Wednesday, April 30, 2014

For Emma Christiansen, Business is ‘All About Podiatry’

Owning her own Podiatry business had always been a dream for Liverpool resident Emma Christiansen. However, the chance came sooner than she had expected when the opportunity to buy an existing business presented itself.

Photo: Jessica Lang Photography

She told The Women’s Organisation: ‘It was the right place at the right time. It came 5 years sooner than I had originally planned, but it was definitely something I had wanted to do for a long time.’

With years’ experience of working as a podiatrist for the NHS and boasting a first class honours in BSc Hons Podiatry from the University of Salford, Emma felt she was ready to take the next steps in achieving her ambitions. ‘Although I took over an existing business, it was a leap of faith to set up in private practice. I haven’t looked back since.’

Based in the heart Runcorn Old Town, All About Podiatry Ltd is a friendly, professional podiatry/chiropody clinic that can cater for everyone’s ‘foot care’ requirements. ‘The practice has grown on reputation alone and is regarded by many as welcome relief from painful feet allowing our customers to feel like they are ‘walking on air’. It has a really positive impact on lots of people around Runcorn.’

With the business being held in such regard by the local community, it’s no wonder All About Podiatry Ltd has steadily grown over the past 7 years. Emma told us: ‘Things are going really well, it’s grown without any advertising, it’s all done by word of mouth. It’s been a controlled growth because of having a young child. When I first started I only wanted to work part time’ and it’s the flexibility and control that self-employment offers that the mum enjoys the most.

To aid the growth of her business, Emma participated in TheWomen’s Organisation’s WeMentor project. The programme paired business women with a mentor who could share their time and experience, whilst supporting them to develop a clear business strategy and improve business performance.

‘Although I already had focus, the programme gave me time to analyse and further focus on the areas I wanted to develop. My mentor introduced me to useful contacts and supported me and my business in the right direction.’

The successful Liverpool business woman’s advice to others considering starting or growing their business is ‘be organised and be patient because things don’t always go as planned, but that might be for the best. Spend your money carefully, don’t rush into anything. Be vigilant, be friendly and be good at what you do. Contact The Women’s Organisation and remember that good customer service is the key to success.’

Emma and her business have just secured a contract with Everton Football Club that will allow her to treat the staff, as well as contracts with Howdens Joinery and Algeos Ltd. Whilst discussing this, she noted how pleased she is with her progress and expressed her eagerness to make All About Podiatry a household name. ‘I am extremely proud of myself that I have achieved so much and been so successful in what is said to be one of the worst economic downturns, without even taking out any loans!’

‘I wouldn’t be able to do any of it without the support of my husband and our families. Watch this space for the “All About” empire!’

To find out more about the services on offer, contact Emma directly on / 01928 576 363 or visit

And if Emma’s success has inspired you to take your next steps, contact The Women’s Organisation on 0151 706 8111 / or visit for more information on the free business support and training available to women in Merseyside.

Portrait photo by Jessica Lang Photography

By Beckie Kinsella 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Start Your Business Journey In Liverpool Central Library With Free Business Advice Appointments

The Women’s Organisation is delighted to offer business start-up advice appointments in the beautifully re-modeled Central Library. Boasting spectacular views, over 15000 rare books and a wealth of business support services, Central Library is the perfect venue to begin your new venture.

Along with one to one business support, The Women's Organisation offer women considering self-employment access to a £200 grant package and free training to help understand basic book keeping, social media strategy, tax and national insurance, branding/marketing and selling online. 

The library itself is also a great resource in your business journey, whether you are a budding entrepreneur or an existing business looking to grow. The range of services include online business resources, business to business mailing lists, company information and reports, market research, business intelligence and guidance on Intellectual Property Rights.

We would like to say a big thank you to Team Leader Ruth Grodner and the staff of Central Library for being so welcoming and supportive of the services we provide.

If you're ready to utilise the wealth of business support available to get your idea off the ground, contact The Women's Organisation today on 0151 706 8111 / to book an appointment with our Central Library based business advisor. 

- Beckie Kinsella

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Passion Is The Key To Business For Pet Portrait Artist Kylee Beencke

Graphic designer and animal lover Kylee Beencke praises the freedom, creativity and rewards of self-employment as she pursues her passion for painting and furry animals with her pet portrait business ‘Cats & Dogs by Binky.’

Photo: Jessica Lang Photography
Cats & Dogs by Binky produces original pet portrait paintings for those who adore their pets. This made-to-order artistic service enables people to celebrate a cherished furry friend. ‘People choose to commission a painting either for themselves or as a surprise for a loved one. It’s a thoughtful, personal and unique gift for any occasion.’

‘I enjoy the process and tactile nature of making an artwork, getting stuck-in, working with colour and being inventive and creative. I started doing portraits specifically of cats & dogs simply as gifts for my family and friends. It was so well received I wanted to do more!’

Kylee realised that there was a keen interest in her portraits as word spread, so several commissions later she decided that it would be worth trying to turn it into a business. She told us: ‘I wanted to follow one of my long-term passions and make something of a living from it. I am very lucky to have had lots of encouragement from my family and friends.’

A collection of Kylee's portraits 
Whilst looking for an organisation that could offer helpful advice on setting up a new business, Kylee came across The Women’s Organisation.‘I just wanted to make sure I was going to be doing my book keeping and taxes correctly, and get any further marketing & business advice. I found The Women’s Organisation and what they offered to people starting up in a new business was just what I was looking for. It’s a bit scary to take a leap into a new business alone, establish a new way of working and living but it was liberating and felt great to know that I was finally willing to give it a real go.’

Funded by European Regional Development Fund's Big Enterprise in Communities (BEiC) initative, The Women’s Organisation’s offered the Liverpool resident her own  business advisor to kick start her journey. She was also able to access workshops around Business Planning, Building a Social Media Strategy, Basic Bookkeeping and Tax & National Insurance. 

‘I received some sound advice from my adviser and attended a selection of extremely useful workshops covering various aspects of a new business. I also had no start-up budget so when I received the business grant package via The Women’s Organisation, it helped pay for some of my costs. It has been a relief to know I can keep things simple and not be too overwhelmed by my tasks in keeping my business growing.’

Kylee’s passion for art is backed up with numerous qualifications and experience. Back home in Australia she worked in graphic departments and went on to work for Liverpool Football Club after moving to Liverpool. She studied fine art in Sydney to the highest level, as well as other forms of art and design both in Australia and Liverpool, such as graphic design and photography. ‘All of my experience helps me in my new business and learning on the job is also invaluable.’

‘I feel good to have come this far, considering I started out painting portraits as gifts! The best thing about being my own boss is the freedom to choose how I go about making a living from my artwork.’

Looking back on her journey into business, Kylee would advise budding business women to trial out their idea on family and friends first to see what feedback is received. ‘Research your market thoroughly. Put yourself and your idea ‘out there’ then get some professional advice, be passionate about your business and how it will work. Be open minded to new ways of thinking and ideas. You never know where things can lead. And always have another source of income just incase it's a slow start-up.’

As Cats & Dogs by Binky grows, Kylee aspires to exhibit her work at various venues. ‘I want to produce high quality artwork for people around the world on a regular basis and earn a fair living from it. Eventually I will expand my business to include other forms of artwork not related to portraiture, such as my photography and other styles of painting, ultimately knowing people enjoy my artwork.'

If you would like to capture your pet on canvas, surprise a loved one or remember a beloved pet, visit and click the Facebook button on the website. It is a worldwide service and all portraits are painted from a photograph. Feel free to enquire about a portrait anytime as she is more than happy to chat about the process and any other details.

And if you have a passion you would love to develop from a hobby into a business, The Women's Organisation can help you on your way with free start-up support and training. Contact 0151 706 8111 / or visit 

Portrait Photo by Jessica Lang Photopraphy

By Beckie Kinsella

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Revitalise Your Social Enterprise With Free Support

‘Social Enterprise SPA’

Revitalise Your Social Enterprise


SPA (Social Purpose in Action):

A tailored menu of solutions that link

business needs to operational strategies

·      Strength Based Inquiry - Diagnostic

·      Business Strategy - With a Difference!

·      Business Planning

·      Marketing Planning – Including Social Media Strategy

·      Organisational & Governance Review

·      Identification of Funding & Contract Opportunities

·      Support with Completing Funding Applications

·      Environmental Management Systems (EMS)

·      Quality Management

·      Social Impact Assessment

The Social Enterprise Spa is  FREE for:

Women led Social Enterprises based on Merseyside


To take advantage of this FREE support & for more info

Contact 0151 706 8111 or 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


This afternoon The Women's Organisation joined Liverpool and the rest of the UK as we observed a moment of silence to remember the 96 fans who lost their lives at Hillsborough on 15th April 1989.

The bells at the Anglican Cathedral rang out as 'You Will Never Walk Alone' was playing from the Catholic Cathedral in Liverpool City Centre to mark the silence as part of the 25th anniversary memorial service.

Our thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives, and we continue to think of them in their pursuit of justice and truth. #JFT96.

#BusinessRoadshow Joins @MYSTLiverpool to Support Business Start Ups

The Women's Organisation's Business Roadshow joins MYST Open Day on 

Friday 25th April 12:00pm-3:00pm 

Come & meet The Women’s Organisation and MYST to find out about:
o  Advice and support to build a business plan
o  Free training on tax, social media, book keeping and more
o  How to access a £200 business start grant
o  How to access up to £10,000 loan for business start up
o  MYST office units from £25 per week including wifi, parking & utilities

MYST, The Old St Lawrence School,
Westminster Road, Kirkdale, Liverpool, L4 3TQ

Follow #BusinessRoadShow & @TheWomensOrgLiv on Twitter
If you can’t make it or want more info contact 
0151 706 8111

Happy 3rd @54StJamesStreet Anniversary to León & Coco

When 54 St James Street opened its doors in 2011 businesses were keen to check out the new office units available for business incubation, and soon it was buzzing with innovative local enterprises. 

One of the first businesses to move in to 54 St James Street was León & Coco, a design business owned and run by Diana Heredia. Today Diana celebrates her 3rd anniversary at 54 St James Street.  As she moves into her 4th year of tenancy at the development, we asked Diana how she feels about her office space.

"I truly enjoy working here," said Diana, "there are no distractions and my space is bright and light which helps me keep focused. Being in a building with other businesses helps me not to feel isolated and though they are in a different field, a quick chat now and then confirms I am not alone and every now and then you learn something new and interesting. The same can be said about The Women's Organisation who support the businesses at 54 St James Street. It is handy to have them close and with a programme of events that is inspiring which I can join in with as and when I find the time."

León & Coco was born out of several hobbies and interests of its founder Diana Heredia and the lack of imaginative gifts for the children of friends and family. After becoming a mum with León in 2005 she started making gifts like blankets, clothing items and accessories as presents. Until Coco was born in 2007 her fabric collection and skills had grown and most soft furnishings in León and Coco's nursery were made by mum. Four years later with Coco's school start the hobby started to grow into a small business dedicated to making unique products for children.

To find out more about Diana's business and to check out her fabulous products visit

54 St James Street is a modern development based in the heart of the creative Baltic Triangle area in Liverpool city centre. Tenants benefit from free wifi, an onsite cafe (Siren), roof terrace breakout space with river and city views, access to events held at the venue, and discounted meeting and training rooms suitable for gatherings of 2-200 people.  Each floor features an open plan kitchen space where businesses can meet together and network informally before heading back to the privacy of their own light and airy office unit. 

Diana said "Thank you very much to the team for your support over the years!"

We would like to wish Diana a very happy 4th year here, and every success with her business for the future.

If you are interested in looking at office space, virtual office options, or the meeting and conference space at 54 St James Street then contact building manager Laura Anderson via 0151 706 8100 or

Monday, April 14, 2014

Psychological Therapies Unit set to join the 54 St James Street Community #54Tenants

54 St James Street has attracted another successful business to join the buzzing business community housed in the iconic city central building.

From 1st May 2014 The Psychological Therapies Unit, a Community Interest Company (CIC) [not for profit] delivering effective treatment for a wide range of psychological conditions, will be offering a range of services from their new Baltic Triangle base. 
Psychological Therapies Unit use a number of psycho-therapeutic approaches including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) to help people suffering with depression, anxiety, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, PTSD, the whole range of emotionally based problems. The organisation work with individuals, families and organisations as mentors, coaches and advisers.  The Psychological Therapies Unit also provide medico-legal assessments for personal injury, road traffic collisions, work related difficulties and act as witnesses in court proceedings.

Director Steve Flatt told us "Our organisational work includes Jaguar/Landrover, TUC (several unions), Criminal Records Bureau, many insurance companies (BUPA, AXA PPP, Aviva, etc.) and are visiting lecturers at University of Chester. As well as dealing with members of the public we provide a service for the courts and legal process by providing psychological assessments for defendants and post-sentence therapies. We take referrals from any source, including private clients."
The organisation told us their move to 54 St James Street was due to the great "feel" of the building when they happened to visit for a meeting. 
Breaking the news on their website they told followers "From 1 May we will be able to provide the training that we’ve always wanted to do, conferencing as well as all our traditional psychological services including coaching and mentoring."
The team at 54 St James Street are thrilled to welcome Psychological Therapies Unit and wish them a successful year in their new home. 
For more information on their services visit and contact Steve and Margaret via or
If you are looking for bright and modern Liverpool city centre offices for your business with flexible terms please contact our 54 St James Street building manager Laura via 0151 708 8100 or to arrange a viewing. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mother of 4 Rachel Williams Brings Imagination To Life With Rachie B

Rachel William’s business journey started with a moment of creativity when her 6 year old daughter wanted a garden in her bedroom. Eager to give her little girl the room she dreamed of, the mother of 4 began doing some research. Unfortunately the only desirable designs where in America and the prices were very high. This was when the Wirral resident decided to take things into her own hands and start-up Rachie B.

Photo: Jessica Lang Photography
Rachie B creates bespoke children’s themes on wallpapers, doors, tables, safety flooring, glass and window vinyls. The designs can be used for bedrooms, play areas, changing facilities, hospitals, schools, nurseries and libraries.

‘I design on nearly every surface and can create a world for children where their imagination can run wild. Just imagine being a child and walking into a nursery or their own bedroom with their name and designs coming to life. Whatever their passion is I can create it. I have children of all ages and being a mother, I know how children’s minds work but also how a parent feels about designing something that is going to be used in their home or business.’

Although very passionate about her new business venture, Rachel felt she lacked confidence at first. She told us: ‘Staying at home looking after children is another world to going into business. I had to learn to speak my mind, recognise difficult situations and deal with them effectively.’

With the support of The Women’s Organisation’s business start-up programme, Rachel’s confidence quickly grew. ‘My adviser saw a lot of me. She was amazing and helped me go through my figures which was a huge stumbling block to me, as I found it difficult to put a price to myself and then to get the best price for the best quality of products.’

‘I went on the free Business Planning and Building a Social Media Strategy workshops that The Women’s Organisation offered which were a really big help, it gave me the confidence boost I needed.’

Now her business is up and running and quickly growing in popularity, Rachel praises the perks of self-employment. ‘I struggled at first but to be honest I started Rachie B for me. To create something that was mine. I eat and breathe Rachie B and I have an adrenaline rush working for something that is mine. It gives me flexibility and allows me to work it alongside my family.’

With her new found confidence, the mother of 4 is more than willing to share her experience with others considering starting up. Her main point would be that marketing is key. ‘I didn’t realise how important the right wording on your website would be to bring you up the SEO rankings on Google. Find your customers, find your niche and market it to the people you think need your services. Gain as much knowledge as you can and know your competitors.’ She continued: ‘Don’t undervalue yourself, don’t price yourself too low.’

Rachel is eager to share her designs with people across the UK and move towards creating personalised designs for schools, hospitals and commercial nurseries.

‘I want children, parents and the general public to walk into a room or business I have designed and feel transported into another place. I dream of children being able to have a slice of their childhood where their own dreams come to life. I want to be able to give the best service to each and every customer no matter how big or how small.’

Let your imagination run wild with Rachie B’s designs by visiting or contact Rachel on / 07881 741 254 / 0151 909 2560

And if you would like to follow in Rachel’s footsteps and go ahead with that business idea you’ve been dreaming about or are in need of a confidence boost, contact The Women’s Organisation on 0151 706 8111 /

Portrait Photo by Jessica Lang Photography

By Beckie Kinsella

Friday, April 4, 2014

Venture Accelerator: Developing Business Growth with Manchester Women in Business

Women business owners in Greater Manchester can benefit from FREE support to take their business to the next level with The Women’s Organisation.  The Women’s Organisation who have been working in Merseyside since 1996 offering enterprise support to women, are pleased to announce the launch of their Venture Accelerator business growth programme in Greater Manchester.

Through Venture Accelerator women can be linked with a specialist business growth adviser who will offer tailored support to take their business to the next level.

Venture Accelerator Programme Manager Mike Marsden said “The first step to growing your business is committing to it. We encourage women to consider putting time aside and work ON their business not IN their business.  Taking that moment to reflect, especially with the support of an independent adviser, can help you focus on the possibilities.  Running a business day to day there are 101 things to keep us busy and can take our focus away from ever gearing up to the next level.  Developing a plan for growth means looking at what you are doing well that you can build on, and exploring possible new markets.”

Some of the women who have already benefited from the advice of Mike and his team have tweeted:

“Another informative meeting today with @TheWomenOrgManc” Mrs Frisbees All Naturals

“Anyone in the Manchester area has to be in touch with @TheWomenOrgManc for free business growth support. It’s absolutely brilliant!” Excalibur Inflatables

Mike says “There is a misconception that there is no funding for growth now.  All we hear about is the double dip recession, doom and gloom.  The good news is that there is help and finance available for business growth if you know where to look and have a solid plan.  It is a fantastic privilege to open that door for local women and see them get excited about where their business ambitions can take them.”

The Women’s Organisation’s Venture Accelerator programme of tailored support is open to:

  • ·        Women-led businesses registered in Manchester, Salford, Trafford, Oldham, Rochdale, Bury, Bolton, Wigan, Tameside and Stockport
  • ·        Businesses looking to expand through taking on new staff or significantly increasing turnover through accessing new markets

Examples of ways The Women’s Organisation can offer support to businesses include:

• Growth Strategy - developing a clear growth strategy for a business aligned to their needs
• Access to markets – research, business planning, pitch preparation
• Strategic marketing – Sales and marketing development, social media/E-commerce
• Developing effective leadership – building leadership potential, tightening human resources and talent development
• Financial Management - raising finance, bid preparation, procurement
• Linking to Networks & Developing Strategic Partnerships – Finding people or talent through networking opportunities locally and globally, referrals to professional partners
• Corporate Social Responsibility

The Venture Accelerator Programme runs to June 2015 and is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.  If you are a woman-led business based in the Greater Manchester area and you would like free advice to build your staff team or grow your turnover, contact programme manager to find out more about the help The Women’s Organisation can offer and follow @TheWomenOrgManc on twitter. 


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

#BusinessRoadshow is Back!

The Women's Organisation are heading back out on the road to offer support to women across Merseyside at our #BusinessRoadshow. 

During April The Women's Organisation engagement team will be travelling to venues across Merseyside to give free advice and support to women who are considering self-employment as part of a Business Roadshow.

Enterprise Director with The Women’s Organisation Jackie Williams said “We are pleased to be able to head out into the community and encourage women at a local level to consider self-employment as an option.  No matter how big or small you think your idea is, and no matter if you are employed and fancying a career change or out of work at the moment, we would encourage you to come along to the Business Roadshow and find out more.  Sometimes the simplest ideas are the ones that really work as a viable business, and we would be delighted to help women on their way to success.”

#BusinessRoadshow Events confirmed during April 2014 so far include: 

Wednesday 2nd:               LEAF, Bold St, Liverpool  9:30am – 11:30am
Tuesday 8th:                      Allerton Library 12:30pm – 3pm
Friday 11th                      Let’s Eat Woolton 9:30am – 12:30pm
Tuesday 15th:                    Liverpool Central Library 12pm – 3pm
Friday 25th                         The Women's Organisation, 54 St James St 8.30am-11.30am
Friday 25th:                        Somali Women’s Group, Lodge Lane 12:30pm – 3pm

Monday 7th:                       Halewood Children’s Centre 9am – 11am
Wednesday 9th:                Huyton Costa Coffee 9am – 11am
Wednesday 9th:                National Careers Service Kirkby 1pm – 3pm
Thursday 10th:                   Poco Coffee Shop Prescot 10am – 11:30am
Thursday 17th                  Poco Coffee Shop Kirkby 9:30am – 11am

Thursday 10th:                   Atkinson Library, Southport 1:30pm – 3pm
Wednesday 16th             Crosby Library 10am – 11:30am

Monday 14th:                     Coffee Aroma, Birkenhead 9:30am – 11am
Monday 14th:                     Tomorrow’s Women, Birkenhead Wirral 11:30am – 1pm
Monday 14th:                     Birkenhead Library 1:30pm – 3pm
Tuesday 22nd:                    Irby Library 10am – 11:30am
Tuesday 22nd:                    Heswall Library 12pm – 1:30pm
Tuesday 22nd:                    Prenton Library 2pm – 3:30pm

The Women’s Organisation will be offering initial business start-up advice at Business Roadshow events, as well as letting women know about the £200 grant package available to local women and free training to help understand everything that is involved in setting up a small business.

Additional dates will be added to our facebook page, website and twitter feeds as we go. To keep in the loop for Business Roadshow events near you, follow the hashtag #BusinessRoadshow on twitter or visit