Mums We Love Who Practise Everyday Feminism

Back in the 1980s, a four-year-old child watched her parents recycle paper and glass in the French city of Lille. Today, that child is 41-year-old Claire Sancelot, Director of The Hive Bulk Foods and full-time working mum to three little girls – a seven-year-old and a pair of six-year-old twins. The French National married to a Malaysian is also the founder of Zero Waste Kuala Lumpur

“Honey, We Don’t Waste”

Zero Waste is a lifestyle philosophy that encourages the redesign of resources and their life cycles so that all products are reused. Claire promotes this philosophy through The Hive , her Bangsar-based bulk foods store with the cute tagline “Honey, We Don’t Waste”. The store also serves as a platform for her other work that supports women and larger communities.

Claire shares that she started The Hive to “provide our customers with the best quality produce at the best prices; bring people a huge range of bulk food products; support Malaysian suppliers and producers where possible; to greatly reduce packaging and waste; provide customers with the best possible service; have a great selection of organic, gluten-free, Paleo and vegan products; and to support local communities and charities.”

Claire states proudly, “We are all about empowering women.” The Hive prioritises partnerships with businesses in Kuala Lumpur that are founded by women and single mums that include makers of soap, shampoo, laundry powder, detergent, jam, and condiments, amongst many other products. Their jam maker is a single mum of two.

“As women, we are often treated as second class citizens. Even animals receive better protection than us

The Hive works with Tanma Federation, a group that empowers Burmese women refugees through handicraft. Tanma women make many products used and sold by The Hive, like its bulk bags and makeup removers. The Hive has sold hundreds of bags made by the Penan ladies at Helping Hands Penan. They also work with OA Organics, a community enterprise owned by the Orang Asli that is mainly run by women.

Claire explains why she has chosen to principally work with women owned businesses, “As women, we are often treated as second class citizens. Even animals receive better protection than us. If a woman beaten by her partner has nowhere to go, the police will still send her home. If it were an animal, the police would take the animal away from the perpetrator to keep the animal safe.”

“Women still do not have equality so our goal is to empower women as much as possible, give them work. Even though women make up half of the population, we still do not have real equality. We still do not have equal pay and our lives are more in danger. At home, there is a lot of spousal abuse. At work we face sexual harassment,” she adds.

“Your work should be your passion, I fully live my passion.”

On what drives her life’s work, Claire emphasises, “Your work should be your passion, I fully live my passion.” She encourages makchic readers to “buy products made by women, best if made by local women. If you buy your foods from supermarkets you will not empower anyone except large corporates. If you buy your food from places like The Hive you are empowering KL women. The way you spend your money has a massive effect on the community.”