Since starting tommy and lottie I have met so many inspiring women. So to celebrate International Women’s Day #EachForEqual I want to showcase just a few of these incredible women I admire that have turned their dreams into a reality. Each one of us is different in how we do things which makes our businesses so unique, not one of us is the same, we all experience different journeys, we all have different talents and life experiences to bring to the table but one things for sure we should all support and empower one another.
Linen and Silk by Natash – Natasha Coyne
Hi I am Natasha Coyne owner and creator of Linen and Silk by Natash, a womenswear brand creating silk and linen separates, bridesmaid dresses and occasion-wear influenced by the relaxed elegance of the Mediterranean, ethically made in the UK.
While I strive to achieve a sustainable brand, I also strive to produce ethically made garments.
Sustainable for my brand means pieces you can wear time and time again for different occasions garments that are made to last. This is how I would like to build my brand as opposed to fast fashion.
My back ground has always been in fashion and running a fashion label has always been one of my dream jobs! I have always loved beautiful fabrics and styles that don’t fade out of fashion season after season.
I think if you have a passion for starting a business go for it and invest small amount of money together with lots of energy and positivity!! Heres to International Women’s Day #EachForEqual
Nurture Collective – Miriam Pierre
Nurture Collective is a curated online marketplace for ethical and sustainable children’s toys clothing and gifts aged 0-12. We are on a mission to make it easier for parents to shop more consciously for their kids.
My top tip before starting up in business would be to get out there and talk to your potential customers find out what their life is like before you or your product comes along how are they already solving there problem and then look for a market opportunity.
Blissfully Organised – Tracy Ross
My name is Tracy Ross and I am a Professional Organiser and Home Organisation Coach. I set up Blissfully Organised ten years ago to support my clients to simplify their home management and make better use of the space that they have. As a busy working Mum I understand the effects of living in a cluttered environment and the positive benefits of being organised. Over the last ten years I have supported so many clients who were feeling overwhelmed, to make a transformation, to control the chaos and restore order into their lives. I have also supported them to make a permanent change, to create effective routines, improve time management and change purchasing behaviour. These are long-term benefits that will last a lifetime.
A STYLISHLY ORGANISED EVENING WORKSHOP
I will be running a wardrobe organisation workshop called a Stylishly Organised Evening on the 27th March with the very stylish Mel from Styled by Mel. There are a few tickets left and we’d love you to join
Simplify your home management, simplify your life!
Style with Wisdom – Lisa Wisdom
“At Style With Wisdom it’s all about building a nurturing relationship with my clients to help them get their confidence back with their style and wardrobe choices to suit their personality and lifestyle for that moment in time. With my help I guide them on building a capsule wardrobe that works on making them feel great about themselves again………..and most importantly saves time on deciding what to wear in the morning!”
“My top tip to starting your business is to always be confident that your goal is attainable. Every experience is a learning opportunity whether it is good or bad, take key notes from that experience and draw on it going forward to do things better or differently!”
Green Bean Eco Party Packs – Kirsty Collingwood
I own Green Bean Eco Party Packs, hiring out reusable party kits including tableware and decorations for children’s parties. I help people to cut out single-use items and waste at parties, providing an eco-friendly and very affordable alternative to traditional disposable party plates which will end up in landfill.
Tips for women starting their own business:
Find something you’re passionate about – your passion for what you do will shine through. Get out there and network – there are so many other great women out there who have already started their own businesses. Banish imposter syndrome: don’t let any negatives perceptions you may have of yourself get in the way of success.
Cerimonia – Helen Searle
Cerimonia is a St Albans boutique housing menswear tailoring and smart casual wear, whilst upstairs there is a bridal boutique with gorgeous gowns and accessories. We love the freedom being an independent boutique allows, meaning we work hard to source unique clothing. We offer made to measure tailoring and work with British mills and companies to make bespoke garments.
Woman starting their own business – stay strong! It takes time, planning and resilience but it is so worth it. Pace yourself – there will always be a long list of ‘to do’s’, take time to recharge occasionally, you will achieve more.
Gather + Give – Catalina Martin
Gather + Give is a conscious lifestyle store in St Albans, stocking sustainable gifts for the whole family. I carefully curate makers and brands that are all doing their utmost to tread as gently as possible on the planet. I also donate a percentage of all of my sales to World Land Trust, helping to plant trees with every order. My store also doubles as a workshop space and I showcase other mum businesses in my monthly #mummymakers.
It has always been my dream to own my own store but I have to say it has been a very steep learning curve! My top tips for anyone wanting to open their own store would be to do your homework and really work on what will make you stand out. Also, make sure you are resilient, it’s a lot of hard work setting up any business and not everything will go as planned, so you need to be able to bounce back quickly. Finally, enjoy the journey, the good days and the bad! Creating a business that you love is an amazing thing!
Mini Megan Turner – Megan Turner
Mini Megan Turner is a handmade children’s clothing company here in St Albans, established in 2015. What started off as a small venture from a spare bedroom and is now an international brand. Everything is hand made in our shop floor. Children are able to come in and see where and how clothes are made and are even able to adapt designs by changing colours and prints. The majority of our fabrics are dead stock, saving the fabric from going to landfill. We always try and source our fabrics and trimmings as close to home as possible supporting other small businesses.
My top tip for women starting a business is don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Make yourself do things that scare you a bit. You don’t get anywhere standing still, plus it’s good for the soul!
Mama Bamboo – Laura Crawford
In 2018 mother of two, Laura Crawford, decided it must be possible to design a nappy that was eco-friendly, without compromising on softness, quality and performance. After 9 months of research and product development she launched Mama Bamboo, offering parents what she believes to be the most eco-friendly bamboo disposable nappy range, in addition to 100% compostable bamboo baby wipes and a range of children’s bamboo plate ware. Just 15 months after launch, Mama Bamboo was awarded ‘Best Performance Disposable Nappy Range’ at the 2020 Mother & Baby Awards – ahead of Pampers and four of the leading supermarket nappy ranges.
Laura’s top three tips for success are: 1)Do your research, don’t just guess! Just because you think it’s a good idea doesn’t mean others will. You must understanding whether a product will sell, who your target market is and how much it will truly cost to see it through. 2)Talk – Look at your circle and you’ll find experts, experience and get real honest input and feedback. In my mum circle I’ve found accountants, marketeers, event managers, all women I knew as ‘Emma’s Mum’ or ‘Ben’s Nanny’ 3) Get ready to do everything and don’t be precious – on my best day I’m in a suit at a sales meeting and on my worst day I’m testing out the results of an anaerobic composting test and gagging on the methane fumes!
Finally. “Take a deep breathe, strap on your big girl pants and go for it! If you’ve done your research, sought advice, prepped your plan, you’re good to go. Just do it, you’ll always regret not trying if you don’t.”
Cositas – Emma Bustamante
Cositas is an award winning Home Interiors & Gift Shop based in St Albans from where we run a packed calendar of exciting creative workshops. More recently we’ve become a Pop Up Venue host supporting other small businesses who want to dip their toe into a bricks and mortar environment.
My best tip for women in business is to be kind to yourself and not take on more than you’re able to cope with at that particular time. We’re such multi- taskers that it’s easy to turn our wish list into our to do list, but I’d advise women starting a new business to bide their time. It’s all waiting there for you when the time’s right. International Women’s Day #EachForEqual
twenty_outfits – Eliza Lau Johnston
twenty_outfits sources and rebrands preloved and vintage clothes, for the busy woman who wants to be stylish, sustainable and individual. Eliza hosts styling and fashion events as a platform for women to get together to be inspired, chat and support each other. She lovingly sources clothes and edits the pieces reflecting her own style combined with what women would like to wear for all occasions. twenty_outfits also offers a personal consultation service for a style makeover or for a specific event.
Starting your own business does require passion, so I strongly believe it’s got to be something you love to do. Engaging and bouncing off ideas with other self-starters is important too so regular meet up with like minded businesses is useful and inspiring. Also regular visits to art galleries, forward thinking retail shops such as Dover Street Market, walking around London, checking out design, architecture etc, kick starts the creative juices.
The Plant Rescuer – Sarah Gerrard Jones
My business grew organically – pardon the pun – from a passion for saving plants. I started an Instagram page in 2017 to document the recovery of the plants I’d rescued, and from this a brand emerged – The Plant Rescuer. Through my connections on Instagram I turned my passion into a business; I now work as a Plant Stylist, sourcing plants for homes, businesses, film and TV. I also run plant workshops – www.theplantrescuer.com
My advice for anyone starting their own business is get on Social media, Instagram has been a fantastic platform for me. Engage with your followers, answer all your comments and above all be nice, be friendly, be inclusive and always encourage and support others. I believe strongly in Karma – you get what you give out.
Charlie & Chesca – Charlotte & Francesca
Charlie & Chesca is a British jewellery brand founded by us, Charlotte & Francesca and based just outside London. We are two mums who are also jewellery addicts with a shared obsession for making stacking bracelets and rings. Our jewellery is designed and lovingly handmade by us using only the finest materials. We focus on quality and style but without the crazy price tag.
Our tips for women starting their own business are to create a business you’re already passionate about as this will help you through the challenging times of which there are bound to be some. If it’s a partnership, start with someone you already connect with who shares the same vision and values. Exploit your personal network to create some initial growth, don’t be afraid to reach out to local businesses, local community groups and successful social media influencers to help expand your network. Be confident, don’t take criticism personally, believe in yourself and enjoy! – International Women’s Day #EachForEqual
St Albans Mums – Karen Snook
St Albans Mums for me is a way to work closely within the local community including businesses. It allows me to support my High Street and the smaller independent retailers to promote their brands.
It has opened doors for me to set up and trial new concepts like the Hertfordshire Gin Club, Style Social events and freelancing for social media accounts.
My advice would be don’t be scared of change. If something isn’t working look at ways to change it – and ask ask ask. Get opinions of a wide audience.
Abigails Flower Truck – Abigail Ross
‘You’re so brave to have quit your job and followed your dream’ I get told this often. Perhaps I was, but I don’t see it like that. Change requires huge effort – It is really hard, but so worth it.
Since starting my small business, I have begun to stay in the moment and appreciate all the little miracles of life, which previously I had been too busy to notice. A beep and a wave from a passerby as I drive about in the truck or a beautiful note of kind wishes to attach to a bouquet. These are the moments I now find time to pay great attention too and most importantly enjoy, which is incredibly rewarding. The idea of Abigail’s Flower Truck stemmed from (excuse the pun) wanting to create a more hands on approach, and In an effort to escape technology that now plays such a large part in our everyday lives, I was incredibly keen to bring back an element of traditional shopping habits, old school charm and encourage conversation within communities.
A flower truck anyone can come to and create their own bouquets as little or as large as they wish. Growing up by the beach in Devon was magic, but I often felt cut off from so many things available to others, the truck allows me to offer the pop up across the wider community without limiting the possibility of anyone enjoying it, as I could come to them, wherever they are. International Women’s Day #EachForEqual
Phase Out Plastic – Jill Watson
Phase Out Plastic is primarily a weekly market stall which stocks products that are alternative to single use plastic items. Reusables such as cups, water bottles, etc compostable, or recycled bathroom and kitchen items and more natural products such as mineral toothpaste, oil based soap and shampoo etc. I wanted to create a place where people can come and find/look at alternatives and ask questions or give feedback. I aim to be an information hub as well as a retailer!
I’d say if you have a business idea then get as much detail as you can into your plan and allow yourself enough thinking time to make sure you can set things up how you want. And then do it your way…..it’s your individual ideas that will set you apart from the rest of the pack! International Women’s Day #EachForEqual
Lacon Design – Natalie Lacon
I started Lacon Design in 2013 as a part-time venture, while I studied part-time for a BA (Hons) in Graphic Design and juggled both around my children. Initially I focused on web design but as I grew in confidence I started offering brand identity services as well, using what I was learning in my degree. The benefits for my clients is that I can offer a full end to end service and ensure that their brand identity is consistent across all touch points from websites and social media, through to business cards, flyers and brochures. The benefit for me is that I get to use both my technical and creative skills and its since become my USP. It may sound a bit cliche but I really do love working with ambitious and passionate entrepreneurs that put their heart and soul into their business.
My advice for any woman (or man!) starting a business would be to start before you’re ready. I think as women we have a tendency to think everything has to be perfect before we start and I know as a designer I can be particularly prone to procrastination if I don’t think something is good enough. Do your research, look at what your competitors are doing, see how you can do it better and understand your target markets needs. But above all, believe in yourself, your idea and get going; you can refine and review your business as you progress. Take action!
Thanks to all the ladies who took part in this article you truly are inspiring just like the ones reading this.
Happy International Women’s Day #EachForEqual