The Van Girls are London’s first and only all-female packing and moving service – mostly hired by women, but sometimes men as well. “Guys who hire us kind of think it’s quite novel… and are really surprised by how strong we are,” said founder Emma Lanman.
Lanman started Van Girls in 2011, when she quit her job at the fire brigade and decided to start a business of her own. She’d seen people get excited about female firefighters, and realised it was something of a novelty for a woman to be seen doing a ‘man’s job’. She also figured that lots of women might feel safer hiring an all-female moving service.
“I thought it might actually be a valuable service,” she said. And Lanman was right – it turns out that plenty of women who live alone or don’t live with men are a lot more comfortable hiring the Van Girls – not just for safety reasons but for that feminine touch! Like 68-year-old Jean Hewitson, who moved down the street with her daughter and granddaughter last year. “We’re an all-female household,” she explained. “I thought, yes I want women packing up my house. I thought they’d be more sympathetic to my belongings really, and I’d get on with them better.”