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Apr

12

Create Talent LTD – Start-up Story

This is probably not your typical start-up success story but here goes….

I decided to start my first business in August 2016 following a career in Education which whilst I enjoyed it I found myself increasingly frustrated at the lack of autonomy I had. The organisation went into a period of restructure and redundancies, so the timing felt right to finally make the leap.

I had always wanted to start and run my own business but had never really had the opportunity or a good enough idea to make it happen. 

 

 

Due to the changing education landscape at the time, particularly around apprenticeships the timing was ideal to offer an impartial service to both businesses and education providers to set up or improve apprenticeship programmes.

Initially I had no idea if I could really do it, if the business concept would work in a sustainable way. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The original concept grew rapidly, and the business evolved to offer many different services alongside an expanding team.

However, what inevitably comes with the kind of growth we experienced at such a rapid pace were growing pains. And we had several of them as the business grew and expanded.

During this time Steph and I had been going through fertility treatment in order to have our first child. Honestly, I think people around us thought we were crazy embarking on starting a new business and planning to have a baby at the same time, but for us it felt right.

 

 

No one prepares you for the emotions you will go through during this process and challenges you will face. We had faced 6 unsuccessful attempts of IUI and had to move onto IVF which still took two attempts until Steph finally fell pregnant with Sophia. This spanned a period of two years involving a lot of hard work, expense and by far the hardest emotional roller coaster we had ever been through as a couple. At times we had faced complete devastation and were almost ready to give up but knew we had to keep going to complete our family.

 

 

We have found this is all still very much a taboo subject that not many people talk about, exactly what is involved in going through fertility treatment and just how hard it is. And indeed the fact that we are both female, society just has no concept of what it is like to in effect be the “other woman” in this scenario and watch your wife endure a variety of procedures and all the emotion that goes with it. The feeling of sheer helplessness at times was unbearable, but it’s not about you.

When we finally found out that Steph was pregnant it was the most amazing feeling ever, having worked so hard – but we knew this part of our journey was only just beginning.

 

 

During this time Steph also joined me full time on the business and our lives felt like they were moving in the right direction.

Cutting a very long story short the original business I had started back in 2016 had grown to offer so many services that it was fraught with issues and a significant number of pretty big challenges to overcome.

Sophia was born on the 28th June 2018 and although people say this all the time you never really know until you experience it for yourself, but life as we knew it literally changed in an instant. The second we held our tiny Newborn baby in our arms we knew our lives had changed forever. 

 

 

The birth of Sophia whilst the absolute happiest day of our lives completely changed my perspective on life and everything else in it. For that reason I knew business had to face some tough changes but I wasn’t quite sure what. Some of the challenges I was faced with at this time felt completely insurmountable. 
 

I decided to make some drastic changes. I closed what was my original business, restructured our services, created a fresh new offer and devised a new brand ready to relaunch our second business which we are only just on the cusp of now!

 

 

The new business will launch formally during May of 2019 and will begin our new business journey, taking everything, we have learned to date and applying it for a second time creating sustained growth supporting our clients to improve their businesses.

We all as people and parents want to provide the best for our families and our children, and to do this we need to be the best possible version of ourselves we can be. That is what should motivate us in everything we do, I wasn’t always the best version of myself I could be in order to provide for my family, so something just had to change. And whilst by far one of the toughest periods of our lives it has allowed us to develop something better and more sustainable than before.

 

 

In the entrepreneurial world failures are not talked about nearly enough and we should share our experiences with each other more often as this is what fuels our learning to create better businesses. An entrepreneur’s journey is a period of iteration and learning which I think actually is quite aligned to parenthood – you dive in with both feet without a clue what you are doing but learn on the job and get there in your own way in the end. 
 

I can honestly say I still feel like I have no idea what I am doing in business or as a parent but we are embracing the journey and loving every second of it. Sophia is the happiest and most hilarious baby either of us have ever seen and she certainly keeps us smiling and on our toes which is exactly what keeps us going every day no matter what happens.

 

 

We are excited to embrace our next chapter in business and parenthood and once again for us looks set to involve a new business and hopefully another new arrival as we plan to embark on the fertility journey once more towards the later part of the year.

 

Photographer sunderland

 

Create Talent LTD will launch in May 2019 providing a suite of services to business and education providers designed to improve the quality of education, training and careers. We support businesses of all shapes and sizes to make use of apprenticeships whether they employ 1 or 100 and where appropriate create graduate schemes and access a variety of funding systems for training. We supply a whole range of digital training content from simple lesson packs to whole courses on our fully managed e-learning systems suitable for business or provider use. And we are even embarking on an exciting new software product that will change the process of funding audits in the education market place . So feel free to check us out on our website, follow us on social or get in touch for an informal chat.

 

www.createtalentltd.co.uk

@TalentCreate on Twitter

Linkedin.com/company/createtalentltd.co.uk

 

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Apr

09

A story of Mimi’s Edit ...and a very busy business mum!

We’ve recently had an opportunity to talk with an incredibly inspiring woman. A mother of two little people and an owner of Mimi’s Edit. Her story is quite unique and may become an example for many other mums out there.

Can you tell me a few words about your business, please? 

Mimi’s edit is a brand that brings together a hand picked selection of stylish clothing and accessories. I personally choose everything myself and only have it as part of the Mimi’s edit collection if I would wear it myself. Mimi’s edit aims to be versatile, affordable and stylish.

 

 

What inspired you to start your own company? 

I’ve always had an interest in fashion and retail. I have worked in the fashion industry for brands such as Selfridges, Louis Vuitton and Karen Miller. I know what excellent customer service looks like and this is a key element of Mimi’s edit ethos. A few changes in our personal circumstances meant I had to leave my job as a secondary school food and nutrition teacher to look after my son. He had been diagnosed with leukemia at 3 and 1/2 years old and it tore our world apart. It was a tough and trying time for us as a family but we stuck together and with help and support we are making it through. My son is an inspiration to me. About a year after the initial diagnosis I sat with my husband and we decided it was time to make a change and I explained I wanted to start my own business. Hand curating and collection of gorgeous clothes and accessories. My husband was so supportive. We started thinking of an action plan, website domains and looking up fashion designers. 
 

 

What are the pros and cons of running your own business

It’s amazing being my own boss-I decide my hours, which pieces will make up the collection and I get to go to amazing fashion shows to choose the next seasons pieces. I get to play dress up everyday and choose what I want to keep from the collections as well as being able to showcase the versatility of our pieces. Through the power of social media I have connected with some fabulous women and fashionistas! It is however tough being the sole person behind all of the cogs that operate Mimi’s Edit. I sometimes occasionally second guess myself and don’t really have anyone to ‘bounce ideas’ around with if I was working in a larger organisation. It can be a little isolating too as I work from home. But I also get to drop my children off at school and be there at pick up, I can be there for my son whenever he needs me, be there at all his appointments and spend time with Mia who is only 2. 

These days will not last forever I’m lucky I get to do this. 

 

 

What are your goals for your business

My goal is to leave a legacy and grow Mimi’s edit into an established trusted brand. Where women turn when they want to buy something new but also get ideas on how to style their pieces and get more from their clothes. I want to raise awareness on children cancer and raise more and more funds for the research though the ‘charity edit’ at Mimi’s Edit where we’re raising money for the North England children’s cancer research- an organisation close to my heart. 

 

 

Women, mums, friends shouldn’t make each other feel guilty for making an effort and looking good. All too often you see women shaming each other for not making an effort or making too much of an effort. I’ve had women message me saying this and I just tell them they need to do what’s right for them and if they want to look good and feel good they need to ignore the negativity. My motto- ‘don’t save it for best!’

 

 

What would you tell a mum considering to open her own business? 

I would say sit down, make a plan and start today. Make a vision board, bring it to life and follow your dream. Nobody can make your dream come true but talking about it isn’t what will bring it to life...only YOUR actions will. 

 

 

 
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Mar

23

Rebecca's incredible story - Kalma Baby North East

 

If you had asked me 8 years ago where I would be today, I would never have said 4 kids and a growing business involving baby yoga! My boys have always been the inspiration behind the many ideas of Kalma baby and it’s services and my first born Tyler being born prematurely was the initial driving force. Tyler was born in 2010 and only a few weeks after I lost my dad to cancer. 

 

 

To say it was some of the darkest days of my life is probably an understatement. But it was also the light at the end of my tunnel. Yoga has always played a part in my life and I can honestly say it was part of a saviour for me at the time of having preemie baby and loosing my dad. I could have crashed burned and not rose but instead I turned my depression into something which spurred me into creating a business which helped other babies and brought the community together. I trained in baby yoga back in 2010 and having just worked at a lifestyle business whilst I raised Tyler and fell pregnant with my second Jenson I then decided it was time to grow it. Kalma Baby launched in 2014 just after the birth of my third boy Maxwell and it grew enormously. What started in south Tyneside spread to other parts of the North East and we grew with teachers too. In 2016 our franchise model launched and to date we have a team of 18 with three teachers too. 

 

 

I’m immensely proud of what it has become in the North East and now Hertfordshire and North Somerset. I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful team of franchisees equally as passionate who share the dream and vision about providing yoga and mindfulness to help children’s health and well being. We have a big dream of making the therapy’s much more easily accessible to the children of the UK! Last year our sister franchise Kalma Mamas launched to supports women through pregnancy and the fourth trimester empowering them with yoga and mindfulness.

 

 

Lisa our Gateshead franchisee who supports head office became our operations manager for the brand. She keeps the brand unique and brings so many new ideas to the brand for our customers. Whilst we do this and grow we are also offering women who are also as passionate the chance to run their own flexible business in children’s yoga.

Growing the business has had many challenges but we have such a huge support network from customers to friends and family. It all could not have been built without them. I’ve great support network at home my hubby, mum and mother and father in law. As well as a wonderful team in Kalma that supports our franchisees in mentoring and training. I have entrepreneurial friends who I consider some of my best friends and it’s important to have influential people around you who truly bring out the very best in you.

 

 

For anyone starting out their business journey, I'd say: follow your dream, set goals no matter how big, take out that family time and never loose sight of what your vision is!

For more information on joining our franchise team we are recruiting in Yorkshire, Hertfordshire and Bristol areas with discovery days now bookable please email info@kalmababy.co.uk or visit www.kalmayogafranchise.co.uk

To follow Kalma Baby on Facebook, please visit:
https://www.facebook.com/kalmababytherapy/

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Mar

22

Karen Guthrie - a woman behind the Dinkies Swim School in Boldon

Hello, my name is Karen. I'm a Business owner, Swim Guru, chatterbox and a housewife to my husband and two gorgeous girls.

My journey into becoming a business owner started upon reflection on my own experience with teaching my little girls to swim. I myself, swam from a very young age and I wanted my children to be confident around water. From seeing their shocked faces when I first put them under the water, to watching them confidently jump into the pool at such a young age on summer holidays is absolutely amazing. 

 

For years I had toyed with the idea of setting up my own swim school, but the thought of quitting my full time job and setting up my own business was too daunting. It took a lot of business planning and creative talks with my husband, but we eventually we managed to come up with some exciting and revolutionary ideas and Dinkies was born!

When I started, my hope was to have 4 hours a week worth of lessons full by the end of year one, which would be 72 swimmers. I currently have 228 swimmers with 14 hours of teaching, 2 members of staff and a franchisee ready to go!

 

 

Working from home, keeping my business booming and trying to feed and entertain my children all at once is sometimes very difficult and tiring. But the great thing about working for yourself is, you can work the hours that suit you! 

I try my best to switch off from the business for a few hours during the day to ensure my children are still getting the attention they need. In most cases, this means I sit for an hour or two on an evening trying to respond to everything I have missed during the day or simply catching up on admin and paper work. I have to admit, the majority of the creative side of the business for the marketing comes from my husband. He works away from home a lot with his work, however he always manages to find time to think of new adverts and new ideas for our social media pages and our website!

 

 

There are times when we are out and about with the family and I will have an idea for a new song or a new activity in the pool, I tell the children my ideas - maybe even sing my silly songs over and over until they start singing them back! They know all the words to my songs which I sing in classes and to hear them singing them when they are playing is truly the sweetest sound! 

 

 

 

Since starting Dinkies, the most amazing part for myself has been the feedback which I have received from all of my customers. Hearing how much they enjoy my lessons and enjoy the way I teach is so rewarding. My aim within the business is to keep swimming lessons affordable for parents who are not only on maternity leave but who have also returned to work. Although this is my business, swimming is a passion and currently it is a dying sport as people no longer swim the way they used too. Ask around and see how many people close to you have never learned to swim. Every time someone tells me they can not swim I honestly do not know how to react! If we can keep everyone enjoying lessons from such an early age, it will help to bring the sport back to life as well as keeping everyone safe in the water. 

Here at Dinkies we welcome children as young as 12 weeks old offering professional swimming lessons up until their 4th Birthday! Our main goal for the future is to grow Dinkies, so that everyone can enjoy our fun, interactive and affordable swimming lessons. We have a number of franchisees starting so watch this space!

If I could give one advice to a mum considering opening her own business, I'd say:

If you have an idea and you think it will work - Go for it! What is holding you back? 
You will learn to juggle everything, take everything one day at a time, dream big and you will get everything you want! 
 
I love my busy crazy life - my little crazy family make it a million times better! 

 

 

 

If you would like to join the team, or talk about taking a franchise of our amazing swim school then please email info@dinkiesswimschool.co.uk

 

You can follow Dinkies on Instagram here : dinkies.ne

Their Facebook business page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/DinkiesswimschoolNE/

And their website's address is:  https://dinkiesswimschool.co.uk

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