Here Gayle Berry from Blossom and Berry shares her passion for helping others as her business success escalates, Gayle is ensuring her success helps others too. A true Stella Woman!
“I am donating all my business income this week to a small charity called Love Support Unite, www.lovesupportunite.org.
“Why?” you may say. Well, it is small charity week this week and I had the good fortune to meet the organisers of this grass roots charity 18 months ago by buying a pair of LOVE SPECS which are magical glasses which make you see hearts where there are lights. LOVE SPECS are the main fundraising tool for Love Support Unite who run an orphanage for 34 girls in Lilongwe, Malawi. All profits from LOVE SPECS go to changing lives and they are sold at all the major UK festivals to generate income.
I was totally blown away by the determination and vision of the two young women running the charity from their caravan in Brighton. They are two of the most incredible people I have ever met. I am so grateful our paths crossed. What I have learnt from working with them and the other inspirational people behind the charity is to see the potential in everything, to dream big, to be determined and never give up. To give yourself 100% to something you believe in. To give energy to a project to create momentum and impact. These incredible skills and talents have inspired me and moved me in my personal and business life. I see the world differently now.
Love Support Unite are special. They built a school for 200 children in just 7 days last year from engaging 30 incredible volunteer builders who fundraised to go to Malawi and get the project done. Because of their vision and inspiration 200 children now go to school, 6 volunteer teachers have posts, the community is enriched and will be sustainable in the next year. I find this amazing and I want to be a part of this and support it. The vision of Love Support Unite literally created education for children who there was none. The children in the village now have a more inspired and supported future.
I have also had the opportunity to create my own project with Love Support Unite. My business Blossom & Berry has created a safe motherhood and infant massage teaching scheme which goes out to communities to help give post natal support and safeguard mother and infant help. We now have 6 volunteer teachers who go to women’s groups in rural Malawi every week to teach. These women are in extreme poverty and come to the classes to receive food and support. We also work with hospital staff to teach parents massage for children with special needs and we run a foster care home for children in the community to provide refuge.
So back to creating some magic…….
Every person who enrols on one of my courses this week will receive our usual high quality fully accredited training in infant massage to enable them to start their own flexible business and their course fee will go to Love Support Unite to help them complete their sustainable school project.
I want to donate £3750.00. That is 10 enrolments on my courses. 10 women or men in the UK who will receive training to start their own supportive enterprise in the UK means 3 houses can be built for local teachers who walk 5 hours a day to teach or training for 2000 women in crop growing.
Can you help me spread the word?
If you know of anyone wanting to start their own business, this is the week to enrol with us. We are going to make even more MAGIC happen xxx. Thank you, Gayle.”
A business opportunity for you that helps others too, so please Business women, spread the word!
Our blog is always packed with great ideas, our business women and their ideas and now we introduce The Interview. Here Sue McKenna, tells us why she joined the BWN after just one event, why Sue is so passionate about her business and the ethos behind Maldon Soap Company ;
What made you set up Maldon Soap Company?
I have always been interested in health and beauty. I was doing some research into cosmetic ingredients, what they do and why they are in our cosmetics. I discovered that the soaps and cosmetics I was using from a popular ‘natural’ beauty company were not as pure and natural as they claimed so I decided that I just didn’t want to subject my skin to those chemicals any more. I couldn’t find anything that was suitable for my incredibly sensitive skin that was affordable so I decided to have a go at making my own.
I started with lip balms and then created a hand cream – which is my best selling product today! I wanted to make soap the traditional way without any additives or added foaming agents so in January 2013 I made my first batch of cold process soap and never looked back!
At first I made things for friends and family but when demand began to outstrip supply I realized that I might be able to create a little business out of it and I did! 🙂
How many years have you been in business?
I began making soap in January 2013 and started selling it properly (once I’d had all my safety assessments done) in June 2013 so I’m coming up for my second anniversary.
What do you love most about running your own business?
I love the fact that I am doing something I love and that people seem to love what I do. I love the freedom I have to make my own decisions and that what I do is fun and exciting. I love helping people choose the right products for their skin and it’s a wonderful feeling when they come back to buy more, saying that my products work perfectly without the need for any nasty additives. I love that I use local ingredients that have not had to travel far and that, by buying locally, I can give money to the local community which benefits everyone locally. I also love that my products are affordable to all, they’re not elitist and they and don’t price anyone out of the market, so everyone can have natural, paraben and additive free products that help their skin. And of course nothing is tested on animals.
What do you hate most about running your own business?
I hate the fact that I don’t have enough hours in the day to do everything that I need to do. I still work part time which I have to do to pay the bills but, until I give that up, I can’t devote myself full time to the soap business and make it make money. Catch 22 situation.
What benefits do you get from networking?
It’s great to meet with other women who have businesses because it makes me realize I’m not alone! I like the diversity of situations that the members are in, some are struggling like me (I’m not alone) and some are doing really well (something to aspire to).
What was the reason that you decided to be a member at The BWN?
I attended a meeting by invitation and felt comfortable straight away. I have been to networking meetings where I have felt like a fish out of water but it wasn’t the case at BWN. Everyone is very friendly and interesting to talk to.
What do you see the future holding for Maldon Soap Company?
Well I’m not looking to take over the world! I would like to have more outlets to sell the products and eventually expand enough to be able to afford a shop on Maldon High Street and maybe expand the local aspect of the business to source and grow more local ingredients. I’d like to be able to afford to pay for some help within the company to make things easier for me and I definitely want to give up my part time job.
We love Sue’s honesty and passion for her business and the future and want to be a part of making the big dreams happen. To learn more about Sue you can meet Sue at our Essex events and say Hi and “great interview” on Sue’s social media here;
Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/maldonsoap.co.uk
Website Link: http://www.maldonsoap.co.uk/
Twitter Link: https://twitter.com/MaldonSoap
Sign up form for Maldon Soap Company monthly newsletter mailing list: http://eepurl.com/bkju3n
Susan Pattrick has been a member of the BWN since its launch in 2009 and is a passionate believer in our ethos and power to help all women in business succeed in all areas of business.
As Founder of Dancing Giraffe Susan wants to help all people with any disability access the services and support they need to. Here Susan shares why she jumped in her car and visited Norfolk’s Coordinator Denise Bretton and her events.
On 7th May I went up to Norwich to attend The Business Woman’s Network meeting held at Caister Hall Hotel at Caister St Edmund near Norwich. I set off at about 7.15 am not knowing how long it was going to take me to get there. It was a beautiful sunny day and the birds were singing in the trees – although I have to say I didn’t hear much of that because I had Radio 2 on. I love singing along in the car to cheerful songs as I am driving but I cannot sing in tune to save my life. It’s a good job that no one else can hear me.
I had to leave Gerald in the shed again (for those of you that don’t know, Gerald is my organisations mascot since our logo is a Dancing Giraffe and he loves attending Essex BWN events with me) he was most unhappy about that and sulked because I wouldn’t take him along. Of course it was polling day and he wanted me to take him along to the polls! He isn’t registered to vote, which is why I was trying to explain to him that he couldn’t cast his vote and even if he did it wouldn’t count! Anyway I managed to calm him down with a few tasty morsels of green shoots – that’s his favourite food and he seemed satisfied! At least when I got home he was pleased to see me – but that’s getting ahead of myself!
When I arrived at the hotel, (it was being used as a polling station), I was confronted with this beautiful old building set in the most gorgeous grounds and set back from the road in a very quiet area. It was 9.30 am when I arrived (half an hour before the meeting was due to start). I was the first one there – isn’t it always the way, the furthest away was the first one who arrived! The hotel reception staff were lovely and offered me a cup of coffee or tea whilst I waited for Denise Bretton to arrive. Unfortunately Mandie Holgate couldn’t make it because she had a client to coach. She was really miffed at missing out on the presentation. The photo here is the one with Mandie and I at the recent BWN event at the Crowne Plaza, Maldon where the Colchester BWN is held.
There was general networking to start with and about 10.30 Denise asked everyone to take their seats in readiness for Sophie Jewry’s presentation. Sophie Jewry, is a fabulous Business Brand Consultant. For the next hour she was very entertaining, explaining how to identify your ideal client (you need to do this for every client profile that you have) and put yourself in their shoes even down to personal things like who your ideal client loves, what they eat and how they dress. We were given a printed guide on how to identify your ideal client which is very useful to me. I didn’t realise how in depth it was just to ensure that you don’t waste money on clients that are never going to use your services. It was an absolutely brilliant hour and well worth the two and a bit hours driving time. I made several good contacts there including the Norfolk Knitters! If you get the chance to go and listen to Sophie then do take it. It is absolutely brilliant! Mandie did say that Sophie was going to come to Colchester BWN at some stage so don’t miss it! Thanks to Jayne Lloyd our fabulous photographer for the pic too. I’m the one in the branded yellow hoodie!
Join us at our events in Norfolk and Essex and if you are in any county in the UK, we would love to help you get paid to network. Learn more here.
Say Hi to Susan and learn more at Dancing Giraffes website – www.dancinggiraffe.com