Living Well in London – Here For Her

Here for Her is a social enterprise founded by Rachel Ettinger of Virgin Radio TV fame.  Aiming to reduce the stigma around women’s health, Rachel is a leading light in helping women live well in London, Ontario.  Here for Her uses Rachel’s platform as a radio presenter to “talk about issues that aren’t talked about” and a clothing range to deliver it’s message and raise money for women’s causes.

Background and influences

Rachel fell into radio presenting by accident four years ago at Virgin Radio in Halifax, filling in for the regular morning show girl who had quit.

Time is a constant challenge for Rachel who gets up at 4am every day to start her breakfast radio presenting job and then works on Here for Her after her full time job.  She has so many ideas and is so excited – “there aren’t enough hours in the day!”

Rachel Ettinger from Here for Her social enterprise in london ontario

Rachel lived in a very open family where she felt able to talk about anything without judgement. Her mum is a nurse and and works in a sexual health clinic and so discussing women’s health issues was a normal thing to do.   However, when she was at University chatting to her girlfriends she realised that some weren’t confident talking about women’s issues.

One day she found herself with a very painful vaginal issue.  Having just moved to London and without a doctor (I know from experience it takes ages to get a doctor in London!) she went to the walk in clinic six times before going to emergency, unable to take the pain anymore.  The doctor said her condition was quite a common thing and was easily treatable.

However, she felt embarrassed at the hospital and at work telling people that she had a problem and “it takes a lot for me to feel uncomfortable and embarrassed so I can’t imagine how other people cope with this kind of thing.”

Here for Her launch

Here for Her has been a work in progress for around two years but really took off in July 2017 with the successful “Her First” event at At The Barre Pilates studio and with the launch of the clothing range that includes a t-shirt, dress and sweaters.  “It’s gone way better than I thought it would go and there has been no resistance at all.”

Here for Her clothing range designed by Rachel Ettinger

One of Rachel’s main challenges was not fully understanding how to run a social enterprise. “I’ve never started one before and have had to reach out to my network like never before to get help and advice.  Innovation Works has been really helpful.”

Here for Her in 2018

Rachel will be focussing on building the Here for Her Instagram as a hub for healthcare professionals to create open discussions about women’s health issues. “Education will be the focus moving forward and we will be developing 20 second videos about different aspects of women’s health.” 

She loves social media and invests a lot of time and energy into it, preferring to keep her posts relatable, real life, honest and raw…..and she never uses photoshop!

Here for Her will be expanding their clothing range with new gender neutral items’ hitting the shelves throughout 2018.  Rachel’s plan is to use the Here for Her IG community to determine where money made from clothing sales goes to in the community.  They will use polling and voting to do this.  To have your say follow @shophereforher on Instagram.

Here for Her period sweater reducing the stigma around womens health

Sustainable community giving

Rachel tells me that she met with several homeless ladies in the community and was told some harrowing stories about how women living on the streets deal with their period.

So Here for Her aims to develop sustainable community giving, where on a long term basis feminine hygiene products are donated to the homeless. Rachel wants to partner with other groups and social enterprises to help find a long term solutions to some of the problems these people have.

Go big or go home

Rachel has achieved a lot at a young age and I asked her about the key to her success. “I try really hard and I like being busy – I’m a go big or go home kind of person.”  She makes sure she attends as many events as possible, networks and gets advice from other entrepreneurs she meets along the way.

Follow @shophereforher on Instagram for clothing launches and the latest events. To shop the Here for Her clothing range click here.

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