The Ladies who Rock Paris – Women Owned Business Paris

March23, 2020
by Emily Dilling

Women-Owned Businesses Paris


women owned business paris

Every March, I am touched by the outpouring of support and raised consciousness around the importance of women’s rights and, equally important, the importance of women (and men) supporting women and the contributions they make to the world around them. As an American expat living in France for the past 15 years, I am constantly in awe of the accomplishments of my sister expats who have not only made a home abroad but have changed the local landscape through the work that they do. In honor of Women’s History month, we’ve decided to highlight inspirational business owners in the Paris community- going beyond just food and beverage but also looking at health, beauty, cultural, and spiritual realms in which amazing expat women in Paris are making their mark.

Penelope Fletcher, Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore

women owned business Paris

Whenever I pop into Treize au Jardin (also owned by expat women!) for an all-day breakfast or coffee pick-me-up, my special treat to myself is to allow time to linger at the Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore, the tiny English language bookshop located right next door. It’s impossible to say which is more enjoyable – a fluffy homemade buttermilk biscuit from Treize or a lively conversation with Penelope Fletcher, the Canadian owner of Red Wheelbarrow. Penelope has cultivated a collection of classics, children’s literature, Paris history, and books by women authors that are sure to ignite any anglophone’s passion for reading. Stay to browse and meet other avid readers while you decide what book to adopt and take home. Penelope provides comfort food for the mind and an oasis in a busy city, which is welcoming to all.

Nicole Pembrook, Nicole Hair Care

Women owned business Paris

California born beauty expert Nicole Pembrook has been serving the black community in France for 15 years via her personalized hairstyling services Nicole Hair Care, and her online shop, International Beauty Expert , where she also has started promoting her masterclasses. Before Nicole started offering her personalized and attentive services to Africans, African Americans, and more Black Parisians all headed to the same neighborhoods to have their hair done – neighborhoods like the Château d’Eau quartier in the 10th arrondissement in Paris. While this area is a hub of commerce for black beauty and hair products, the hairstyling experience is often hasty and lacks a personal touch. Nicole, with her background in being a freelance hairstylist in the fashion and television industry, offers her range of experience and knowledge along with a personal touch to an underserved community in Paris. And what’s amazing about Nicole is that her talents are most definitely not limited to black hair. This is one lady who is bringing hair love to all those fabulous women who wish to pamper themselves.

Mary Iriarte, Jay & Joy

women owned business Paris

Venezuelan by birth and Parisian by choice, Mary Iriarte did not choose the easiest challenge to take on and make her mark in France. However, the feat of making vegan cheese turned out to be suited to this passionate, industrious, and fearless expat. Endless apèros where Mary, as a vegan, felt left out of the assiette de fromage scene inspired her to create a plant-based alternative for the vegan and dairy-free community. The result is Jay & Joy an organic vegetable creamery featuring vegan versions of French cheese favorites and much, much more (there’s even vegan foie gras!). Mary uses a groundbreaking technic mimicking the traditional fermentation cheesemaking practices, but uses plant-based substitutes along the way ensuring a 100% cruelty-free product that retains the richness, creaminess, and all-around deliciousness of your favorite French cheese!

Amanda Bankert, Boneshaker Doughnuts

women owned business Paris

Combining her culinary experience from the United States, Ireland, and France, Amanda Bankert brings joy to Parisians at Boneshaker Doughnuts, an American-Irish enterprise founded with her husband Louis Scott. The shop’s seasonal menu (pumpkin spice in the autumn, strawberry, and rosewater in the spring) and creative offerings, including a doughnut featuring a beer glaze and brown butter and toffee popcorn, bring crowds from morning until the shop sells out. Amanda’s keen eye for bringing together anglophone and French culture has made the shop a success and opened Parisian eyes to a whole new world of pâtisserie!

Jacqueline Ngo Mpii, Little Africa Paris

Jacqueline Little Africa

At Cook’n with Class, we have a special spot in our heart for Jacqueline Ngo Mpii of Little Africa Paris, which we partnered with last year for the Afrofunk event in Paris when chef Mpho was in the kitchen with our founder, chef Eric Fraudeau. More than just a guide to Paris, Cameroonian born Jacqueline seeks to bring together the commerce and cultural spots of the Goutte d’Or neighborhood in the 18th arrondissement, otherwise known as “Little Africa”. In 2014 she released the official guidebook for the area entitled simply, Little Africa. Aiming to highlight and celebrate African presence in the world, Jacqueline focuses on her immediate surroundings and uses the Little Africa platform to share African culture with others. Whether it be the best African textile shops, markets, hairdressers, or restaurants, Jacqueline assures that Africans looking for a bit of home – and those who want to experience all that Africa has to offer – will know just where to go!

So next time you’re in Paris, be sure to get in contact with one or all of these enterprising ladies. What are some of your favorite Women-owned businesses in Paris?

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women owned business paris


Emily Dilling

blogger emily, contributor

Emily Dilling is a France based writer and author of My Paris Market Cookbook: A Culinary Tour of French Flavors and Seasonal Recipes. In 2005 Emily moved to Paris from her native California and began exploring the cities markets, restaurants, and cafés. In 2010 she founded the blog Paris Paysanne, where she writes about her favorite addresses and artisans in the city. She is also the producer and host of the Paris Paysanne Podcast. Emily currently lives in the Loir-et-Cher region of France, where she writes and works in the grapevines.


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