Thursday, March 31, 2016

54 St James Street Tenant of the Month - A Quiet Place

So, Tenant of the Month is back! Each month we will be publishing an interview with one of our lovely tenants in the building, asking them what they like about the building and finding out what their business is all about!

So we have spoken to Siren and Dobson Welch and Barrette, and this month Penny Moon from A Quiet Place! 

So here's what our lovely tenant had to say!

What do you do?

We provide well being programmes for children and adults in the workplace and schools for all ages and abilities

When did you move to 54 St James Street?

Nearly 4 years ago

What do you like about working here?

Bright clean offices, very cheap parking, good networking opportunities excellent training facilities

What is your best achievement to date?

I would say; The best evidence base for changing children’s behaviour in the country, ongoing research and development of new programmes. And also well being in the workplace franchise. A Quiet Moment also worked with Age Concern to support elderly and vulnerable. Then The Practical Well Being programme published at last...And teaching my yoga class for 38 years with my star pupil 100 years old in August

How can people get in touch with you?

And below is a flyer with some extra information about the services that A Quiet Place can offer!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Women in Business - Which women are leading the way in entrepreneurship? Part Two

As I discussed in Part 1, there are some brilliantly inspiring women out there, paving the way for female entrepreneurship and female leadership. We should be looking to these women to spark creativity in a younger generation of young girls and young adults, as we have so much potential just waiting to be released.

Here are a few more incredible women to read up on…

Science and Technology 
Science and engineering, another field long dominated by men, is slowly catching up to the rest of world and beginning to appoint women in positions of power - The Institute of Engineering and Technology has appointed Dame Ann Dowling as their president and Naomi Climer was recently elected president of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Big media names such as Huffington Post and Sun Media also have women behind them. Ariana Huffington and Yang Lan respectively took these start-up companies from independent news sources to international standards of media with millions of readers across the world. As a blogger I’m also constantly seeing huge influencers such as
Zoella and Tanya Burr come forward to be a role model to young adults and children too. Seeing a successful, young and relevant business woman, is something more influencer and encouraging to a younger generation of female workers.

So what makes these women so successful in what they do? Well, if you ask the women behind the success, they all bring it down to the same few principles - abandoning the fear of failure, making a change and persevering towards what you believe in. and aren’t these all things we should do more of? I also find, that lists
(like this) keep my on my toes and keep me up to date, and give me great suggestions with who to follow and read about.

The various women named above, and the countless others out there, all had one thing in common - taking a chance on what they believed in and working hard till they achieved what they set out to. As JK Rowling famously said,

"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all--in which case, you fail by default."

While women may undoubtedly find it harder to succeed in certain industries, the gender gap is definitely decreasing and time after time, successful women prove that at the end of the day it comes down to the individual rather than their gender. Success is a frame of mind and only those willing to overcome the obstacles laid in their way can hope to work their way around them.

Guest blog post by Elle-Rose 

To connect with Elle via her blog visit

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Women in Business - Which women are leading the way in entrepreneurship? Part One

At The Women's Organisation we are passionate about seeing women succeed, and we believe that part of that journey is being inspired by the stories of other successful women.  It is also important to look at areas where women are still underrepresented to raise awareness of this so we can look at ways to fill the gap.  We invited local blogger Elle to look at this further.  This is the first in a series of 2 blogs Elle put together on the topic sharing her thoughts and findings. 

Hi, I’m Elle, a freelance writer specializing in “women in business”. It’s something I feel really passionate about, and I believe the key to pushing through any in-quality issues is talking openly and encouraging each other. I grew up in a strong family of women, and I’ve always tried to surround myself with strong female role-models in a professional sense too. Some of the women I’ve worked alongside in the past have been fantastic examples what a combination of smart, independent and ambitious can create – and I’ve always tried my hardest to let these enviable character traits rub off on me.
 Since going freelance, I’m not around other women as much as I was, but instead I try and research strong women to keep my inspiration high. I hope you enjoy this blog post and that it inspires you when reading it. To read more from me, you can check out my blog.

Where do we stand now?

With 21% of the FTSE 100 positions now occupied by women, female entrepreneurs and business women are making their mark on the world business map. From the beauty industry to science and technology, women entrepreneurs are establishing million dollar companies and proving their worth as astute industry enterprises. 

As a young business woman myself, I find reading about these women incredibly inspiring and encouraging, which is why I want to write something myself, and put all these women into one place, for the inspiration of others. These are the women I personally find most inspiring – and hopefully, someone reading this can take the same confidence and encourage from their achievements as I did.

Health and Beauty
It is perhaps no surprise that there are a great number of women entrepreneurs in the Health and Beauty industry. Liz Earle, Urban Decay, Avon are all examples of highly successful companies founded by women, starting from the ground root working their way up to a multi-million dollar company in a billion dollar industry. As a woman who loves cosmetics, these are brands I use every day – and it’s hugely inspiring to know that these brands were founded and created by other women. It doesn’t end there though, I find
this list from NPD, of the 50 top female entrepreneurs in business, hugely inspiring.

The fashion industry also has numerous examples of successful women starting their own businesses from scratch. Spanx founder
Sara Blakely started her $250 million underwear business from just $5000. Within a year, she had moved from her job as a door-to-door salesman to selling millions of shapewear pieces across the world, becoming the youngest self-made billionaire in the world.

Fleet and Trucking
I wanted to include this industry – because it’s an industry know for being weighted heavily towards men and male worked. Do a little digging however, and you can see a rise of female workers on the ground, as well as software companies like this, seeing a rise in women on the software and development side of things too. This for me, shows a real improvement over the past few decades, and women such as Dr Lisa Dorn (founder of Driver Metrics) and Shirley Collins, CAFM, the director of GlaxoSmithKline’s North American fleet since 2001, show there is no ceiling to how far a woman can go in this industry.

Stay tuned for Part 2, when I’ll discuss even more incredible women.

by Elle-Rose 

To connect with Elle via her blog visit

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Meet The Sponsors; Judith O'Brien, Managing Director of Bold Online Marketing

#IAmEnterprising is in full force! The deadline for submitting the first Business Briefs is over, and Business Bootcamp is on its way! So we thought that now would be the perfect time to introduce the sponsors of #IAmEnterprising. The sponsors are a massive part of the competition and help to make up the Prize Package for the winner of this year’s #IAmEnterprising!

Our third sponsor to announce is the incredible Bold Online Marketing! Bold Online Marketing will be offering the lucky winner of the #IAmEnterprising competition support with their web development or help to develop a digital marketing strategy for their business. What a great opportunity! As we have worked with many business start-ups, we know that websites and digital marketing can be something that people struggle with, so this fantastic prize will certainly go to good use!

So, who are Bold Online Marketing? They told us, that Bold Online Marketing is a digital agency with bold results!

Bold Online Marketing pride themselves on having passion for all things digital, a great track record in excellent customer service alongside an in-depth understanding of what developing and growing business online is all about.

Their team have helped lots of companies achieve online success. They offer a bespoke range of Digital Marketing services to suit a wide variety of needs. They believe that your success is their success and know that a happy customer is a loyal customer and there is nothing better than having a great customer relationship – both online and offline!

As with all of our sponsors, we asked them the same question, what words of wisdom did they have for the #IAmEnterprising entrants?

“The more ways you market, the more people you reach.

A business idea is just another idea unless it is backed up by a business plan, great marketing, commitment and hard work.”

- Judith O'Brien, Managing Director of Bold Online Marketing

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

International Women’s Day 2016 – A Celebration of Pioneering Women

Wow! We really are still recovering from last week’s event that we held for International Women’s Day! Of course here at The Women’s Organisation, March 8th is always a big day for us as we celebrate women of the past, present and the future. But this year, we pulled out all the stops and put on what we hope was a show stopping event for the big day!

The event featured an esteemed panel including Anna Heyes, founder and Managing Director of Active Profile – An award winning PR and Marketing Consultancy,  Sharon Hilditch, MBE of Crystal Clear, the leading anti-ageing  skin care brand in the professional beauty market,  Professor Julia Balogun, Director of the University of Liverpool’s School of Management and Professor Fiona Beveridge, Executive Pro-Vice Chancellor from the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Liverpool, and expert in gender equality The panel will be chaired by Pamela Ball, founder of the Liverpool branch of the Women’s Equality Party.

And the turn-out was fantastic! We had a room full of wonderful women both from the business community and the University and academic community. Now, you might think keeping both sides of the audience happy would be a task in itself, but Pamela Ball was an expert in asking all the right questions at the right time and blending the balance between business and academia all the way through the evening.

We talked about entrepreneurship in females, risk-taking, the power of the media on influencing a new generation of young women and what the future looks like for women growing up now. As at all of our events, questions flooded in from the audience and the panel were pleased to answer them, time did just seem to fly throughout the evening.

As we the question and answer session drew to a close, we had one last surprise up our sleeves! Goodie bags! Kindly donated by Sharon Hilditch of Crystal Clear, each woman who attended received a goody bag with a gift from the Crystal Clear skincare range. There was just time for a bit of networking before International Women’s Day at The W.O came to an end.

We had such a fantastic evening, and want to thank all of the women who came down to 54 St James Street to celebrate with us! Here’s to another year of empowering, supporting and connecting with each other! 

Our next Business Club event is the annual Meet The Media on Tuesday 14th April - find out more here!

Thank you to the University of Liverpool Management School who sponsored this event.

As always, thank you to our headline sponsors of Business Club, Mitchell Charlesworth

Meet The Sponsors; Nicola Pink of Pink Media Ltd

#IAmEnterprising is in full force! The deadline for submitting the first Business Briefs is over, and Business Bootcamp is on its way! So we thought that now would be the perfect time to introduce the sponsors of #IAmEnterprising. The sponsors are a massive part of the competition and help to make up the Prize Package for the winner of this year’s #IAmEnterprising!

We are over the moon to introduce Pink Media Ltd! This is Pink Media’s first year sponsoring the event and they will be generously donating a day of working with the Pink Media team of experts to help the #IAmEnterprising winner to develop a PR strategy for their business!

So, who are Pink Media? Based in the heart of Liverpool’s vibrant Baltic Triangle, Pink Media delivers a range of PR services including effective short and long term campaigns, press release writing and sell-in to journalists, together with effective crisis management, media interview and client photo shoots to name a few.

Their clients range from local independent businesses to world-renowned brands with an international following. At Pink Media, they appreciate that all clients are different, and with this in mind they tailor their services accordingly to ensure the best possible return on investment.

At the helm of Pink Media, is Director; Nicola Pink. Nicola started Pink Media back in 2011, working from her back bedroom after leaving her job, now in the space of three years, there is a team of three working from an office in the home of The Women’s Organisation, 54 St James Street, and a client list which includes Hard Day’s Night Hotel, Sefton Park Palm House, Delifonsecca and The Epstein Theatre. 

The Women’s Organisation has a fantastic interview with Nicola over on their blog if you’d like to find out more about her journey to success.

We asked Nicola why she was pleased to be able to sponsor the #IAmEnterprising Competition...

Director of Pink Media Nicola Pink said: “As an independent, it gives me a great sense of pride to be supporting the next generation to achieve their entrepreneurial goals, with the help of other like-minded businesses.

“Liverpool is a city that is thriving with young talent eager to break the mould. By collectively sharing our varied industry knowledge and extensive experience, we are able to guide aspiring entrepreneurs and help them take the first steps in business.

“By taking part in the #IAmEnterprising competition not only will the winner receive substantial financial backing, they will also gain an invaluable insight into the key business aspects that are essential for business start-up.”

20 Year Reflections | Lauren Greene | Chic PR & Events | #WIBA16 Newcomer Of The Year Winner

2016 is a big year for The Women’s Organisation – it marks our 20th birthday and we have plenty of interesting and exciting things lined up throughout the year to celebrate this! And some fantastic interviews will be part of this! To mark our 20th birthday, throughout 2016 we will be interviewing some incredible women and sharing their stories with you.

These women may have been long-time supporters of The Women’s Organisation, women who accessed our support during our very early years, women who have been instrumental in the development of the organisation and gender equality as whole, or simply women who we think are frankly marvellous, and want to know more about!

We hope that you enjoy these interviews throughout 2016 and celebrate with us the incredible lives and journeys of the women that we interview. This series of interviews will be called ’20 Year Reflections’ and we always want to hear your thoughts and views! Join in the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #WOWeAre20

Last week we spoke to the Vickie Anderson from the institution that is, Liverpool Cheese Company shortly after she received the award for Business of the Year Award at Downtown’s Women in Business celebrations for 2016. This week we have another #WIBA16 winner to celebrate – Lauren Greene, Founder and Managing Director of Chic PR & Events and the North West Fashion Festival! Last week we were delighted to be alongside Lauren as she scooped up the award for Best Newcomer of the Year!

Lauren and her son; Carter

Lauren has been working closely with The Women’s Organisation over the past four years, having first worked through our Start-Up programme, then graduating to our Growth programme and then moving into 54 St James Street as one of our tenants! So we thought it was about time that we got to know the woman behind Chic PR & Events; the Superwoman who we see dashing in and out of 54 St James Street all week long, and the brain power behind so many of this cities Fashion & Lifestyle’s PR & events. Here’s what we found out…

Lauren started Chic PR and Events back in 2013. When she began back then, she mostly ran large networking events for women in the business of fashion, beauty and lifestyle, but since then the business has changed and grown. Now Chic PR and Events works with clients across the North West providing them with; ‘A wide selection of services, from Social Media strategizing to marketing campaigns, all hand tailored to meet your needs in terms of business growth and vital exposure.’ To name but a few, Lauren is currently working with the internationally renowned skin-care brand Crystal Clear and up and coming beauty and health and wellbeing businesses such as The Brow Club and Kapucia Yoga.

As if this wasn’t enough, she has also developed The Chic Blog – a digital news platform for everything fashion, beauty, health, wellbeing and lifestyle in the North West. The Chic Blog acts as a fantastic additional service for Lauren’s clients, offering them columns, articles and interviews for their business and currently averaging over 1000 hits a day!

But wait, there’s more! Lauren is also the owner and Director of the North West Fashion Festival, an annual occasion focused on fashion and beauty, inviting designers and creatives from across the North West to collaborate and show their designs to the city of Liverpool. Last time, the event was held in Sefton Park Palmhouse and this year it’s getting bigger and better as Lauren and her team will take over St George’s Hall for a 2-day event in September.
She Shea Bridal Launch at Restaurant Bar & Grill
You might think with all of these businesses under her belt that Lauren has been working in the PR and Events industry for decades, but in reality the start of Lauren’s working life was wildly different. She told us; ‘I had finished studying Law at University and was in a secure well paid job with good prospects. I worked at a Law Firm full time and studied part time of a evening’ But then I got offered an amazing opportunity.’ Lauren was invited to go and live in Marbella, Spain and run Prestige events, organising massive entertainment and nightlife events all across Marbella. She says; ‘It was one of the best things I’ve ever done. In terms of progress, the contacts that I built over there were unbelievable. After that I was asked to run events at the Ocean Club in Ibiza.

Lauren is happy to say that working within the nightlife industry was massively rewarding, but believes it does have a shelf life and openly admits that it was difficult being a woman in a very male dominated industry; ‘Being a woman in that industry was hard. Even when I left Prestige, I became a PR manager in a club and I was the only woman there. It was a fabulous lifestyle but there was a horrible side as well. In the end I stopped, I didn’t want to be in that world anymore.’

From there, Chic in its first inception was born. Lauren began putting on big networking events for women in the fashion and beauty industry and first met with The Women’s Organisation. ‘I firstly did a lot of training at The Women’s Organisation, taking part in the Planning for Success course with Bernie and writing a Business Plan with the advisors. Back then Chic was more of an events company, but it’s developed over time. As it’s developed I’ve been able to come back to The Women’s Organisation and get more guidance and I took part in the Growth programme after finishing the Start-Up programme.

‘Working on growing my business with The Women’s Organisation was amazing because I was at the point where I just didn’t know which way to go with my business. I was able to sit down with Fran (Business Adviser; Francine Taylor) and get everything down on paper.’

From there, Chic PR and Events has gone from strength to strength as she graduated from the Growth programme, moved into an office at 54 St James Street, took on more staff, graduated to an even bigger office and began growing her team again! As well as this Lauren has also helped out The Women’s Organisation, acting as a sponsor for our first #IAmEnterprising programme with Liverpool City College, offering the winner of #IAmEnterprising a launch event package for their business.

2015 was a big year for Lauren - in fact you could say it was life-changing, as she gave birth to her baby boy; Carter! ‘Having Carter has completely turned my life upside down. But I was back to work within 2 weeks of having him!’ – The Women’s Organisation can confirm this is true as we nearly couldn’t believe it when we had responses to our work emails just mere days after Lauren gave birth! Now Carter is nearly a year old, Lauren is perfecting the balanced art of being a ‘Mumpreneur’ as shown in her article on The Chic Blog here!

Ben Mak Designs at the North West Fashion Festival 2014
‘The great thing about PR and Events is that you can do a lot of work from home if you need to. I do prefer coming into the office, but I can do bits and pieces from home. It’s great to be able to work around him and his routine, and luckily he’s a good kid. I took him to a photo-shoot a few weeks ago and he had a great time!’  Lauren is adamant that she wouldn’t change being self-employed for the world, fully relishing the flexibility and freedom that it allows for herself and Carter.

But as with anyone who works for themselves, Lauren does face some challenges. She told us; ‘Sometimes it’s a bit tough not having that extra bit of guidance, not having someone to ask those difficult questions. But my team are great, and I always ask them and get their opinions on things, and also I have a mentor which I couldn’t do without.’ Lauren reiterated the importance of having a mentor both for her work and personal life; ‘It’s important to have someone to speak to, someone who has been there and done it.’

So what does the next year hold for Lauren and Chic? Events are a staple in the Chic Team’s calendar, having already recently hosted the She Shea Ladies Lunch, Just Bella’s Launch Party at Isla Gladstone and the opening of Smudge Boutique in West Kirby, and scheduling many more events in the diary for the upcoming months. The Chic team will also be working hard to pull together an amazing fashion and beauty extravaganza for the North West Fashion Festival and continue to build their client list across the city and country.

Just as 2016 is going to be a great year for The Women’s Organisation, we know that it’s also going to be great for Lauren Greene and Chic PR & Events, so keep your eyes out for what she gets up to!

Congratulations again to Lauren Greene from Chic PR & Events – the winner of #WIBA16 Newcomer of the Year Award! To get in touch with Lauren and find out more about Chic, use the contact details below!

Contact details

Website –
Phone Number - 07841935690

Twitter –

The Chic Blog

Friday, March 11, 2016

Meet The Sponsors: Donal Bannon, Partner of Morecrofts Solicitors

#IAmEnterprising is in full force! The deadline for submitting the first Business Briefs is over, and Business Bootcamp is on its way! So we thought that now would be the perfect time to introduce the sponsors of #IAmEnterprising. The sponsors are a massive part of the competition and help to make up the Prize Package for the winner of this year’s #IAmEnterprising!

Firstly, we are delighted to introduce Morecrofts Solicitors! This is Morecrofts second year as the headline sponsor of #IAmEnterprising and they are generously funding the £1,000 cash sponsorship that makes up the £3,000 Prize Package. This £1,000 cash can be used by the winner of the competition in whichever way they see fit to help them start their business. Whether that’s buying equipment, renting premises, buying marketing materials or throwing a launch party for the business! The £1,000 cash can be used for anything to do with the business idea!

So who are the wonderful Morecrofts? We found out…

‘Morecrofts is one of Liverpool’s oldest most respected businesses. In fact, you might be surprised to learn how old.

Established in 1813, we have been in existence longer than many of our city’s most recognisable landmarks. St George’s Hall, both iconic cathedrals, even the world famous Liver Building, were all built whilst we have been busy practising law on behalf of the city’s people and its businesses.’

Morecrofts Solicitors is one of Liverpool’s oldest Family Law Solicitors and most respected Private and Commercial Law Firms, now offering services nationwide. They pride themselves on legal excellence and exceptional customer service, a formula that has resulted in clients returning to them time and time again.

Donnal with the 2015 winner; Kate Johnson of Gallery Cocoa
So now you know that who Morecrofts are, we’ve got some words of wisdom from Donal Bannon, who is a Partner there. Donal has been instrumental in the #IAmEnterprising competition, participating as a judge at last year’s Championship Event and will be helping the team at this year’s Business Bootcamp.

Here are Donal’s words of wisdom to the #IAmEnterprising competition entrants…

‘I would advise those entering the competition to plan their presentation for the Championship Event carefully, and think about their presentation. It should be clear who their target market is, how their business will be profitable and not face cash flow issues and what, if any, is the potential for growth’

54 St James Street Celebrates Inspirational Women All Year Round

Now, we know that International Women’s Day was celebrated on Tuesday but it is a little known fact that March actually signified Women’s History Month especially in the United States as the first International Women’s Day is traced back to 1911 in New York. Of course, every day, week and month is dedicated to women here at 54 St James Street and The Women’s Organisation as this building is the Women’s International Centre for Economic Development (WICED) and is a bustling place of female owned or led businesses and the team behind The Women’s Organisation.

When the building was being built it was decided that all of meeting, conference and event rooms and spaces would be named after inspirational women who we believed achieved great and important things in the lifetime. The Women’s Organisation wanted to honour these women and keep their names on everyone’s lips and their work in the front of everyone’s mind for decades to come.

In this blog, we’d like to introduce you to the women of 54 St James Street, so when you visit our building, you’ll understand when we direct you to the Roddick Rooms or Simey Suite!

Here are The Women of 54 St James Street…

Rita Bebbington - Rita Bebbington, who is sadly no longer with us, but whose commitment to equality and social justice continues to influence our work. As one of the founding members of Train 200, the forerunner to The Women's Organisation, Rita played an instrumental role, not only as a board member but also by dedicating a great deal of time, energy and passion on a voluntary basis. Her memory lives on in all of us as we strive to live up to her goal to change and improve the economic position of women. Read more about Rita here.

Margaret Simey - Margaret Bayne Todd was born in Glasgow and was a political and social campaigner but is usually more associated with Liverpool, settling here in the 1920's and becoming the first woman to achieve a degree in sociology. She married Tom Simey, a political scientist at Liverpool University; he was later awarded a life peerage by Harold Wilson, but she did not use the title "Lady Simey". They had one son.  Serving as a magistrate in Liverpool, Margaret was awarded an honorary doctorate of the University of Liverpool for her services to the community and in 2002 was offered the honour of Freeman of the City of Liverpool, but declined. Read more about Margaret here.

Rosa Parks - Rosa Parks was born in Tuskegee, Alabama. Rose’s mother was a schoolteacher and her father was a carpenter. At the age of nineteen Rosa married a man named Raymond Parks who at the time was a barber. Rosa and her husband were both involved in various civil rights causes. She was very influential in all aspects of the Civil Rights movement, but her biggest contribution was the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Read more about Rosa here.

Aung San Suu Kyi - Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy in Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi has won numerous international awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, the Sakharov Prize from the European Parliament and the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom. She has called on people around the world to join the struggle for freedom in Burma, saying ‘Please use your liberty to promote ours.’ Read more about Aung San Suu Kyi here.

Kitty Wilkinson - Catherine Wilkinson was born in Derry, Ireland and was an Irish immigrant 'wife of a labourer' who became known as the Saint of the Slums. In 1832, during a cholera epidemic, Wilkinson took the initiative to offer the use of her house and yard to neighbours to wash their clothes, at a charge of 1 penny per week, and showed them how to use a chloride of lime to get them clean. Read more about Kitty here.

Millicent Fawcett - Millicent also took a keen interest in women's education. She was involved in the organisation of women's lectures at Cambridge that led to the establishment of Newnham College. In 1890 Millicent Fawcett was elected president of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). She believed that it was important that the NUWSS campaigned for a wide variety of causes. Read more about Millicent here.

Eleanor Rathbone - Eleanor Florence Rathbone was born in London and educated at home by a governess and private tutors before entering Somerville College, Oxford in 1893. At university Rathbone became involved in the struggle to obtain women the vote and eventually became a leading figure in the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). Read more about Eleanor here.

Marie Curie - Marie Curie was famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first person to be honoured with two Nobel prizes in physics and chemistry. Marie Curie developed methods for the separation of radiation from radioactive residues in sufficient quantities to allow for its characterisation and the careful study of its properties, therapeutic properties in particular. Read more about Marie here.

Josephine Butler - Born in Northumberland, Josephine Elizabeth Butler was a Victorian era British Feminist who was especially concerned with the welfare of prostitutes. She led the long campaign for the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts both in Britain and internationally from 1869 to 1886. Read more about Josephine here.

Anita Roddick - Born in Sussex, Dame Anita Roddick, DBE was a British businesswoman, human rights activist and environmental campaigner, best known as the founder of The Body Shop, a cosmetics company producing and retailing beauty products that shaped ethical consumerism. The company was one of the first to prohibit the use of ingredients tested on animals and one of the first to promote fair trade with third world countries. Read more about Anita here.

Valerie Amos - Baroness Valerie Amos is the eighth UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. There are many ‘firsts’ in the biography of Baroness Valerie Amos. She was the first black woman to become the Leader of the House of Lords and a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom. Read more about Valerie Amos here. 

We are very proud to honour these inspirational women at 54 St James Street! 

Monday, March 7, 2016

20 Year Reflections | Vickie Anderson | Liverpool Cheese Company | #WIBA16 Business of the Year Winner

2016 is a big year for The Women’s Organisation – it marks our 20th birthday and we have plenty of interesting and exciting things lined up throughout the year to celebrate this! And some fantastic interviews will be part of this! To mark our 20th birthday, throughout 2016 we will be interviewing some incredible women and sharing their stories with you. These women may have been long-time supporters of The Women’s Organisations, women who accessed our support during our very early years, women who have been instrumental in the development of the organisation and gender equality as a whole, or simply women who we think are frankly marvellous, and want to know more about!

We hope that you enjoy these interviews throughout 2016 and can celebrate with us the incredible lives and journeys of the women that we interview. This series of interviews will be called ’20 Year Reflections’ and we always want to hear your thoughts and views! Join in the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #WOWeAre20

If 2016 is a big year for The Women’s Organisation, it is just as big of a year for another woman – Vickie Anderson, the founder and owner of the Liverpool Cheese Company as this year marks their 10th year in business! And having recently won Business of the Year at Downtown's Women in Business Awards this month,  Liverpool Cheese Company is frankly an institution and this seemed like the perfect time to speak to Vickie about the business and her journey over the last 10 years! 

Upon meeting Vickie it would be easy to believe that she has been a Cheesemonger her whole life, you could be fooled into thinking that the Liverpool Cheese Company’s shop in Woolton Village has been there since the beginning of time with Vickie and her husband Ian at the helm of it, but you’d be wrong, as the shop has been there just 10 years and there was a whole lifetime before the shop for both Vickie and Ian.

Vickie says; ‘I worked in housing for a number of years, as a director in a Housing Association.  In the Christmas of 2005 I took voluntary redundancy and that’s where everything began’ – After taking the voluntary redundancy, Vickie was also offered some consultancy to go along with this, which she took. Here she began speaking to a Life Coach in St Helens and told her quite simply that she wanted to open up a Cheese Shop. ‘I used to meet with her every week, and she’d ask me what the plan was, or how I was progressing. And I just used to reply that first I’ve got to find a job in housing and then I’d open up a Cheese Shop. She said to me – ‘Why do you have to find a job in housing? Why don’t you just open the Cheese Shop’ – and that’s where it clicked!’

To get the ball rolling Vickie trained at The Cheese Shop in Chester with Carol Faulkner, and although she was a life-long fan of cheese it was here where Vickie learnt the skills and knowledge that are crucial to becoming a Cheesemonger.  Vickie told us; ‘There are not many proper cheesemongers in Britain, that is people who know and understand the product, who mature cheeses and care for them in controlled conditions.  It’s so much more than just getting the cheese from a wholesaler and putting it in a fridge and selling it. It’s about looking after it and giving expert advice. Several of the Cheesemongers in the UK have been trained by Carol (Faulkner) so working with her was great. Being a Cheesemonger means having that little bit of extra knowledge’

To us though, ‘extra knowledge’ is an understatement! What Vickie and Ian don’t know about cheese, frankly isn’t worth knowing. With over 200 cheeses in their shop and the ability to talk articulately about each and every single one, is perhaps one of the many reasons why Liverpool Cheese Company have stood the test of time. Vickie is passionate about giving people a ‘Cheese Education’, particularly younger people. ‘I think young people have major issues with food now, because their taste buds are a lot different to older peoples. They like a strong flavour which has come about because of all the extra things that are added into food nowadays. I enjoy getting young people into cheese and the tasting of it.  We work with young people on work experience and apprenticeships along with University students.’

But for Vickie, it hasn’t always been an easy ride with Liverpool Cheese Company, and like any business there have been hard times at the beginning. ‘When I first opened, I used to say to my Bank Manager – ‘I used to run a not for profit organisation, and I still do!’ A lot of people didn’t think we would last very long but thankfully we have! And there have been learning curves along the way. The first time we ever had a stall at the Farmers Market in Woolton Village, we went along with hundreds of pieces of wrapped up cheese that we’d cut up beforehand. We quickly realised this wasn’t the way to do it and that we could cut up the cheese as we sold it!’

The Farmers Markets have been a great publicity for Liverpool Cheese Company and they still are involved with them now, ten years on. You can find Vickie and her team on Lark Lane on the fourth Saturday of every month, University Square on the second Thursday of every month, and on Allerton Road on the third Saturday of the month. 

As well as this, there is of course, Cheese School – an idea so simple but one that has become incredibly popular. Cheese School has been running for about three years, and twice a month Vickie takes over the top floor of The Clove Hitch on Hope Street and teaches a ‘class’ all about the wonders of cheese with plenty of tasting, plentiful portions and exciting pairings from whiskey, beer and even gin specialists from across the North West. The Women’s Organisation have been teamed up with Vickie on multiple occasions for fantastic cheese parties, raising money for our Teenage Cancer Trust mission and celebrating in festive style with our Business Club members at Cheesey Festive Networking!

The Liverpool Cheese Company have picked up several awards and accolades along the way and one that Vickie is particularly proud of is being named one of Britain’s top ten cheese shops in respect of the many Cheese Wedding Cakes she produces.  An average 4 “cakes” a week ensures that many happy events all over the UK are made happier by the presence of cheese!

As well as pairing up with us for special events, Vickie has been a long-time friend of The Women’s Organisation, working with our Business Advisers back when we were known as Train 2000 and based in the Wellington Buildings. ‘My Business Adviser back then was great, and Train 2000 were the people that actually suggested we look at Woolton Village for our premises and of course insisted that we write a Business Plan. I thought that we didn’t really need one, but it’s a good thing to practice.’

Now though, after 10 years there are some clear lessons that Vickie has learnt about running a business and is clear on her view that the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to being your own boss. Vickie says; ‘The beautiful thing about running your own business, is that if something isn’t going right, it can be easy to correct it. You’re managing a boat not a ship and it’s easy to turn something around. You’re in control and it’s you who is coming up with the new ideas and making things happen.’

One of the greatest parts of hearing Vickie’s story is hearing about the transformational change her life has taken from before she began Liverpool Cheese Company ten years ago, and the impact that has had on her life. ‘I used to work all across the country, and my nearest offices were in Manchester or Preston, so every day involved at least an hour of driving. I used to have to work in Bristol or in London or York so I was constantly in the car. It was a ridiculous amount of time and it just wasn’t worth it. It was a big thing for me to be able to walk to work, that was one of the main things that I wanted. And now I can, we live just down the road and I barely ever drive.

So now that Vickie has made that dream a reality, and reached the massive milestone of a decade in business, here is to the next 10 years of the Liverpool Cheese Company. From Cheese School to Farmer’s Markets, Wedding Cheese Cakes to the queue half way through Woolton Village on Christmas Eve – it’s safe to say that Liverpool Cheese Company is a big deal for the people of Liverpool, Merseyside and the North West, and we wouldn’t want to ever be without it!

Congratulations to Vickie, Ian and the team of the Liverpool Cheese Company for decade in business! 

Liverpool Cheese Company Ltd.
29a Woolton Street

Telephone 0151 4283942