Friday, December 23, 2011

Father's Legacy Inspires Susan's 'Mushin Martial Arts Academy'

When Susan King’s father sadly passed away, Susan decided to use the money he had left her to carry on his legacy and do something she knew would make him proud. So she took the brave step to set up her own martial arts academy ‘Mushin Marital Arts’.

Susan started training in martial arts at just 15 years of age when her father expressed his keenness to have her be able to defend herself. Although Susan had built up her career working as a manageress in sports retail, she developed her martial arts training over 26 years offering classes on a voluntary basis in the community.

Now a 5th degree black belt ‘godan’ Susan is one of the few women in the UK to be ranked so highly and she is keen to see more women have a go at the sport. “Women seem to think that they can’t do it”, says Susan, “However, it’s not a sport that uses strength; it is more about self-defence. Anyone can do it; women just need more confidence to try it out.”

At the point of setting up her business Susan had been out of work for several months, and the thought of signing off benefits to work for herself was both daunting and exciting. Susan was directed to The Women’s Organisation for support via another local support service. She said “I did my business plan with one of their business advisers who was so helpful. Capital was the main barrier in setting up the business, so I was glad of help to put together grant applications.”

The Mushin Marital Arts Academy were awarded grant funding from local enterprise initiative Stepclever to enable them to cover their business start-up costs.

“I’m feeling positive that we’ve managed to open the academy, and everyone who has come through the doors has said it’s fantastic. We really have tried to make sure there is something for everyone, from suiting the traditionalists to those who are into their MMA and I think we’ve managed to achieve that.”

Mushin Martial Arts Academy which is located at 180a Queens Drive offers a range of classes including: Japanese Ju-Jitsu, Sambo (which is a Russian form of wrestling),Women’s Thai boxing, fitness classes, Aiki Budo, Thai Boxing, children’s boxing and grappling, little Samurai’s and Combatives - fitness class. To find out more about the classes on offer from Mushin Martial Arts visit or contact Susan on 0790612610. You can also follow @mushinacademy on Twitter or befriend them on facebook.

Reflecting on her achievement Susan said “This is something I have always passionately wanted to do. Working for yourself gives you more drive. It’s your own, not someone else’s and that is a great feeling.”

Susan’s advice to other women considering self-employment is “Get help from someone who knows what they are doing. There was so much that goes into a business plan I hadn’t realised needed to go in it. If it wasn’t for The Women’s Organisation I would still be running around in circles.”

If like Susan you are looking for support in following your dream to start up your own business call The Women’s Organisation on 0151 706 8111 and find out about the range of FREE services we can offer. You can also email or visit

Monday, December 19, 2011

Knowsley's Angela Launches 'McAllister Mobile Chiropody/Podiatry' Business

When Angela McAllister graduated from University it had been her plan to pursue a career with the NHS. “With the government cuts I found there were just no jobs, so I thought self-employment was the best way to go” said Angela.

Knowsley resident Angela contacted Business Link for guidance and was directed to women’s enterprise support agency The Women’s Organisation.

“My business adviser was just lovely. She helped me with my business plan, my costings and marketing plan. It was in speaking to her that I realised I definitely wanted to go self-employed. I also did courses on tax and basic book keeping at The Women’s Organisation which were great”

Planning her business was a real learning curve for Angela who reflected “I had always envisioned that my customers would mainly be the elderly, but while I was doing my market research I got in touch with Asda who agreed to let me test my services on staff. It was then I realised younger people could really benefit too.”

Angela was concerned knowing that there would be a lot of trained professionals leaving University in the same predicament as her and realised she needed a unique selling point to help her stand out from the crowd. “In discussions with my adviser Francine I mentioned that I had previously been a beauty therapist. I realised combining those skills with the health care training I had done would give me the competitive edge.”

Upon starting her business Angela was awarded a £200 grant from The Women’s Organisation and £600 from Knowsley Council’s Fresh Start scheme that helped her to buy her equipment. “I was delighted with the funding. It helped me to get what I needed to make me look professional.”

As well as running her own business ‘McAllister Mobile Chiropdy/Podiatry’, Angela takes care of her elderly parents. “Working for myself means that I can organise my appointments around caring for them” she said. “I can do their shopping or nip to see them at lunch or between appointments. It’s a real help.”

Angela is feeling positive about the progress of her business to date and has built up a strong client base of repeat custom, nursing homes and family groups. “Each month I have made more than the month before and that’s great. I love what I do. I love treating feet and I love that I have flexibility to offer appointments at any time between 8am and 8pm and to be able to support clients who don’t want to hang on the 4 or 5 months they can wait for treatment through the NHS. People’s feet are never as bad as they think. Any problems with feet I can either fix myself or refer a client on to the best person to help.”

Angela’s advice to other women considering self-employment is “Go along to The Women’s Organisation to get help with your business plan. I wouldn’t have known where to start without them, and they are great for continued support. Facebook has also been great for my business. I’m going into the homes of people I don’t know anything about quite often, so connecting through facebook helps you to get to know a bit about them first.”

McAllister Mobile Chiropody/Podiatry provide a mobile chiropody service which offers skin and nail treatments combined with lower leg and foot massage in the comfort of your own home. Angela is fully qualified and is registered with the health professions council, The Society of Chiropodist and podiatrist which means she has full insurance cover. For more information or to book appointments call Angela on 07548747475 or find her business on facebook.

If you are thinking about creating your own job by using your skills and qualifications to set up a small business, then contact The Women’s Organisation for advice and support on 0151 706 8111 or

Photography by Abi Booth

Friday, December 2, 2011

Craft Your Way Through the Recession with 'Hours of Fun'

Craft enthusiast Rachel Garner is hoping to bring ‘Hours of Fun’ to Liverpool and beyond. Rachel’s haberdashery and craft shop can be found online at and retails both homemade items ready-made, and craft kits to be able to make your own bits and bobs and maybe save some money during the recession.

Having come from a family of teachers, 32 year old Rachel had always felt the pressure to pursue a structured career path. She found herself working in admin and HR, but couldn’t resist the pull of her true passion which was crafts and creativity.
“I have been making my own cards and other bits for 10 or 12 years now”, said Rachel. “I just love making things. When I completed my certificate in training practice through my day job and found I’d got a distinction, it got me thinking about what else I could use those skills for.”

A friend Rachel met through a cake decorating course told her how The Women’s Organisation had helped her to set up her own business. Rachel decided to get in touch and see if she could turn her hobby into a business. Having never done a business plan before Rachel was really grateful for the help from her business adviser at the organisation and said “The template they gave me was amazing”.
At first Rachel felt a little overwhelmed having never run a business before and said “after my first meeting I went home and said to my hubby ‘I just can’t do it’. It’s great to see where I am now. I couldn’t have done it without The Women’s Organisation”.

Rachel also attended training courses around book keeping and understanding tax and national insurance with the organisation which she found were “really useful and good for meeting other people”.

As well as an online store ‘Hours of Fun’ are going to be launching training courses in the new year, offering opportunity for adults to meet together to learn a craft such as card making, or to add a bit of fun to a children’s party decorating your own cup-cakes, or painting your own pots.

“My dream is to bring crafts to all ages to inspire creativity and home crafting” she enthused. “Crafts are really back in fashion. I think with the recession people are looking for cheaper options. Crafts can be the fun and affordable way forward.”
Reflecting on the currently popular show ‘Kirstie’s Handmade Britain’ with Kirstie Allsop Rachel said “Much like Kirstie I just love trying lots of different crafts and like to think of myself as a ‘jack of all crafts’, but my favourites at the moment are card making and felting.”

Having turned her dream into reality and launched her own business, Rachel said “It’s been a huge learning curve. I am lucky to have a good support network of family and friends who all have a variety of skills and have been able to help me along the way. If someone else were to ask me for advice on setting up a business I would say contact The Women’s Organisation before you do, attend all the classes for the information and the people you meet, and do it at a speed that suits you. I am a person who likes to carefully research things before jumping in. Sometimes in doing that I found myself making excuses to other people as to why I wasn’t pushing things along faster. But I have realised that it is better to go at your own speed and do all the research first.”

To find out more about Hours of Fun, visit their website or email Rachel on

If like Rachel you would like to turn your hobby into a profitable business then contact The Women’s Organisation to see what free support is on offer on 0151 706 8111 or

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Maggie O'Carroll is 'Woman of the Year' - Livercool 2011

Downtown Liverpool held their prestigious 'Livercool' awards ceremony celebrating local business success in Crowne Plaza last Thursday night. The Women's Organisation were delighted to see a number of our clients among the nominees including: Emma Dolan of Your Business Ezine - Nominated in the Marketer 2011 category, Kayleigh & Talia Baccino of Trendy Vend- Nominated in the Young Entrepreneur 2011 category and Victoria Brown of High Performance Consultancy who was the eventual winner of Young Entrepreneur 2011.

The biggest cheer of the night came when our very own CEO Maggie O'Carroll was deservedly named 'Woman of the Year'. Maggie founded The Women’s Organisation (formally Train 2000) in 1996 and has grown it into the largest UK-based women’s economic development social enterprise. This has enabled Maggie to pursue her passion for women’s enterprise - having a real, positive impact on women’s lives, whether nurturing new businesses towards a viable future, driving improvements in legislation and power structures or contributing to social awareness. This year the physical realisation of her commitment to women's economic development came to life with the creation of WICED (Women's International Centre for Economic Development). The £5.3m development opened its doors in Liverpool to the first groups of local women in January 2011 and is continuing to build momentum as both a centre for women's enterprise and development, as well as an international research hub to promote gender equality.

A massive congratulations to Maggie and all of the winners and nominees.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Conference and Meeting Centre - 54 St James Street

54 St James Street is a stunning and unique new building conveniently located between the pioneering Baltic Triangle and Liverpool’s China Town and minutes’ walk from Liverpool One and Bold Street.

Completed in January 2011, the centre is designed to provide a light, modern, welcoming and distinctive addition to city life.

This fully accessible and flexible venue is a perfect location to host business meetings, conferences or private events. A range of individually styled rooms appropriate for gatherings of 2 to 150 people are available for hire for as little as an hour.

Our private garden provides relaxing external space within the venue, and the two fourth floor terraces provide chilled-out, music enhanced, reception spaces with excellent views of the City.

With friendly reception staff, complimentary wireless access throughout the building and a range of audio visual facilities including integrated data projectors, blu-ray players and smart boards; plasma screens for projection or TV; and video conferencing facilities this building meets the needs of people who require a highly professional service in a contemporary setting.

Our Rooms

Roddick Rooms
A sophisticated venue with fabulous views of the River Mersey and Liverpool City, these rooms can be used as one or divided into two or three separate areas. Fully equipped with integrated audio-visual equipment these are elegant training, networking or social spaces.
The Roddick Rooms are very versatile; located on the fourth floor of the building and have easy access to external terraces.

Fawcett Room
A light, airy semi-circular room on our second floor the Fawcett is appropriate for networking and training events, can accommodate 36 cabaret style and 40 theatre style, or can be left as an open space for free circulation for slightly larger groups.

Keller; Parks and Simey Suites
The Suites are located on the first, second and third floor of the building, each is styled differently, but all have the same facilities of plasma screen; TV; integrated audio visual and IT. The Suites provide smart environments ideal for hosting client presentations, board meetings and staff development sessions.

Bebbington Lounge
The Bebbington Lounge is a relaxed yet vibrant space ideal for more informal meetings or interviews. Also works in conjunction with the Simey Suite as a reception and breakout space for development days.

Suu Kyi; Butler; Rathbone; Curie and Amos Rooms
These smaller meeting rooms are stylishly and comfortably designed to facilitate meetings of between 2 and 6 people.

We offer a 10% discount on room rates to tenants of the building and smaller charities/social enterprises with an annual turnover less than £250,000

For further information, including room capacity, viewings, a competative quote and bookings please phone Sandra, 0151 706 8100 or email

54 St James Street is a development of The Women’s Organisation which works for women’s economic progress. The Women’s Organisation has been a non-profit distributing company since 1996 (formerly known as Train 2000). Our outlook is international. We promote entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainable business growth. We aim to enable women to achieve success and greater prosperity, to become leaders and to connect with each other. The building is a tangible representation of our values.

All rooms have natural ventilation as well as locally controlled heating and cooling systems. Sustainability is integral to the building design and in line with BREEAM Excellent standards.

On street parking is available for visitors, we have limited car parking spaces which can be reserved in advance for disabled visitors. A bicycle store and shower facilities are available for cyclists using the building.
Refreshments are available through our in-house team, catering is currently offered through local women led small businesses or social enterprise providers.

The Women’s Organisation, 54 St James Street, Liverpool, L1 0AB

Thursday, September 1, 2011

From Redundancy to Self Employment Success for Stockport Mums

When facing redundancy friends of 9 years Sharon Edwards and Shelley Garrett saw it as an opportunity. Using their wealth of experience in the field of educational consultancy they set up ‘Quality First Training & Consultancy’ in Stockport and haven’t looked back.

Sharon said “When the government cuts came, Manchester was hit harder than anyone anticipated. Myself and colleagues within the field of education were offered severance packages. It was very daunting the thought of giving up a well-paid job, but the offer of the severance was both a push and a cushion at the same time. The opportunity to work for ourselves was scary and exciting in equal measures.”

Sharon, Shelley and other colleagues who were also facing redundancy and considering self-employment decided to share their contact details so as not to lose touch. Before they knew it they had created their own network of support for their fledgling businesses. Meeting the first Wednesday of the month at Metropolitan Pub in Didsbury, the former colleagues share information, offer emotional support to one another and share their wealth of skills and ideas. The group who also keep in contact via email circulation has proven invaluable for support and was the starting point of Sharon and Shelley finding out about the free business support available through The Women’s Organisation.

“The help from The Women’s Organisation was excellent”, said Sharon. “Our business adviser there Lisa was so clear and organised. We hadn’t really understood the need for a business plan really. I suppose we were just of the mind of ‘go out there and start doing’. But putting together the plan with Lisa’s help has really focussed us. We refer back to it constantly to see if we are meeting our targets, and the blurb that took us time to pull together for the plan we now use in our marketing. So it was well worth it.”

Both Sharon and Shelley’s friends and family have been a great support in helping them develop their business. Shelley’s partner offered support with photography for their promotional materials, Sharon’s daughter is helping them all the way from New Zealand to set up their website, Sharon’s brother in law supported them with accountancy advice and Shelley’s 15 month old son has been offering plenty of supportive smiles along the way.

Sharon said of their journey “We were always very resourceful in our previous employment, so I guess that prepared us for self-employment and learning new skills as we go. Having come through redundancy it’s almost like we rose from the ashes. Things are going well so far and the people who have accessed our consultancy services and attended our courses have given us very positive feedback so we are feeling optimistic about the future.”

Quality First Training and Consultancy offers specialist support in behaviour and attendance, emotional health and well-being and coaching. Between them, Shelley and Sharon bring a wealth of experience. Having both started out as classroom teachers then working as Behaviour Needs teachers they were asked to take on the role of Behaviour and Attendance Consultants. They were then able to roll out the national ‘Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning’ programme to Manchester schools, where their work was recognised nationally. With the added bonus of having worked in both primary and secondary education settings they can fully understand and appreciate all aspects of the day to day issues facing local schools and educational organisations. Quality First Services are broken down into 4 key areas:

Quality First Consultancy
Offering schools, academies and settings bespoke consultancy in any area of behaviour and attendance.

Quality First Training
A range of training packages available, e.g. behaviour management, improving attendance, using solution focused approaches, SEAL. These are available for delivery to whole staff or groups during staff meetings, twilights or training days. In addition support can be offered to plan, deliver and evaluate bespoke training events in your workplace and across networks.

Quality First Behaviour Reviews
Behaviour reviews of various lengths, starting from 1 day, are available tailored to the specific focus identified and / or size of your school, academy or setting. A written report will be compiled with recommendations and discussed in detail at a follow up meeting.

Quality First Coaching
Whatever your needs Quality First offer skilled and experienced coaches who can provide professional and personal coaching to support you to develop your capacity to find sustainable solutions to your challenges.

For more information on what Quality First Training and Consultancy can offer visit their website at or contact them on 07415 705653 or

And if like Sharon and Shelley you are looking for support to develop your own business then why not contact The Women’s Organisation on 0161 833 8800/0151 706 8111 or for more information on the FREE support available to women.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Stockport's Sian Finds 'Top Venues'

Having gained 10 years’ experience in the hospitality industry working for other people, Sian Pelleschi could see great potential for growth and slicker ways to run things. She said “Working for someone else there are always channels to go through before you can get a full ok on any decision.” Sian decided it was time to take the bull by the horns and set up her Manchester based company ‘Top Venues’.

Top Venues is a free and impartial venue finding service focusing on conferences, exhibitions, training, meetings and incentive events. Ensuring that the “focus is quality”, Sian is keen to let clients know that “we take it seriously. We work with clients from start to finish, find out preferences, budgets, what they are trying to get out of it. We’ve got a lot of good contacts with venues across the UK so can offer really good rates, sometimes better than if the client went to the venue directly. We go out and see the venues ourselves. We have the relationship so we can personally work out any problems. We act as a one point of call for the client, liaising with the venue and the client throughout the whole process right through to confirmation. We take a commission from the venue, which isn’t added onto the rates we quote the client, and even then we don’t leave you hanging. We follow up and see if there have been any issues.”

Having contacted Business Link to find support to start up, Sian was directed to The Women’s Organisation where she met with a business adviser locally to look over her business idea and work on her business plan. She said “It was really good. For the most part I felt like I knew what I was doing as I knew the industry, but I did just need that extra support and expertise in the areas I didn’t know about. I also went on some of the courses with The Women’s Organisation. It was great to meet people at the same stage with their business as me and to bat ideas around.”

It wasn’t an easy decision and Sian knew there were things to weigh up. “The scariest part of stepping out of employment and cutting a salary off was considering that I have a mortgage to pay. But I had lots of support. My family and friends were all pushing me to do it. Sometimes the people closest to you know more than you what your capabilities are. It’s surprising how many people said ‘yes you should go for it’. It’s going well so far and I’ve already started meeting new clients and helping with their events.”

Sian said of running her own business “It is the best thing I ever did. I feel so much more in control. I am able to meet clients personally, visit venues, make decisions of how to push things forward. The part I enjoy most is meeting new people, making contacts. There is a real sense of fulfilment when you can find the right venue for them. I am really looking forward to pushing this business forward, to have the type of company I always wanted to have. That’s the focus and that’s the drive.”

The most important thing to consider when starting a business according to Sian is to “make sure you are clear on what it is that you want to achieve. Prepare yourself for what you need to do, be aware of the legalities, do everything in an order, plan, put a date line in place. You can end up back tracking otherwise.”

As well as venue finding, Sian and Top Venues are branching out to offer full event planning services at an additional cost. If you are interested in finding out more about how you can use Top Venues to help you find the right setting for your event then contact 0844 870 9963 or visit the website

And if like Sian you are a woman who is interested in starting up your own business please contact The Women’s Organisation for free advice and support on 0151 706 8111 /0161 833 8800 or email Alternatively visit

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Women's Organisation WICED Development

The Women's Organisation unveiled a first image of the proposed £5.3 m Women’s International Centre for Economic Development (WICED) back in September 2009. Work soon got underway on the development which is located in the Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool, on the corner of St James Street and Norfork Street.

What was a patch of bare wasteland now houses the fantastic new building which will provide a range of enterprise support services, including space for up to 80 business units to help women start and grow their businesses as well as serving as an international research hub for women's economic development.
The 2,000sqm centre aims to ‘break the gender gap’ in starting businesses and is expected to help 3,000 women set up businesses in the next 10 years. The project has been jointly-funded by WICED, the North West Development Agency, Future Builders and Liverpool Council.

The Women's Organisation have now started to house their first tenants and are happy to show interested parties around the building. Rates for rented office space depend on the size of the room and any additional services required e.g. telephone services. Those interested can express their requirements and receive a quote tailored to individual needs.

The virtual office and meeting room rates start from £15 plus VAT per month to rent a virtual office. Meeting rooms can be rented from £60 plus VAT per day with half day rates also available.

Tenants receive 10% discount on the cost of meeting room hire and by doing business in our new building, you can tap into a wealth of valuable resources including networking and business advice and support.

Call The Women's Organisation on 0151 706 8111 or email to arrange a viewing.

Photos by

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Liverpool Woman Turns Photography Passion into a Business

Having worked for 10 years as a photographer for other people, Liverpool resident Emma Hillier took a moment to reflect. Her choices we apparent – either be a manager of someone else’s studio, which would involve less photography and more paperwork or branch out on her own and carry on doing what she loved – taking photographs.

Emma said “The whole thing was quite daunting at first. I didn’t know where to start and, as all the kit I had been using belonged to the studio I was employed at, I needed money for equipment so it was like starting from scratch. But I figured if you don’t try, you’re never going to know if you could do it.”

Not knowing where to begin Emma contacted Business Link for advice who put her in touch with The Women’s Organisation where she was linked with a business adviser. She said “I had a lot of help from my adviser. The whole thing with looking at the business plan was great. It helped me to realise what I wanted to do and put it in order. I could see where I was and where I wanted to go.”

Using her initiative Emma took photographs of friends’ weddings and portraits of friends’ children to start building up her portfolio again and things developed from there. Her friends and family weren’t surprised that she took the bold step to branch out on her own knowing her passion for photography and how keen she was to be behind the camera more.

As a tip to other women setting up Emma advised “You must do your market research – see what your competitors are doing, and you’ve got to be passionate about what you do and motivate yourself. I think being a woman in my industry can give me the competitive edge, particularly in photographing children. In my experience it seems that mums can be more trusting of other women and feel more at ease.”

Emma also took advantage of the FREE courses on offer at The Women’s Organisation around basic book keeping, understanding tax and national insurance and promoting your business online. “It can get lonely working for yourself” said Emma. “I have gone from working in an office with a team of other people to working on my own. That’s why I enjoy the courses and events: it helps you feel less isolated.”
Online networking through sites like facebook Emma has discovered to be invaluable for building links and word of mouth marketing. In fact she said she has gathered more work that way than through any other marketing.

Starting her own business Emma says is “The best decision” she ever made. Emma Hillier Photography specialise in children and family portraits and weddings, also producing landscape images as art for the home. For more information on their services you can search for their fanpage on facebook or get in touch via or 07919 091 211.

And, if like Emma you are interested in starting up your own business call The Women’s Organisation on 0151 706 8111 and find out about the range of FREE services we can offer. You can also email or visit

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Women's Organisation Business Club Launches!

Business women from Merseyside and Greater Manchester came together for the launch of The Women's Organisations FREE business club. Held at The Women's Organisations brand new offices at 54 St James street the Business Club offered 'Successful Sales' as the topic for the first meeting.

Jo Copoc of Boomerang Business Solutions who set up with help from The Women's Organisation gave and inspiring talk around winning the 'yes' from customers and improving overall average orders.

Speaking from her experience of dealing with large brands and blue chip companies Jo stepped the women through techniques for making your deisred customers know you exist, getting them to notice your potential and building relationships that lead to sales. Jo says of business:

"As business owners we are walking adverts and our sales ability has to be exceptional to compete in this climate.
Word of mouth is the highest quality lead any business can generate, but in the current climate we are all so busy being reactive to the day to day processes that sometimes we forget our sales strategy and growth areas."

The Women's Organisation business adviser Mike Marsden also offered helpful networking tips to the women who attended including "Don't just meet once at a networking event - follow up with key leads".

Feedback from the event included:

"Lovely to see the new building. Fantastic presentation from Jo. Thanks to all"
"Excellent presentation and tips. Thanks"

For more information on how you can join The Women's Organisations Business Club which offers free networking opportunites to women running their own business in Merseyside or Greater Manchester - please contact our team on 0151 706 8111 or

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mum's business creates job for teenage daughter Jessie

DEVOTED mum Louise Gillespie has recently started up her own business and one of her main motivations behind this decision was to create a job for her teenage daughter.

“My 16-year-old daughter Jessica is currently completing her GCSE’s” said Louise, “and she wants a part-time job while she studies and moves on to her A-Levels. Jobs are extremely difficult to come by at the moment, so I thought that if I had my own business then I could give her a job.”

So, 39-year-old Louise set up Jessies Jewels – selling costume jewellery which she buys from suppliers in the UK and then sells at house parties, through a variety of events and on Facebook.

And, whilst running the business Louise also holds down a full time as a practice manager at affirm of solicitors, where she has worked for 23 years. “Running this business is like light relief for me” she said, “It’s so nice to get stuck into something which is completely different to my day job, I am a very upbeat forward thinking person so am really motivated to make Jessie’s Jewels a success.”

Louise initially got the idea to set up the jewellery business when she was shopping with her daughter Jessica for costume jewellery. “I couldn’t believe how expensive it was” she said, “and, it just planted the seed in my head – I thought I could sell jewellery much cheaper than this and still make a profit.”

Now Louise, along with some help from her daughter Jessica, sells a wide range of products at house parties, vintage fares, fashion fares and the jewellery is displayed at numerous locations throughout the Knowsley area, including the Knowsley Chamber of Commerce and the Kirkby Unemployed Centre.

Presently products are sourced from the UK but Louise has long term plans to go further afield in the future to the likes of Hong Kong and India where she will be able to import in larger quantities.

“I have big plans for the business” added Louise “and I really think we can make it a success. As part of my job at the solicitors I run the business side of things, so it is really nice to be able to use my business skills for this new exciting project.

“I decided to set up my own business for a number of reasons but definitely one of the main factors was for my daughter. I have only got one child and as a mum, it’s important to me to be able to help my daughter where ever I can and if that means I can create her a job, then that’s all the better.”

Louise’s daughter Jessica Hill added: “I am really pleased that mum has set the business up and I enjoy working on it with her. I am hoping in the future as I get older, that I can take on more of an active role. Being in business at such a young age is a very exciting opportunity for me and I think other mums and daughters should think about doing the same thing.“

Once Louise had decided to start up the business she came along to The Women’s Organisation where she received free help and advice under the business start-up programme.

She said: “I first heard about The Women’s Organisation through Knowsley Chamber of Commerce – and through another woman who had been supported by the organisation to start up her business as well.”

Louise worked on a one-to-one basis with a business adviser who helped put her business plan together.

She added: “I really found The Women’s Organisation to be very useful. Although I am extremely business minded myself I am quite happy to take on any advice that people have got.”

If you would like to find out more about Jessies Jewels please visit the website at

And, if like Louise you are a woman who is interested in starting up your own business please call The Women’s Organisation on 0151 236 6601 or email Alternatively visit the website at

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sefton businesswomen launch new range of natural skincare products

BETWEEN them friends and business partners Angela Profit and Lynn Smith have almost 120 years of life experience – which they are now putting to good use through their brand new business venture, making natural skincare products.

“We decided to set up our own business ‘O’Naturelle’ some months ago” said Angela, “Because we knew that many of the skincare products on the market were overpriced and had ingredients with a questionable history. It has taken a lot of hard work and research to set up, but we have finally got there – and now we produce our own range of natural creams and lotions with essential oils such as frankincense, rose and other organic ingredients.

“There is so much that goes in to what we do. For months Lynn has been undertaking research on the ingredients that are used in our products and everything we produce has to be certified by a chemist, so it is a very lengthy process that is involved, for each product to reach our high standard.”

Through O’Naturelle Angela and Lynn, who first became friends whilst walking their dogs, sell a range of natural products including lip balms, oils, creams, gels, moisturisers, cleansers and lotions which are currently available at crafts fairs and markets throughout the area and via their website.

Angela and Lynn decided to start up the business when they were both looking for a new challenge in their lives.

“I wanted to do something different” added Angela, “who had previously worked as a holistic therapist, “And Lynn had been working as a building surveyor but was struggling due to the dwindling property market, so we decided to join forces and work on a new venture together.”

Prior to launching the business Angela and Lynn came along to The Women’s Organisation where they received free help and advice. They worked on a one-to-one basis with a business adviser who helped them put together their business plan and were given the opportunity to attend a number of business-related workshops.

Lynn said: “We found out about The Women’s Organisation through Sefton Invest – and we’re so glad that we did! The help we received was fantastic and the courses we attended were very good too.

“Although I had previously been self-employed The Women’s Organisation was still very beneficial, because there is always something new you can learn.”

Lynn and Angela, who are both mums to their grown-up children, are looking to develop their product range further in the future and are hoping to get their products into retail outlets throughout the area as well as attending markets and fairs every month.

“There is continuous work to be put in” added Lynn, “every time we decide on developing a new product there is just so much research to do and then there is the whole process of making and packaging it. It is both challenging and enjoyable work.”

Angela added: “I can honestly say that I am thoroughly enjoying what I do.”
Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the range of products available through O’Naturelle should visit or should call Angela or Lynn on 07903 033 044 or 07944 553 591.

And, if like Angela and Lynn you are a woman from the Sefton area who is interested in starting up your own business please call The Women’s Organisation on 0151 236 6601 or visit

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Words and deeds for Liverpool businesswoman

TWELVE months ago Debra Williams decided it was time to take a look at her life and try something new – and that’s when she turned to self-employment.

“In October 2009 I became a media volunteer for the Woodland Trust” said Debra, “and, when they asked me to do some paid PR work for them, I realised that I did have the necessary skills to turn my interest in writing and editing, into a business working for myself.”

Now, Debra runs Words and Deeds a business offering PR services as well as proof reading – a service which she targets particularly at university students.

She said: “I really enjoy this area of work, it is quite different to what I was previously doing but I have always wanted to get into PR and proof reading since I graduated. I managed to use my skills in these areas when I was working in university administration, writing and editing newsletters and webpages; this experience gave me an excellent grounding for the work I now do on a self-employed basis. ”

And, to add to her business Debra is also offering a dog walking and cat sitting service aimed especially at people who are sick or in respite care.

“I know this is very different to PR and proofreading” added Debra, “but, I was brought up with dogs and have had cats of my own for more than 20 years; and I have got the time and energy for both aspects of the business. I particularly wanted to offer the pet sitting service to people who are sick or need to go into short term care or hospital because I know how much they need it, through voluntary work I have done in this area.”

Debra says she is enjoying running both aspects of her business and is looking forward to building them both up over the forthcoming months.

Prior to starting up her business Debra came along to The Women’s Organisation where she received free help and advice under the business start up programme.

She said: “I was in Barclays opening up a business bank account when I found out about The Women’s Organisation. The services offered to me have been very helpful and I have been able to access a number of services.”

Debra also worked on a one-to-one basis with a business adviser to put her business plan together.

“I love being self-employed” said Debra, “and being able to provide services to people, who really need them.”

Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the services Debra has on offer should contact her on 07783 997 129 or email Alternatively you can visit her website at

And, if like Debra you too are interested in starting up your own business please contact The Women’s Organisation on 0151 236 6601 or visit

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Liverpool businesswoman gets active with BollyFit

DANCER and choreographer Pooja Saini has brought a touch of Bollywood to Liverpool with her brand new business BollyFit.

The 31-year-old has been delivering BollyFit classes to schoolchildren and adults throughout the area and is delighted with how well her business has taken off.

“The programme is not just about losing weight” said mum-of-two Pooja, “it’s about keeping fit, improving stamina, endurance, strength and most importantly improving people’s physical and mental wellbeing.”

Pooja, who is experienced in many genres of dance including, ballet, jazz, salsa, ballroom, bhangra and bollywood - set up her business after the birth of her second child when she decided to just ‘go for it’.

She said: “I had thought about becoming self-employed for a while and after I had my second baby I decided it was the right time.

“The BollyFit classes have really taken off. I have been asked to conduct workshops in schools with Year Four pupils and taught them routines to Bollywood dances, which they loved. I have also been running my fitness classes at sports centres and gyms throughout the area and everyone who attends seems to really enjoy them and get a lot out of it.”

Pooja, who is a huge fan of Asian music, is also running BollyFit parties for children and adults which seem be a huge success.

“I really think they could take off” she said, “ The party involves dressing up with various Indian accessories, dancing and a performance at the end of the party.”

Aside from her passion for dance Pooja is also a trained psychologist, and is currently completing her PhD specialising in mental health. Long-term she plans to use dance to help people improve their mental well being.

“In the past I have done work with young people in secure units” she added “and I have seen firsthand how dance can be used as a tool to help them tackle their problems and work as a form of therapy.”

Pooja’s ultimate goal is to combine both her psychology and Fitness Dancer/Choreographer skills which are both about individuals’ well-being to develop dance therapy workshops.

Prior to starting up her business Pooja came along to The Women’s Organisation after she was referred by Business Link. She received free help and support and worked on a one-to-one basis with a business adviser to put her business plan together.

She said: “My adviser Huda was extremely helpful. She got me to think of all the aspects involved in running a business and she gave me some excellent advice.”

“I would certainly recommend The Women’s Organisation to other women who may be thinking about starting up their own businesses.”

Pooja said that as well as enjoying being her own boss, working for herself fits very well around bringing up a young family as her two children are currently aged just ten months and three years old.

Anyone who is interested in finding out more about Pooja’s BollyFit classes or BollyFit parties should contact her on 07946 169 335.

And, if like Pooja you are a woman from the Liverpool area and are interested in starting up your own business please contact The Women’s Organisation on 0151 236 6601 or visit