That's because it's not as financially easy and stable so creating this in the north is so vital because I want to try and tell people 'look, let's just be a huge community and focus on community over competition'.

“Then we can actually create a bundle of finances within us and create something that is actually going to help the whole system instead of feeling like we have this spread out.”

She added: “It is also important for the younger generations who are in high school and university [to know there are creative opportunities in Leeds].

“I think that's the bigger picture of Female Magik - to get as many individuals and corporations together, to just hone in on Leeds and the north, and say, ‘This is how many amazing, talented people are in here so let's just do something about it instead of letting them all drift off to other places’.”

Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, Esta and Saphire have now created an online membership set to be a “go-to hub” for creatives and business in the north.

However, as well as the industry side of things, Esta also wants to make it a place for wellbeing and collaboration, where people can work to create a sustainable community for women in the north, as well as helping each other to grow and develop.

Mum-of-two Esta, who also trained as a mindset coach during lockdown, said: “We're speaking to so many different women from the digital sector, to the music, business sector - even the baking sector.

“Everyone who I’ve spoken to has the same passion - wanting to create a better sustainable community for women in the north, as well as it being, not as much as a competition, but let's just network together, because the more we network, the more we can actually create better connections and then create a better financial structure.

“People say that whenever they come to our events they meet completely new people and because we do it in completely different random places, it's like a whole new experience for people each time they come

“We try to get people from black, Asian, white, and mixed race backgrounds who are also from different business sectors, so when people come we can feel assured and reassure them that they will connect with at least one person on the panel.

She added: “I think, especially in Leeds, representation is definitely lacking within the creative industries, or the bigger corporations, and we are helping to solve that lack of representation.

“We have plenty of creative people and female founders in Leeds, but people just don't know about each other so that's what we're trying to do - connect the dots.

“The online membership, will be like the go-to hub for wellbeing but also business and creatives within the north so we can create a much better, sustainable community for people in and around Leeds to actually meet up.

"It means we can create something for ourselves instead of feeling like we have to keep going to London to do this.

“This was never supposed to really be a business, it was simply supposed to be my outlet of releasing my own pain and trauma but two years later here we are.”

The Female Magik membership launched on Saturday, August 1.

There will be a launch party held at Duke Studios in Sheaf Street on Saturday, August 14 from 11.30am to 2pm.

Guests can expect networking opportunities over tea, coffee and cake plus the first Female Magik membership workshop and masterclass.

Female Magik podcast

Female Magik is a platform for women to share their journeys and also create a space which provides resources and opportunities to connect like minded women.

At the core of its ethos is encouraging women to prioritise their wellbeing, as the brand's core message is that 'self care and love goes hand in hand with becoming successful'.

The membership includes self-development courses, a job membership directory and workshops and networking.

It also includes transformational healing tools, based on founder Esta Suma's training as a mindset coach.

As well as the membership, the brand also hosts a podcast of the same name speaking to guests such as Savannah Roqaa, aka The Savvy Baker, and also hosting live episodes for International Women’s Day.

The podcast can be found on Spotify and iTunes Apple Podcasts and full show and membership details are on the website www.femalemagik.org