Mitchell & Cooper join call to #BalanceforBetter as they celebrate their all-female design team.


Mitchell & Cooper has always been a company that strives to innovate and push boundaries, and as industry leaders in the manufacture and distribution of light catering equipment, the value an effective and balanced team brings is something the company is well aware of. As International Women’s Day looks to work towards #BalanceforBetter this year, the company is proud to celebrate their all-female design team, in an industry that is arguably still perceived as being male-dominated.

Co-owner and Creative Project Director at Mitchell & Cooper, Kat Cooper, explains how a female team came about and highlights the importance of diversity when hiring and integrating into a team:

“Hiring is tricky, but exciting, and is an opportunity to build the future of the company, and hiring talented female employees is a key part of that. Manufacturing was a male dominated industry but attitudes and values are changing. Roles are being examined and re-evaluated, and Mitchell & Cooper believe there are some incredible women in this industry and they are actively contributing to the positive change in perception on a daily basis.”

As Creative Projects Director, Kat Cooper manages Dorota Biniecka and Julia Fowler, Mitchell & Cooper’s Product Designer and Design & Development Engineer respectively. The trio are responsible for all of Mitchell & Cooper’s product development, from initial concepts of new product lines to the technical feasibility, safety and usability of these products as they continue from development to release.

Talking about their team dynamic, both as a unit but also as part of the bigger Mitchell & Cooper family, Dorota highlights the benefits a diverse hiring policy has for the company: “Appreciation and awareness of what each person can contribute to the overall goal of the company is essential, and so flexibility to allow employees to do great things within a great environment is key. Our team is balanced and this creates a shared value for our business.”

Julia, the newest member of the team, adds that “Mitchell & Cooper is empathetic, considerate and most importantly, aware of the value that each person can bring. Being met with a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere creates a great environment to work in, and being part of a multidisciplinary team keeps you on your toes, so you’re always striving to achieve your best.”

As a company, Mitchell & Cooper has already seen the benefits of their design team’s working dynamic, with the success of their first in-house manufactured appliance, the Crustastun. Going forward, inclusivity, equality and diversity will remain key factors for Mitchell & Cooper as they continue to grow and challenge their own benchmark of success. Speaking of the important role International Woman’s Day plays in challenging gender roles and perceptions, Kat Cooper enthuses that “International Women’s Day helps to demonstrate what is possible and what opportunities are out there for women. It also helps to encourage and cultivate conversation, giving us a chance to redefine roles for both women and men, as part of a constructive confrontation of issues at play. The ‘Balance for Better’ theme this year is especially important for businesses to take note of, and hopefully will help form a positive movement towards diversity and increased success for those industries that push forward and accept the challenge”.

For more information on International Women’s Day and this year’s theme of #BalanceforBetter visit www.internationalwomensday.com.


Image left to right - Dorota Biniecka, Kat Cooper, Julia Fowler

Mitchell & Cooper Design Team Employee Profiles


Kat Cooper
Co-owner and Creative Project Director

Kat Cooper has 18 years’ experience in Product Development and Project Management, channelling the last 9 years within the Food & Drink Industry.
Kat recently received the Women in Business Award recognising her contribution and commitment to business in the South East of England. Alongside her team Kat has achieved multiple Products of Excellence Awards & was selected and recognised alongside Guy Cooper, her brother at Mitchell & Cooper, for the Top 100 Family in Businesses in the UK.
Kat exudes passion and drive at every step, focusing on design process and evolving design concepts from leading trends dictated by the end user activity. She is a keen advocate of recognising sustainability, resource impact, materials and packaging improvements from the initial concept through to launch.
She is a mum of two, and alongside her role at Mitchell & Cooper, is Co-Owner of Good Things Brewing; a fully sustainable brewery, located in the South East of England.

Dorota Biniecka
Product Designer

Dorota Biniecka has 7 years' industry experience, with a background working across multiple disciplines including product and graphic design, as well as branding, art direction, product photography and design research. She has taken projects from an initial idea through to the manufacture of the finished product.
Dorota has a 1st class, BSc degree in Product Design with a Sandwich Year from the University of Sussex and a 1st class Master’s degree in Design Innovation Management from Loughborough University London, completed as part of her continuous professional development.
The key skills Dorota developed as part of the MSc course centre around the use of design tools in business context and advanced design research (planning and execution) and problem-solving skills. Dorota developed a number of skills in Design Thinking and Design-led Innovation Strategy. These involved learning tools such as primary (interviews, observation) and secondary (market research) data collection, rapid data analysis, synthesis of findings, ideation and user testing of developed solutions with stakeholders, Business Model Innovation, all whilst working as part of a diverse team. Dorota developed a particular interest in design research as a way to discover user’s motivations and emotions.
Dorota's thesis focused on executing a Design and Innovation Capability Audit on the company to inform development of an innovation strategy and contribute to advancement of the company's use of design. Dorota presented a paper, based on interim findings of this research, at a prestigious R&D Management Conference in 2018, hosted by Politecnico di Milano. She is also looking to publish further findings of the research at the Academy of Design Innovation Management Conference in 2019 in London.
Moreover, Dorota is continuing collaboration with Loughborough University as a Visiting Scholar to publish in academic journals.

Julia Fowler
Design & Development Engineer

Julia Fowler, Mitchell & Cooper’s Design Engineer, is primarily focused on the technical application and feasibility of concept designs. Julia has an embedded desire for solving problems, getting well and truly stuck in and not letting go until the problem or challenge is solved. Julia links research, requirements and need, whilst uncovering the crucial design and engineering elements of a project with potential technical applications and manufacturing processes, contributing to all levels and considerations of usability and safety factors.
Julia has been running various projects and teaching STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects at Uckfield RAF air cadets for over three years and is registered with STEM UK to work with schools and local groups as a STEM ambassador for the South East England Hub. The role gives her a strong sense of contribution to positive change as the ability to see a passion for engineering develop among young females is very rewarding.
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