Guys have their man caves, but what have we got? She sheds. Yes, a record number of yard sheds are being bought up by women, and not a single one of them is donning her gardening gloves. Increasingly, female entrepreneurs are retreating to their backyards to set up shop.
“She Sheds” are now a thing on Facebook and Pinterest, and after glancing at a few, you'll surely find yourself - as I did - openly lusting after a space of your own, even if it's just to read or meditate away from a noisy life.
Blessed luck for self-employed women with yard space in which they can create and run a legitimate business.
The work done by the women, aka as “sheddies”, is as varied as the sheds. The women are artisans and novelists and aestheticians and PR execs. One thing they all have in common is the need to retreat from the havoc of home to run their respective businesses.
"When I walk up the garden, I’m going to work," says jewellery maker, Emma Mitchell. "I am leaving the house behind, even though it’s only about 10 metres away. I’m able to separate the rest of my chaotic, stay-at-home mum life and go. We live in a little cottage and we’re quite child-focused. It’s good to get up here because I can then be an artist rather than a mum."
For Mills & Boon novelist, Louise Allen, the shed is essential to firing her imagination and eliminating certain, er, distractions.
"My husband Alan can thump about in the house and I can cut off completely – I can’t tell you what it’s like trying to write a passionate love scene set in 1810 when Formula One is on in the background. But I sit here and I look at the weeds and I daydream a bit."
Allen's shed doesn't have internet access, nor does it have a kettle (because then she would need the bathroom). Her husband calls it a shed, but to Allen, who writes full time, it's a "studio."
"My clients know I work from a shed," admits PR exec Charlie Le Rougetel. "Whenever I meet them, they always ask, 'How’s the ‘shoffice’?' So far, nobody’s ever been here for a meeting, but I still made an effort to stamp the company identity on it .... It’s just to give me a sense of purpose and ownership: it’s branded."
One thing's for sure. It beats the rat race. And it beats plugging away at the kitchen table with Caillou whining in the background.
"With the shed, you’ve got the luxury of working from home, but you’ve got the luxury of being away from it, too. I can lock the door and that’s it, I’ve finished work," said Laura Worgan, who runs a beauty salon from her shed or as she prefers to call it, a "summerhouse."