three women in renaissance attire sitting at spinning wheels working on wool

The Spinsterhood

What's with the name Spinster Sisters? What in the world is a Spinsterhood? We are frequently asked to explain the name of this company, Spinster Sisters Co., or even defend it from a feminist perspective. So, let's draw a line in the sand. Is the word spinster derogatory? 

It may have been once. But that's changing, and it's thanks to feminism.

If someone calls a woman a spinster, and they mean it as an insult, they are making one key assumption: that the woman is ashamed to be unmarried. Au contraire, my friend. In fact, we see a woman's freedom to be single as the ultimate feminist win. 

Before it all started

Years before Kelly Perkins founded this company, she and her sister went to their first craft fair – Kelly, selling her first batches of soap, and her sister, selling homemade fabric Christmas ornaments. They needed a business name to sign up for it, and both were unmarried at the time. They chose the name Spinster Sisters Co., and in doing so, made a nod to the long history of unmarried women doing paid work. Of course they never realized that cheeky name was the start of a larger brand voice and what is now a strong, burgeoning brand in the personal care category. Although she since married the love of her life, Kelly continues to embrace the Spinster Sisters name, and leans into the fun attitude towards the feminist reclamation of the word Spinster.

 

black and white illustration of spinning wheel
Maybe a spinning wheel symbolizes empowerment after all.

 

The word spinster refers to the occupation of spinning wool, and dates back to the 14th century (Merriam-Webster). As a job commonly held by women, it became synonymous with singlehood, for many unmarried women worked as spinsters to support themselves. Eventually, spinster was used as an official term for an unmarried woman on official documents; the female equivalent of bachelor. It was even used as an occupation-inspired surname. We think Kelly CEOster has an interesting ring to it. How does it work with your occupation? 

We might assume nowadays that spinsters were not single by choice. For some this may have been true, but for others, the life of a self-supporting single woman was preferable to marriage. That includes women who identified as LGBTQ+ and women who chose to dedicate their lives to their work or their vocation in a community (JSTOR Daily).

An empowering choice

While some say Spinsters are women unlikely to wed, we say she’s an innovator and pioneer. Fiercely independent, she chooses her marital status on her own terms, empowering her to forge her own path, even when the odds are against her. She finds ways to create a future that is better than the one she inherited. At Spinster Sisters, we celebrate these pioneers and like to think we’re channeling our inner Spinsters as we develop the cleanest, most environmentally friendly products we possibly can. We bring a playful approach to a serious mission, creating a fun #spinsterhood for everyone who shares our passion for doing good for people and the planet. Does that include you?

a woman in silhouette in front of a cloudy sky with raised arms looking accomplished 
Independence is a powerful feeling.

14 comments


  • Theresa G.

    I first tried Spinster Sisters in 2019 when I came across it in Whole Foods. My first (and still favorite) product is the soy candles that dual as lotion. But have fallen head over heels with so many of them.


  • Jona

    Love everything about Spinster Sisters. I’m a Spinsteress for life!!


  • Sarah

    I always took the name as an empowering sign of community :)


  • Debra

    I didn’t know that being a spinster derived from women spinning wool; how interesting! What a great name for this independent company!


  • Michele

    Love the products and the story!


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