Thursday, July 30, 2015

Janice Russell Brings Stella & Dot To Merseyside With Her Own Business...

Janice Russell has incredible jewellery on, and this is the first thing we notice about her. That and her bright smile! She says; ‘Look at this necklace. When I take it off, I’m just wearing a black dress, but on, it’s a completely different outfit.’ And it is, that’s what Stella and Dot jewellery can do to an outfit, and what Janice believes good jewellery should do.

Stella and Dot is an international business, with every Stella and Dot Independent Stylist running their own small business. The business was founded by Jessica Herrin; ‘and her desire to come up with a better answer for women who asked ‘How do I start my own business?’…So she set out on a journey to create a modern, home-based business platform that would be the flexible, lucrative and stylish answer to women everywhere…’
Janice became a Stella and Dot Independent Stylist just over a year ago after seeing a woman with beautiful jewellery on whilst she was on holiday who told her about Stella and Dot; ‘I thought, right, this is something that I would like to do, and it’s great because of the flexibility it gives you. I can dip in and dip out and just do my own hours.’

Previously Janice had worked for over 25 years in Media sales for a wide range of national newspapers and magazines before leaving that world after being offered redundancy which she says as a great opportunity; ‘I welcomed it with open arms, because it was a fantastic chance to do something different.’ ­Now she is running her Stella & Dot business with the freedom and flexibility that she never had before. And what she enjoys about Stella & Dot is that the whole business is so seamless, and works perfectly for her. Having a background in Sales, it was important to Janice that the brand she was representing was a good one, which it is. With celebrities wearing Stella & Dot in magazines, the jewellery being mid-priced range, and the ethos of the business being about empowering women and positivity, it was a perfect fit for Janice.
‘There are no clinks in the armour, and the whole process of running the business is seamless and simple, and I just saw a massive opportunity for it in Merseyside.’ With Stella & Dot you are given the chance to start up your own business for only £169m which is a great opportunity for those who are interested in starting up their own business, but are unable to pour in lots of funds. With this Stella & Dot Independent Stylist’s receive £300 of jewellery, a start-up package, and continued support.
Currently Janice is one of only a few Independent Stylists for Stella & Dot working in the Merseyside region, which could be considered great news for the business, but has also been one of the bigger challenges for Janice as she looked for support networks to connect with. ‘You do really want another Stella & Dot Independent Stylist to be around the corner that you can just ring up and ask if they want a coffee and a chat. That’s been the hardest thing for me; gradually I’ve got to know a few people though.’

Whilst looking for a type of support, Janice began researching Business Support organisations and found us! ‘I found The Women’s Organisation and one of the best things was learning about the digital side of the business. Although I worked in a media-savvy industry for so long, I avoided all the digital aspects. I used to sell digital advertising but didn’t actually know how to work digitally from the other side of the fence. And that’s what I wanted to have more information on.’
 And now as her Stella & Dot business is growing, it’s clear to see that Janice believes she has made the right choice. Stella & Dot works perfectly to fit in with her life, whilst her children study and life carries on at a whirlwind pace. Being able to dip in and out of the business and do just as much as she likes is the perfect solution for Janice. And, of course, all the incredible jewellery that she gets to wear, sell and enjoy! For Janice, Stella & Dot is the solution that she wants! 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Co-Working Space With A Difference - Launch 22 Launches In Liverpool

There is a new Co-Working space in Liverpool, and it’s going to be incredible! Last week, The Women’s Organisation met with Launch 22, who are set to open their new Co-Working space on the sixth floor of the Tempest building on Tithebarn Street, this month! We headed down for a look around and to find out all about Launch 22 and what they do!

Launch 22, first created by Eddie Holmes in London, has now moved up to Liverpool. It is; ‘A high spec work-space with super-fast internet speeds and bar for evening network and events.’ The sixth floor has an incredible wrap around the room desk where entrepreneurs and start-ups will come and work, collaborate and combine ideas. The whole place screams creativity, the airy, open room, stunning wide windows, and a wall of plants!  As well as a rooftop garden, and a large, open events space which will be free for all members of Launch 22 to use.

The Women’s Organisation are passionate about finding other people who are helping businesses in similar and different ways to the services that we offer, and we think Launch 22 is a fantastic addition to the city. If you’re a start-up and you haven’t yet got your own premises, their co-working space would be perfect for you! Instead of spending a fortune sitting in coffee shops, this is a tailor made space where you will be able to interact and work alongside other start-ups in the same position as you!

And, for the month of August, they are offering you the chance to give it a go, for absolutely FREE! Launch 22 say; ‘Throughout August, we will be opening our doors and inviting Liverpool’s most entrepreneurial and disruptive thinkers to come together to use our co-working space, connect with our mentors and have priority access to our events, for FREE.’

Check out the flyer below and get in touch with Launch 22 for more details! We can’t wait to see what Launch 22 do next, and we’ll be sure to be involved all the way! As well as all of this, they are also looking for Mentors, so if you know your way around start-ups and business and have the time to spare, then be sure to drop them an email! 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mia Tagg And Shelly Turner Are The Baltic's New Kids On The Block With pao! Streetfood

‘Pao means run in Mandarin Chinese, it’s a tenuous link to food but we just really liked the way it sounded. A bit like POW! As if you want to punch the air, so that’s why we picked it’, says Mia Tagg, Co-Founder and Head of Operations and Business Development at pao! – the hottest little spot in the ever expanding Baltic Triangle. 

But once you’ve eaten the food at pao!, the name makes total sense. The flavours are like a punch or a kick, strong, vibrant and colourful. The menu is full of lightness and energy and pao! is the word that sums it all up. pao!, a food truck located on the corner of Flint Street and New Bird Street in the Baltic Triangle and headed up by Mia and Head Chef and Co-Founder, Shelly Turner is a breath of fresh air to the lunch time scene of the Triangle. 

The menu which changes every day and is posted online at 11am is a mixture of street food calling from Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam and Cambodia and is Shelly’s passion. Mia says; ‘The way that Asian street food is served up is what we loved. They may only be cooking 2 or 3 things but they do them really well, and that’s what we wanted to do, to keep our food quite simple but make sure it’s refined and interesting, and that’s why the menu changes every day.’ 

Korean Kimchi Rice Balls, Xiaochi ‘Small Eats’, Dumplings, Rice Paper Tacos and Tempura pepper the menu and the staple Bento Box takes pride of place on the menu everyday as a staple which customers can build their lunch around, adding specials, the Xiaochi, which change daily. One day there might be pork rice paper tacos, and the next there might be tempura prawns with katsu curry mayonnaise or sesame, pumpkin and panko crusted tofu, and that’s what keeps the menu so interesting. 
Shelly and Mia have known each other for over 10 years, socialising but at separate ends of a large group of friends, then after Shelly returned from travelling last year and knew that she wanted to set up a business, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for Shelly and Mia to start collaborating. The pair seems like the perfect team, both with wildly different and similar background and real areas of expertise and knowledge that work together. Mia’s career (after spending, by her own admission, a long time getting a ridiculous amount of degrees!), has always been centred on developing businesses for other people. ‘My first project was FACT, where I opened to Café, and then I moved down to London and set up a cocktail bar below jazz club, before moving back to Liverpool and working on dockside Delifonseca, before my biggest project, which was Homebaked, the community run bakery in Anfield. That was a brilliant project; it was really difficult but incredibly rewarding.’ 
And on separate but equally exciting trajectory, there is Shelly, who after studying European Studies moved to London to develop her photography career and ended up working as a chef. Mia says; (who we interviewed, if anyone was wondering why all the quotes are from one person!) ‘Cheffing down in London is really at a different level and Shelly ended up in high end restaurants and learnt a lot, running Look Mum No Hands and the canteen for the staff and volunteers at the 2012 London Olympics.’, Shelly then went travelling and when she returned, she knew what she wanted to do. She wanted to do her own thing and use everything that she had learnt.’ 

When Shelly came to Mia with the idea of pao!, they found Jane Casey and her spot District. pao! launched back in May and has been the word on everyone’s lips since. Mia says; ‘We’ve had a great response, more and more people and coming down and we’ve already got regulars.’, and the duo have recently introduced BBQ Thursdays at pao! and teamed up with their landlords at District, Beaten Tracks, The Bombed Out Church and are confirming line-ups for the following two events: a Thai BBQ on the 23rd of July and a Japanese Grill on the 30th of July. 

So how did The Women’s Organisation get to meet pao!? Shelly had previously worked with us back when we were known as Train 2000 and got back in touch for her new venture and the team were put in contact with Business Advisor; Claire Pedersen. Mia says; ‘At that point we were just flailing around! We knew something was wrong with our figures but we just couldn’t put our finger on what it was. Claire spotted it right away and put us firmly on the right tracks. Working with Claire was great; she was so generous with her time, her knowledge and her contacts.’

And the future of pao! is incredibly exciting now that they are truly on the right tracks. Although they’ve come to the realisations that the food truck is suitable for the summer months, it won’t work as well during the winter. ‘We will have built up a reputation and people will still come down in the cold and the rain, but really it’s hard for us to be there for 8 hours, it’s tough being out in the elements and I don’t think it will work for us, we want to progress and we want something more solid, so at the moment we are on the search for that.’ 

The Baltic will be the place that Shelly and Mia will want to stay, and they are vocal about their support and passion for the area; ‘The Baltic Triangle really reminds both of us of places we know from London and from travelling. It’s great because there are loads of very like-minded people doing a vast array of different things. What we like about it is, that it’s very mutually supportive and there’s a real sense of community, even the places that should be out competition like Coffee and Fandisha, The Baltic Social, Unit 51 and Constellations. It’s really friendly, and we all have our own place. Everyone wants each other to do well, because we’re all independents.’ 

And what advice do the women behind pao! have for other women who want to start up their own businesses? Mia is clear on this; ‘Don’t be scared to be bolshy! Don’t be scared to show that you’ve got balls! It’s not unfeminine to be strong minded and assertive.’ And people that think it is? Well that word isn’t for this interview! If you want to find out what they are, go and ask Mia yourself! Head down to pao! which is open Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm, grab some of their delicious food and have a chat to the girls. Because they’re not going anywhere fast! 

If you’ve been inspired by Shelly and Mia’s story, and would like some advice and support on starting up your own business, or growing the one that you’ve got already, then get in touch with us! You can email us on or ring us on 0151 706 8111.

pao! Contact Details


Photo Credits to Jane MacNeil and Pao!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Women's Organisation Are Signatories of The 10% MORE Charter

This week The Women’s Organisation signed the 10% MORE for Social Enterprise charter and received our certificate from the Social Enterprise Network which is now proudly sitting in place on our front desk. We are delighted to be a part of this charter and wanted to take the opportunity to tell our readers a little bit more about this project from SEN Together.

The Liverpool Social Value Charter 2015 is a pledge which businesses are being asked to take. Mayor Joe Anderson says; ‘We want them to commit to the re-allocation of a small proportion of the money which they currently spent outside the city. That could be with suppliers, consultants or sub-contractors. If every business re-directed just 10% of the money which they currently spend outside the city and instead spent it with other businesses here in Liverpool, the impact on the economy would be huge. It is estimated, in fact, that the impact would be an additional £10 billion pounds being pumped into the Liverpool economy every year. That’s why we’re calling the Liverpool Social Value Charter campaign 10% MORE.

The Charter embodies six key principles:

Local Liverpool Employment
Good Liverpool Employers
Green Sustainable Liverpool
Ethical Liverpool Procurement
Supporting Liverpool Communities
It’s Liverpool…Buy Liverpool…Buy Social First

And the SEN say; ‘Using the six key principles, businesses across all sectors should aspire to intelligent commissioning of future goods and services in order to benefit the local economy and the wider community that is Liverpool.’

With so many fantastic Liverpool based and independent businesses here in the city, we are proud to be a part of the 10% MORE charter. The possibilities in the future, if we all agreed to spend within our city, are fantastic and these are outlined within the charter. SEN have said; ‘If just 1 business, from those spending between £100k and £100m per annum, worked with us to divert just 10% of what they spend outside the city region back into Liverpool, and addition £5.6 million would be available to reinvest in the local economy. That’s an additional 230 jobs at full Liverpool average wage of £24k’

If you would like to find out more about the Liverpool Social Value Charter and their 10% MORE project, you can download and read the full charter here! 

And look out for our lovely certificate when you come in and visit us at 54 St James Street. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Advanced Twitter Tips For Business

So you understand the basics of Twitter, but maybe it is time to take the next step and start using some advanced tips and tricks to use Twitter better for you business! Maximise your Twitter experience by reading up on these top tips and joining The Women's Organisation for our Maximise Twitter for Business course! 

1.   Scheduling
Platforms like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are a great way to schedule your business tweets and spread out your posts over a few days or a few weeks. But, remember to pay attention to your live feed and any responses your tweets get. The follow-up and live conversations are just as important as your initial tweet

Devin Desjarlais, a Social Media Manager at Max Borges Agency says; ‘Hootsuite is a free platform that allows companies to schedule tweets for all accounts in one place. That means you won’t have to spend all day planning the next 140 characters to publish. However, check back hourly to see who has tweeted back at you. Twitter users have a short attention span, so it’s important to respond as quickly as possible.’

2.   Observe
Become familiar with platforms like Hootsuite that lets you build ‘streams’ around phrases or hashtags that are relevant to your company. That way, you’ve always got your ear to the social ground.

Desjarlais says; ‘Hashtags are an excellent way to track conversation about a specific topic. With Hootsuite, companies can create streams that track a specific topic, giving you an easy way to find content and engage with other tweeters. For example if your company makes custom guitars, you might want to follow a stream dedicated to the #Music hashtag.’

3.   Don’t rely on your handle
It’s the mark of a successful social company to have plenty of customers tweeting at you or about you using your Twitter handle, but you can’t rely on all users to do that. If you’re only listening out for tweets mentioning @BobsBurgerShack, for example, you’ll miss out on a tweet such as; ‘I wish Bob’s Burger Shack had relish!’

The solution? Enhanced listening techniques

‘ is a little known website that lets users do real-time searches in the social web. Do daily searches for your company’s name and narrow the search results to just tweets to see who is talking about your company but not @-mentioning you.’

4.   Don’t be a Social Egomaniac
While the majority of your tweets will probably be about your business, it’s important to develop a personality beyond tweeting out discounts or new menu options. It’s all about building a human personality

‘The last thing a company wants to do is spam their followers with tweets’ Desjarlais says; ‘Twitter is about sharing ideas, information and occasionally inspirational quotes in order to build a community around what the business offers. Try to tweet at least five times per day and dedicate one or two of those tweets to sending users back to your company’s website.’

5.   Stay on track 
Determining the return on investment of social networking can be a real challenge, especially for smaller businesses that don’t have time or resources dedicated to complex analytics. Desjarlais says free tools are available to make that task just a little bit easier.

‘The URL shortener lets users create shortened links for any URL available online. Sign up for a free account and create custom links or ‘bitmarks’, that can be used whenever you send users back to your company’s website. To see how many people have clicked the link, simply past the URL with a ‘+’ at the end into your internet browser to see up-to-date metrics.’

If you can handle these advanced Twitter tips then you must surely be a Twitter expert! To find out more about understanding and using Twitter in the best possible way for your business, then join Trainer Bernie Cox at The Women’s Organisation for our Maximise Twitter for Business half-day course!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Liverpool Loves - Dates For Your Diary - 6th-8th August @ Pier Head

We are delighted to be a partner of a fantastic new festival launching this August; Liverpool Loves is coming to the Pier Head, and The Women’s Organisation is involved!

‘Liverpool Loves has been created to celebrate the very best of our cultural heritage, amazing food and drink, fantastic feel-good organisations and the dynamic local business community.’

‘We are positively challenging some of the issues around keeping business within the city, bringing big players and little players to work towards a better future.’

Pulled together and curated by the CIC arm of Orb Events, and Managing Director Josh Boyd, Liverpool Loves is going to be an amazing weekend of Business, Culture, Wellbeing and Food all happening down at their purpose built BIG Big Top on Pier Head.

Of course, when we first found out about Liverpool Loves, we couldn’t wait to get involved, and now as a partner we have got the chance to share some of our fantastic Women’s Org ways with the rest of the Liverpool Loves festival.

As the days and hours count down to the launch, we’ve got these days in our diary and have put together some top picks from Liverpool Loves that are not to be missed!

 First up is the day that is marked in red ink in our diaries. We can’t wait for the Liverpool Loves Business day happening on August 6th in the Big Top on Pier Head.

‘Our city region has one of the best independent sectors in the UK with 99.6% of all companies being SME’s. Liverpool Loves Business puts people at the heart of the event and gives you the opportunity to connect with other business minded folk, and explore the fantastic opportunities here at home and work towards a stronger future, together.’

Along with a whole host of other SME’s, The Women’s Organisation will be joining in all the fun of the day. We are hosting our own networking session; Let’s Connect on August 6th from 13:30-15:30 and we hope to see you there!

Let’s Connect is our networking concept event that will focus on making those valuable introductions between connectors, funders, professionals and anyone that wants to get involved! Delegates will be colour coded, so it’s not about who you are or who you work for, but all about who you want to connect with.

As well as this our CEO Maggie O’Carroll will be thoroughly involved in the day and is hosting a talk on being Pioneering in Business

Join Maggie for ‘The Four P’s: Pioneering in Business’ as she hosts what is sure to be an interesting conversation at 15:15to 15:45

And Maggie will be taking to the stage again for a Panel Session on ‘Growth’ at 16:15-17:15 alongside Rosie Jolly, CEO of SEN Together, Jenny Steward, COO of Liverpool and Sefton Chamber of Commerce and hosted by Frank McKenna, Executive Director of Downtown in Business

And it’s not just business on the cards for Liverpool Loves. As well as Liverpool Loves Business, the festival with focus on Culture, Food and Wellbeing

As part of Liverpool Loves Culture, Liverpool Loves will be holding a full evening of Irish 
festivities at Liverpool Loves Ireland. On Friday 7th August there will be a full line-up of traditional Irish entertainment from 7pm onwards.

Check out Liverpool’s Irish artists including Cream of the Barley. Ireland’s incredible Eleanor McEvoy and enjoy traditional Irish food and drinks in the bespoke Big Top!

Tickets are available from the Ticket Quarter. We’ve already got ours and hope to see you there!

And to soak up what may be a long night on the Friday, the Saturday is for eating! All day Saturday, a fantastic array of our local independents will be on site. As well as eating, there will be workshops with recipes, healthy eating advice and family fun all day.

Alongside this, you can head over and explore more of Liverpool Loves Wellbeing. Liverpool Loves have said;
‘Liverpool Loves feeling great. Achieving a sound mind, body and soul completes the balance in life and you can definitely have fun while you’re doing it…Expect an attractive, fun and family friendly environment that’s the perfect place to rediscover yourself. Get involved in dance and drumming workshops, watch live performances, learn new skills or give something back’

Liverpool Loves really have got every avenue covered, and we can’t wait! Get those dates in your diary, and look out for more announcements to come over the following weeks. You can keep up to date with everything that the Liverpool Loves team are up to by using the links below!



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Speedy (and slightly tiring) Summer Networking

On July 14th 2015 we held our annual Business Club Summer Speed Networking event at 54 St James Street. Sunny it wasn't (so much), speedy it was!

We decided that too many times we go to networking events and don't quite get to speak to enough people in the room. With one glass, one teaspoon, tables, chairs, and a group of keen women ready to network, we went for it.

Our session was opened with two guest speakers: Lisa Pearson, Head of Marketing and Business Development at Hampson Hughes Solicitors, and Josh Boyd who is festival director of Liverpool Loves, a brand new festival coming to Liverpool in August. They were both here to share their top tips for businesses to get noticed and then stayed around to speak to the women individually.

Following our speakers it was on to some facilitated networking as we moved everyone around the room in five minute intervals. Ok, so we didn't quite manage to get everyone to speak to each other but we nearly got there. There was a great energy in the room as contacts were made and information exchanged. 

'Great Morning, Surprisingly Fun'
'Really enjoyed the speed networking, great idea' 
'Really enjoyable morning and great to meet and talk to so many different businesses'

The session left us all geared up for our 'Let's Connect' session that we will be hosting as part of Liverpool Loves. Liverpool Loves is a free Business Festival happening in the Pier Head on Thursday 6th August.

Moving forward, our Business Club format will be slightly different and we are looking forward to helping to all of our members connect with other businesses and grow. As a business club member you will receive discounted tickets for our events as well as access to exclusive social media groups where you can network online. For full details on how you can join, click here 

A final thank you to Paul Waring from who came along and took some great photographs for us. As a charity, we rely on the support and generosity of those around us and it's always appreciated. Thanks again Paul!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Jody Riley Has Big Plans For Hair & Beauty Booking Venture; Just Bella

‘It’s like Just Eat, but for the hair and beauty industry’  - When we heard those words from Jody Riley, founder of Just Bella, we were hooked and wanted to find out more about her exciting business idea.

Just Bella is an online booking platform for hair, beauty, health, body and fitness. Jody says; ‘You can go online to Just Bella, and type in what treatment you want, the area and the time that you want it. And everybody that is available has a listing, and you can choose and book online!’

Just Bella launched back at the beginning of April and currently Jody has over 120 businesses signed up and ready to take bookings on the site, but it hasn’t been plain sailing to get to this point. ‘I’ve been working on Just Bella since January last year, and to say it’s been a rollercoaster ride is not even close! I thought I’d get someone to build the website and I’d be a millionaire in 3 months, but it’s not been like that! It’s been hard going.’ Over the course of the last year, Jody has had to work hard on the website, switching it from one designer to another, as her ideas got bigger and bigger.

Photo Credit: Liverpool Echo
‘Now that hard work is paying off, and we’re getting the bookings. On the day we launched we got the bookings and it made me really excited. Now the website is up and running it isn’t peace and quiet. We are still working hard behind the scenes trying to always add new features and pages to expand the website.’

The premise is brilliant in its simplicity. Every business that signs up to will get their first month free and then choose from a range of different packages to support their needs with the basic package costing only £6.99 a month. Just Bella don’t take any commissions from the bookings that they receive and a lot of Jody’s time is spent helping to market that specific business and showing customers the great offers that they have.

Jody has the perfect background for this role. Prior to setting up Just Bella, Jody managed a Call Centre, and worked as the National Marketing Director for the health food group Juice PLUS+. As well as this Jody is a fully qualified beautician and began working as a mobile beautician after the birth of her son, enjoying the flexibility that it offered her. Working as a mobile beautician Jody was dedicated to building up here clientele list, and this was one of the first sparks that she had, which led to Just Bella.

‘When I trained as a beautician, I always thought, I wish there was a platform where somebody could market my business and help me get bookings.’ As well as this Jody found herself in a situation when on holiday and realised that there was the gap in the market for a business idea like Just Bella. ‘I remember being in the Lake District and I needed my hair doing, but obviously I didn’t know anywhere around there, and wasn’t sure where would be the best place to go. I thought, wouldn’t it be great to be able to type in online what I was looking for, be able to read reviews and see the availability. Just Bella stemmed from there.’

And it’s really taken off, so much so that Jody works with a team of two sales executives as well as another part time member of staff, who help her deal with the amount of interest that the business is creating and Jody says; ‘I’m hoping that I will need more staff soon!’

Jody has big plans for the future of Just Bella. She has just introduced a special features and offers page, Just Bella is looking for sponsors and to connect with wholesale hair and beauty businesses. In the long term, Jody wants to take Just Bella across the UK with the possibility of franchising the business out. But for now, she is trying to learn her most important lesson in business; ‘Don’t run before you can walk!’

The Women’s Organisation, and in particular Jody’s Business Advisor; Francine Taylor has been instrumental in drumming this lesson into Jody; ‘Before, I was sprinting before I could walk. I thought; if I don’t do this now, then somebody else will, so I was trying to do everything at once! Fran put the reins on me and really helped me to understand that I could go with the flow. She’s been really great.’ Jody got in touch with The Women’s Organisation after finding us online and has really benefited from working with Francine as well as the different courses like Planning for Success, and Building a Social Media Strategy that we provide.

Now that Just Bella is up and running and growing more and more, and Jody is learning her lesson of walking before she can run, the future is exciting as the business garners more interest, and so it should in a city like Liverpool! ‘Launching Just Bella in Liverpool is the perfect place, because everybody likes to look amazing every time they go out! So that’s what Just Bella is all about. Our motto is Book Yourself Beautiful!’

If you are interested in Booking Yourself Beautiful, make sure you visit Just Bella, and see the fantastic range of businesses that they have secured across Liverpool! And follow Just Bella on Social Media using the details and links below!

If you have been inspired by Jody’s story and are interested in starting up your own business, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today and see how we can help you take the first step. Email us on or ring us on 0151 706 8111

Just Bella Contact Details

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Paula James Launches PJ's Kitchen After Deciding 'Life Is Too Short'

Paula James is an expert in making healthy food look, and most importantly, taste fantastic, with her Café and Takeaway; PJ’s Kitchen based in Litherland. At PJ’s (Named so after her full name; Paula James) is a Health Food Café and Takeaway that specialises in gluten free foods and desserts. With the demand for gluten free offerings reaching the highest it has ever been, Paula definitely has her finger on the pulse when it comes to this type of food.

And she is well qualified too as well having graduated with a BSc Hons in Nutrition and Health, as well as having a Business Management BTEC, so she could get ahead of the game when it came to starting up her own business. Paula is also currently re-training in Sports and Exercise Nutrition online. After her training and education, Paula says; ‘I worked for a charity which was working with disadvantaged young people. I had always wanted to set up my own business but I was too scared to take the risk. Until one day I decided that life is too short and I needed to give it a try!’

Something that was incredibly difficult for Paula when she decided to start her own business was funding and where to find it, if even there is any available. With a record breaking number of businesses starting up across the UK last year, and an incredible 6,000 businesses starting up in Liverpool alone in 2014, it could be argued that it’s easy to see why the funding is hard to find and difficult to navigate.

Paula says; ‘I think that there could be more financial help and support for women in business.’, and when Paula was put in touch with The Women’s Organisation and worked with our Business Advisor Yan, she was able to receive some pointers in the right direction. ‘I received support from The Women’s Organisation and had help completing my business plan, cash-flow and forecast, as well as signposting towards MSIF for funding. I found this service very helpful, and I’m not sure I could have done it without the help of The Women’s Organisation!’
As well as receiving advice and support from The Women’s Organisation, Paula took other steps to get the ball rolling with her business; ‘I set up all the Social Media sites and tested the water with complimentary meals.’ The Women’s Org are sure her complimentary meals went down a treat with the type of food that she has displayed on her website! Main meals like ‘The Frenchy – Garlic chicken breast cooked with mushrooms, onions and fat free natural yoghurt’ and ‘PJ’s Fave – Sweet potato rosti with spinach and poached egg.’ All of her delicious treats are available to order and have delivered online.

Paula’s food looks incredible and she says; ‘Our menu offers a variety of nutritious, fresh and satisfying meals, with the added extra of detox juices and even the odd healthy desserts threw in there somewhere, we also cater for Slimming World users, and most of our meals are Slimming World safe.’
With such a large market of health conscious people to cater for, how is Paula’s business going so far? ‘So far, I am breaking event, and I’m happy with this, as I have only been trading for 6 months. The best thing about running the business is the freedom and being able to make my own decisions.’ And if a friend of hers was thinking about starting their own business; ‘I would say do it! You only live once, and what’s the worst that could happen. Right now I am proud of myself, and I aim to keep going, and hope to have a chain of PJ’s Kitchen’s in the future.

We hope so too! Perhaps we can persuade Paula to have a PJ’s just round the corner from our offices? If you would like to find out more about Paula and PJ’s Kitchen, you can visit her website, pop into the Café in Litherland, or use the contact details below!

PJ's Kitchen, Litherland, L21 2PA
T: 07939881993

If you are thinking about starting up your business, like Paula, then we can offer you help, advice and support from our talented team of Business Advisors, as well as so much more! 
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Monday, July 6, 2015

Sid Moore Is Growing Moore Accountancy And Has Taken On Her First Apprentice

‘We have a motto that no question is a stupid question’, says Sid Moore as The Women’s Organisation chats with her; ‘That’s what we want our clients to know.’ Sid is the founder and director of Moore Accountancy which she set up in 2010 in South Manchester. ‘I qualified as a Chartered Accountant in the late 1990’s in London, and after spending time in practice, working for Merrill Lynch, time out travelling and starting a family, we made the move to Manchester.’

After taking a four year career break to focus on her family, Sid realised that in order to balance her career aspirations with her family, starting her own accountancy practice was the way forward. Five years on and Moore Accountancy consists of Sid, a part-time qualified accountant and also a recently recruited apprentice. Apprenticeships are a growing trend in the UK, and research from last year revealed that apprenticeships would contribute £34 billion to the UK economy in 2014. For many business owners, like Sid, apprenticeships and apprentices are a fantastic addition to their companies.

‘We are supporting a local girl who attends a local college. The apprentice programmes are great, it’s supporting us as a business, it’s giving something back to the community, and it’s giving us an asset who will hopefully grow with the business over the next couple of years.’

‘The fact that we’ve made a commitment to support a local student has been a big move for us as business. It has always been myself with another part-time team member, but now Ellen is there for more hours than I am, and the group dynamics have changed. She’s really enjoying it, and she has got a real passion for her work. We’ve chosen the right person, and she fits in with our values, so it’s a win win.’

Sid's Team!

 Another reason Sid’s apprentice, Ellen, is such a help to the business, is the extra capacity that she has been able to give to Moore Accountancy. Sid is able to work around her children, their school days and their activities, which for her is an ideal situation. She is able to drop them off at school, and work nearly a full day before picking them up and ferrying them to their many different after-school activities. She admits; ‘It’s a constant juggle, but it’s the only way I could still be there for them, and be doing something intellectual that I enjoy. If I was working for someone else, I wouldn’t be there at all to support them, after working a 40 hour week plus travelling or commuting. Yes I’m compromising on income, but I’m getting a massive lifestyle benefit instead.’

As Moore Accountancy grows, The Women’s Organisation is proud to support Sid and her colleagues. We first met Sid when our Manchester based Business Advisor, Mike Marsden spoke at a networking group which Sid was the treasurer of; ‘Mike came to Handbags and Briefcases last year and spoke about the support that The Women’s Organisation could give, and it really rang a bell.’ At that point we had been plodding along quite nicely, but another injection of support was really what we needed. Mike has given a different focus to what we do, helped to guide us to new information and given us leads to new contacts. He’s helped to mould our new direction.’

One thing that has always remained the same though, is the values behind Moore Accountancy. Sid is passionate about the practice, and the accountants being proactive; ‘This is where we try and differentiate ourselves from other accountants who you might just see once a year and they “just do your accounts”. We want to be more than that. If a client doesn’t know how to record a transaction, they can give us a call and we’ll explain it to them. There are so many accountancy practices out there who are just selling that one service, but we want to be there to support our clients.’

Through growing the business, Sid has learnt a valuable lesson; ‘I’ve learnt that you can’t do everything yourself, even if you want to.’ She admits that she is the type of person who likes to do everything herself, and when she started the business, in an effort to save money she attempted to build the website, do her own marketing, and throw herself into the sales of the company; ‘I then realised that if I spent some time investing in other people, it would grow the business faster. It took some time for me realise that it’s more time efficient for others to do tasks for me if they are better suited to them.’

Even if she still sometimes sits up all night trying to figure out how to make her website mobile friendly! Sid knows there is a line when she will pass a task onto someone else; ‘TO want to do everything yourself is the way a lot of small business owners are, because the business is your baby! I’ve got the same mentality and ideology, but I am learning to delegate!’ 

If you would like to find our more about Sid's Accountancy practice then please visit her website or use the contact details below! If her story has inspired you and you are a woman in Manchester or Merseyside who is interested in starting up your own business, or growing your business, then please get in touch with us! Email on or ring us on 0151 706 8111

Tel: 07542 299 247
 Sudipta Moore
Twitter: @sidmooremanc