Rewind

The Week in Women: ISIS swindlers, aggressive showers, and road-kill chic

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Start-up culture may be dominated by men, but don’t ever think that guys have a monopoly on innovation. Over the past week, a slew of enterprising women made headlines with their clever, wacky, and sometimes-illegal businesses and inventions. Let’s take a look back.

London-based designer Elisabeth Buecher has created shower curtains that will punish you for wasting water. One curtain is covered in spikes that inflate when it’s time to get out and dry off; another inflates around you after four minutes, trapping you inside the shower. Buecher said that she is more interested in “provoking a debate around water issues” than bringing the curtains to market. But who wouldn’t want to buy a shower curtain that tries to kill you in the middle of your soapy rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody?

Three Chechen women managed to swindle ISIS out of some $3,300. The enterprising crew connected with ISIS recruiters on social media and pretended to be interested in relocating to Syria. The only thing holding them back, they claimed, was a lack of funds. Once their friendly ISIS representative wired over some cash, the women deleted their social media accounts and absconded with the money. The operation was soon found out by Chechen police, and the women were arrested. But let’s face it: what they really deserve is a big high-five.

Pamela Paquin, founder of Petite Mort Fur, is turning road-kill into ethical furs worth thousands of dollars. With the help of her local highway department and animal control, Paquin tracks down squished animal carcasses, skins them, and turns the fur into neck muffs ($1,500), scarf-and-belt combos ($2,500), and stoles ($2,000). She sells her goods on Etsy, and seems to be making a veritable killing (sorry, not sorry).

And speaking of Etsy: a new report released by the online marketplace shows that a whopping 86 percent of its businesses are run by women. It’s an interesting statistic, considering that only one-third of businesses in the U.S. are women-led. Analysts have suggested that Etsy draws female entrepreneurs because the company affords its sellers plenty of autonomy and flexible hours, allowing them to monetize their talents in new ways. Whatever the reasons behind this phenomenon, Etsy’s women-driven businesses are surely cause for celebration. Hand-knit tea cozies for everyone!

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