Scaral: (/'ska-ruhl/) scallywag / rascal - an old east London portmanteau word meaning a bold, charming and mischievous character
It’s not in any dictionary (yet) but for us, the word SCARAL is an oral heirloom handed down from Daisy, our founder's great great grandmother who worked in the Bryant and May match factory in Bow, east London. She was a strict woman with a big heart and a strong voice and a SCARAL was what she called her ten children whenever they caused mischief.
The Bow match factory became famous in 1888 when 1,400 unskilled working class women risked starvation to walk out on strike in a desperate effort to force change. In just two weeks their demands had been met.
These 'matchgirls' were loud, confident and brash. Their actions inspired hundreds of dockers and factory workers and they marched in unity throughout London. They famously wore their own style: high heeled boots, fringed hair and velvet hats decorated with bright feathers which they bought in communal “feather clubs” so they could share the cost.
Today we should all be able to show our own character through what we wear at work. For us, the word SCARAL is a legacy from a time and place when strong women did just that. It’s why we make our SCARAL bags in bold colours and it’s why we include a small feather in all our parcels, in homage not only to those mostly anonymous women who made a stand but also to the husbands, fathers and brothers who stood beside them.
“Then a large contingent of women, match-makers, among others, advanced like a moving rainbow, for they all wore huge feathers of many colours.”
- from a letter to the People’s Press 1890 referring to the London May Day celebrations of that year