Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ruth Marcella Brings Out The Beauty of Business With Orchid Blush

Starting in 2009, Ruth Marcella wanted to give clients the celebrity experience and since then her business has gone from strength to strength. Now with over 40 fully qualified and highly experienced freelance make-up artists and hair stylists, Orchid Blush is one of the leading providers of make-up and hair services in the North West.

Photo by VGGVART

Before becoming self-employed, Ruth studied Fashion Promotion then moved to the North West to start a family. She was working full time in merchandising when the idea of setting up a business came to her. ‘I wanted more flexibility as a mum, self-employment just made sense.’
The move into self-employment was quite an organic process for the mother of 3. Very few problems were encountered, ‘everything seemed to naturally fall into place.’ Originally a stylist, she later moved to make-up, as she realised that is what she was more passionate about.
‘I always enjoyed doing make up so I did a short course and went from there.’
Ruth looked for any business start-up support available and came across Train 2000, now The Women’s Organisation. She attended a range of courses including business planning, bookkeeping and understanding tax & national insurance to help her get Orchid Blush up and running.

Orchid Blush provides a mobile service for all occasions that will travel to any location in the North West. They also have a professional media team who specialise in commercial events such as television, red carpet and photo-shoots.

The business has attracted a number of high profile clients, including EMI Records, Sky 1, Kellogs, Honda, Channel 4, Peroni and Microsoft. Despite this, she still finds it surreal when a big client calls her up.

Ruth recently attended a series of EBEL master classes run by The Women’s Organisation, including ‘Using Linked in for business’ and ‘Marketing planning’. Although she has a background in marketing, she still found the courses very helpful and informative. She explained: ‘You have to appreciate the opportunities given to you on your journey, like courses and networking opportunities.’
For her, the best thing about being self-employed is that she enjoys her job. ‘I never dread going to work. I get to be creative and find the beauty on someone’s face, instead of putting a look on them. I really enjoy finding their look and seeing their reaction when they see how beautiful they are. I love giving people confidence, especially for special events like weddings.’

Another perk of being self-employed is having her own identity. ‘I feel fortunate to be able to be at home with my children, but then go to work and have an identity away from being a mother.’
Currently, Orchid Blush covers the whole of the North West but Ruth aims to expand the business in the future and break into the Midlands. With the business going strong and continuing to attract high profile clients, she hopes this will be sooner rather than later.

To see the amazing work Ruth and her team do, visit or contact them at  
You can also find Orchid Blush on Twitter: @OrchidBlush

And if like Ruth the flexibility and control of self-employment appeals to you, contact The Women’s Organisation on 0151 706 8111 or for free business start-up advice and support.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Business Psychologist and Coach Sarah Connell Proves That A Positive Attitude Can Be Life Changing

Sarah Connell is a Business Psychologist and Coach. In 2013 she founded MindingMe Psychologists with the support of The Women's Organisation.

After finishing her degree in Psychology, Sarah Connell was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) at the age of 22, a neurological condition affecting the nervous system.

Before receiving the news, Sarah was considering doing a Masters degree and despite having doubts she decided that the condition was not going to get in her way. The following year she moved to Liverpool and completed her Master of Science (MSc) in Occupational Psychology.

At first her symptoms were limited, making it possible for her to take a full time consultancy job in Manchester. Unfortunately over the 5 years her symptoms progressed and although her employer was very supportive, Sarah began to question how much longer she could continue in full time employment.

‘My symptoms were getting worse and I was starting to feel anxious about the future. Would I be able to continue working in a full time job? One of the things it is important to ensure with MS is that you manage your symptoms by following a healthy lifestyle, which includes getting enough rest… I was finding it harder and that’s when I started to think about starting my own business.’

It was the flexibility that self-employment allows that appealed to her the most and although the idea was daunting, her friends and family were very supportive of the idea. However, she felt that she didn’t know where to start and needed more help.

By chance, the Liverpool resident came across a leaflet in LEAF on Bold Street about the services The Women’s Organisation can offer to women in Merseyside wanting to start up their own business.

‘It was scary at the start… It took me a long time to accept myself as a business woman. I felt like I needed to make more connections so contacted The Women’s Organisation. I thought that it looked exactly like the kind of thing I was looking for… They provided me with a business advisor who gave me lots of helpful advice. I also attended a number of helpful workshops about Tax and NI, marketing using a social media strategy etc.’

She continued: ‘At first I didn’t understand why a business plan was necessary but it helped to give me a structure, recognise and articulate my strengths and weaknesses and gave me a sense of being a proper business.’

Although Sarah considered her MS as a weakness at the start, she now feels that it has helped give her a different outlook on life…

‘Having a condition like MS is scary but I have overcome big barriers myself and that gives me the confidence to work with others doing the same thing. I am passionate about this and want to help other people to get the most out of their lives’

It was that confidence and optimism that allowed her to open MindingMe Psychologists as a Business Psychologist & Coach. Her unique selling point is that she has over 10 years’ experience working with high profile clients from the private, public and voluntary sectors, including NHS and Macmillan.

Sarah understands the psychology of coaching from a cognitive-behavioural perspective and applies a range of advanced coaching techniques to business, health, performance and life coaching. MindingMe offers clients an objective, supportive and non-judgemental way to help them overcome challenges and achieve their goals, which is completely tailored to the individual’s needs.

‘I work with people to help them reach their potential. I can help to improve their self-awareness, identify when their thinking is impacting on their performance and their ability to move forward in their lives, offering suggestions and strategies to help challenge any negative or unhelpful thinking.’

The most common issues MindingMe deal with include confidence building, overcoming procrastination, dealing with anxiety and stress, clarifying where people are going in their lives and their career.

The main message Sarah aims to get across is that ‘we are sometimes faced with big challenges in life that can feel overwhelming, but we don’t have to let them take over. We can take steps that will allow us to move forward in a positive way. People have the answers within themselves; I’m here to hold up a mirror to help find them.’

With these beliefs, MindingMe is currently going strong with a steady stream of clients and a very impressive 100% return rate. The long term aim is to grow the business further by opening up her own office and employing staff to help more people across Liverpool and the North West of England.

Sarah is a great example of what people can do when they work to keep a positive outlook and are open to the opportunities that arise from both positive and negative situations.

If you are looking to change an aspect of your life that you’re unhappy with, or would just like to find out more, you can visit or contact Sarah directly at or 07784 574 482.

And if you feel it's the right time to move forward with that idea you've had for a while, there is free support available from The Women's Organisation. Call 0151 706 8111 or email for more information.

By Beckie Kinsella