Friday, August 26, 2016

The Networking Event Of The Summer @ Seven Zero One Bar & Base

WOW! We are still feeling on top of the world after the amazing evening that we had on Tuesday at our Summer Social!

We were down at Hotel Campanile’s Seven Zero One Bar & Base and were joined by over 50 business woman to network and generally have a great time! Thank you so much to everyone who came down and joined us, it was a great success and lovely to see so many new and familiar faces.

Out on the terrace!
We kicked off the evening in style with some Lavender Prosecco and the networking got underway! Our Training Coordinator Bernie Cox introduced the evening and our Featured Businesses. We were lucky enough to be joined by two great businesses that brought along some of their products to sell on the evening.

Nicola Gleave, Founder of Wirral-based Worn By Us, an online shop that raises money for charity by selling the most desirable designer clothes worn and donated by celebrities joined us as a Featured Business and introduced herself to our Business Club women and gave us all the opportunity to take a sneak peek at some of the fantastic clothes that she has on offer! We think a few of our members even snatched some of these offers up!

Nicola and Kirsty of Worn By Us
Elaine Atherton, Sales Director of LiV for Beautiful Things was our second Featured Business of the evening, who brought along a selection of LiV products – an eclectic mixture of beautiful and luxurious home and gift products, and introduced her business to everyone!
Thank you to Nicola and Elaine for acting us our Featured Businesses on the evening – it was great to have you there and to see your lovely products.

Next we got our 60 Second Pitches underway. We heard from Lorraine Lewis of Know Services Ltd and Lin Boyd speaking about the newly launched Switch Onto Business Magazine Charity Awards as well as a few more of our fantastic business women.

And then it was time for the part of the evening that The WO Staff Team had been looking forward to all day…The food! The launch of Seven Zero One’s new yummy menu! We were treated to poppy sweet potato fries, amazing grilled cheese sandwiches and some pretty spectacular posh fish finger baps and so much more.

The spread! 
What could have been better? A room and a terrace full of favourite business women, some great networking, live music from the incredibly talented Victoria Sharpe, who we’d like to say a big thank you to! Wasn’t she brilliant? And some great food and drinks! Now we call that a Summer Social Success!

The amazing Victoria Sharpe
Thank you so much to everyone who joined us, and we hope you enjoyed the evening as much as did. Now…Let’s get planning for our next big Business Club Social event – Cheesey Festive Networking! But before that, we have our September event – The Science of Making Sales on Tuesday 23rdMore information here.

Maya Battle & Bernie Cox
As always we would like to thank Business Club’s Headline Sponsors Mitchell Charlesworth for helping to make this event possible. We’d also like to say a big thank you to Maya Battle and the team at Seven Zero One Bar & Base and Hotel Campanile – we had a great time working with you on this event and look forward to more exciting plans in the future.

Remember! If you were at the event you should have received an Industry Card for Seven Zero One Bar & Base entitling you to 20% off their yummy food and drink! What better reason to head back down there and sample more of their menu? We think we’ll be heading down to one of their SZO Unplugged nights which happen every Friday evening. Live music, great food and that gorgeous terrace! Find out more information here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Louise Fitzsimmons Dreams Have Come True Starting Her Business - White Wolf Yoga & Kitchen

 ‘All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them’ – Walt Disney

Louise Fitzsimmons dream of opening her own Yoga Studio and Kitchen came about in 2013 when she was studying to be a Yoga Teacher in Rishikesh, India. But at that point, that’s all it was. A dream. Now 3 years on, Louise is the proud owner of White Wolf Yoga & Kitchen on Cook Street in Liverpool City Centre.

‘I live in Crosby and down on the beach there is a little Coast Guard’s building. When it shut down, I started thinking that if I won the lottery I would turn it into a Yoga Studio and Vegetarian and Vegan Kitchen. It was only me talking to myself in my head, but from there I started to think more and more about it…’

Prior to opening White Wolf, Louise admits that she had done a bit of everything! ‘I’d been an Air Hostess, English Tutor, Production Development Manager for a local Film Company and a Production Assistant for a national Events Company!’ but had always pursued Yoga as a hobby and that turned into a passion, and Louise found that the more that she practised, the more she wanted to share this passion with as many people as she could.

After completing 200 hours of Yoga Teacher Training over a year and a half in Liverpool, Louise still knew that she wanted to deepen her knowledge of Yoga and further her qualification. This mission took her to Rishikesh in India where she completed another 300 hours of training; ‘India was absolutely life changing, and I think it set me up and gave me the confidence and clarity to know that Yoga was what I wanted to do.’ 

‘I’ve always found that through doing lots of other jobs in the past that I need to be doing something that I’m really passionate about and because I have done lots of other different things when I took the Teacher Training courses, everyone would say ‘Oh Louise is doing this course to add to long list of everything else that she’s done’ and I was a bit like that to myself, but when I went to India, I knew right then, that was it.’

After returning from India, things stepped up to the next level, Louise had already been running a small class in the old Mello Mello on Slater Street, but from here expanded and began teaching in Camp and Furnace and later Frederik’s on Hope Street. It was during this time that White Wolf Yoga was born. ‘When I started working in Camp and Furnace, I got in touch with The Women’s Organisation to get some support and advice around the business side of things.’

‘The idea of starting a business was completely new to me and the prospect was quite daunting to begin with. I could visualise what I wanted to create but the practicalities of actually doing it were a bit scary!’

Louise worked with our Business Adviser Francine to put together a business plan for White Wolf Yoga, attend our training and workshops and also think about what Louise might want for the future of White Wolf. ‘The Women’s Organisation has been brilliant. Right from day one, I was given great advice and support with understanding the basics of business. Since then we have kept in touch as I have grown the business with their continued support.’

After teaching for a while, Louise began to think about creating a space that specialised in Yoga and Healthy Eating; ‘My aim was to create a peaceful sanctuary within the city centre – and that was the idea for White Wolf Yoga and Kitchen.’

Once she decided to chase the dream of opening this peaceful sanctuary, the first step was finding the right location. It took almost a year of searching but Louse finally found the perfect place – an old ballroom in the Victorian Property Exchange on Cook Street. ‘I got a feeling as soon as I walked through the doors that this was the one! We have renovated the space with love and care and I feel honoured to have White Wolf’s home in such a beautiful, historic building.’

White Wolf Yoga & Kitchen is indeed an incredible space, taking influence from Scandinavian design with clean lines, grey and blue colours and lots of natural light streaming through the large windows. Along with her best friend Becky, who manages the Kitchen side of the business, White Wolf opened back in April 2016.

The Studio now boasts a full programme of yoga, meditation and relaxation classes which are open to men and women of all levels, ages and abilities, and the Kitchen serves high-quality, nutrition-rich plant based food and drink.

Louise told us; ‘I love the variety of every day – from teaching different yoga and meditation classes to researching and creating new recipes for White Wolf Kitchen. Working with Beccy is brilliant; we have such a laugh and keep each other smiling. Opening the Studio and the Kitchen really is a dream come true for me in every way.’

So, as Walt Disney said; ‘All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them,’ and we know that is exactly what Louise has done and will continue to do! And some advice that she has for anyone in a similar position and wanting to start their own business; ‘Listen to your heart and not the niggling doubter whispering in your head, you’ll need 100% commitment and faith in whatever you are doing and be able to keep positive and trust that things will work out.’

If you would like to find out more about White Wolf Yoga and Kitchen, you can do by following the links below! And if you’ve been inspired by Louise’s story of pursuing her dream and would like some support and advice on starting your business – get in touch with us! Email us on or ring us on 0151 706 8111.

0151 345 6023

Friday, August 12, 2016

Loraine Lewis Is In The KNOW With Her New Business Venture...

KNOW Services Ltd. is Loraine Lewis’s newly launched business – the KNOW stands for Knowledge, Intelligence (N), Organisation and Wisdom which Loraine believes without these four aspects, you cannot make an informed decision. With a business that sounds as intriguing as this, we were thrilled to be able to sit down with Loraine and find out all about KNOW Services Ltd. and how she got to where she is today…

‘KNOW Services Limited provides organisations with the knowledge and understanding to make informed decisions, achieved by working in partnership with our clients, providing outstanding bespoke Intelligence and Analytical products and guidance – Putting you in the KNOW to make informed decisions.’

With words like ‘Intelligence’ and ‘Analytical’, we’d be forgiven for thinking that Loraine sounded quite like a Spy or a previous employee of MI5, and frankly we weren’t too far off the mark! Loraine’s previous experience comes largely from within the Law Enforcement sector undertaking roles such as Senior Crime Analyst and as part of a Serious and Organised Crime Team, but launching her new business, KNOW, she is taking the skills and experience that she has garnered for the past 14 years and applying it to businesses who are looking to make those important, informed decisions to improve.

Throw in a 5 year stint on a paradise island; Turks and Caicos, and Loraine begins to sound like an exciting character from a thriller novel! When we got the chance to interview Loraine she had just moved back to England and was relocating to Merseyside (Where her wife, Amanda is originally from) after spending the last five years as a Senior Crime Analyst in The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force.

‘It’s a tiny little island that if you look at a map, you can’t even see it! And it’s beautiful, it’s only about 17 miles long and about 4 miles wide and has one of the best beaches in the world; Grace Bay. Initially I was there for 2 years, but this later was converted to a permanent post and I worked in many areas such as; Tactical, Strategic, Policy and Processes.’ But in December 2015 Loraine realised that it was time for a new challenge and returned to England.

Turks and Caicos
‘I identified a gap in the market for providing businesses access to Intelligence Analysts. KNOW Services Ltd would become an extra pair of hands in times of higher demand, or for those who did not need a full time Intelligence Analyst. I wanted to be able to provide the skills and the services that I have to small or more niche organisations. And within the first six months I successfully secured a contact to provide consultancy services in the establishment of a specialised Intelligence Unit for an International Organisation.’

Loraine’s business model works in three different strands…Firstly there is Consultancy where Loraine can work with organisations to implement specific procedures, ‘So a business could come to me to setup their own Intelligence Analysis unit, but they don’t know how to do it, and I would come in, establish the unit and show them how to run and maintain it.’ Secondly, Loraine can also fill in the gaps in organisations that already use analysis but don’t have the requirement for a full-time Intelligence Analyst, and thirdly for organisations that do use Intelligence Analysts and have a higher than normal demand that Loraine can assist with.

Specifically Loraine uses the National Intelligence Model (NIM) which comprises of 4 intelligence products and 10 analytical techniques, to problem solve for the organisations she will be working with. NIM was created by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in 2000 and is now widely used by organisations outside of Law Enforcement such as the NHS, BT and Trading Standards and is a model that can be picked up and applied to almost any business or situation, the way that Loraine is doing now.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Loraine must have trained and been a part of this world for her entire career, but in reality Loraine has been working in these sectors only for the past 14 years! ‘In 2001 I was made redundant from my previous role as a Project Manager and I went to a Job Fair. Here I got speaking to a woman who was explaining the role of an Intelligence Analyst. Because I am nosy and inquisitive, I knew that this was the role for me!’ 

Loraine then got a role within the Warwickshire Police Force working as a Communities Against Drugs Intelligence Analyst and from there she progressed and worked with; the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit and Police Force. After working from 2002 to 2010 in these two Law Enforcement Agencies, Loraine says; ‘I needed a change. I needed something different and I needed a challenge.’ And Turks and Caicos was exactly the change that Loraine was after…

Now back in England, Loraine’s next mission was to get KNOW Services Ltd. off the ground! So she began to look for support agencies to help her with this. ‘The Women’s Organisation was mentioned to me by Amanda’s cousin at first, but it wasn’t until I was looking for a Virtual Office (which 54 St James Street supplies) that I put two and two together. I walked into the building and just knew it was right for me! I was introduced to my Business Adviser, John Jones and we started from there!’

‘I also had the opportunity to attend the Planning for Success course with Bernie – who is amazing! I loved it because she told us that we would have doubts and that the doubts would come – and they did! However knowing that they are going to come makes it just a little bit easier!’

So KNOW Services was officially launched in January 2016 and Loraine is currently working on recruiting contracts and building her business network! And of course, becoming The Women’s Organisation’s new best friend, having attended lots of our courses as well as a few business lunches and events! We are delighted to have met Loraine, helped her with specific areas of her business start-up support and to have had an insight into such an interesting and intriguing business model!

If you would like to find out more information about Loraine and the services that she provides you can do so by getting in touch using the details below! And if Loraine’s story has inspired you and you would like support setting up your own business then email us on or ring us on 0151 706 8111

Loraine Lewis – Director of KNOW Services Ltd.          Twitter - @KnowServices            


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Being the Business Owner is "Freedom to Use Your Voice" Says Proud of Liverpool Val

Passion for the community and wise words from her parents still ringing in her ears are what is driving 70 year old Liverpudlian Val Price to reject retirement in favour of setting up a CIC, Proud of Liverpool.

Val Price Proud of Liverpool
Val Price, Proud of Liverpool CIC
Listening to Val’s journey of what brought her to this point is fascinating. Sharing with warmth about her humble beginnings in Old Swan Val told us “I had a good life as a kid, but we didn’t have two ha’pennies to rub together. What I do remember though is that mum always made me aware that although she didn’t have money to give she would say that time is important, and you can always give time, so that’s what I’m doing. I’m giving my time to this.”

Proud of Liverpool is building to its first event on Friday 9th September 2016 10am-4pm at The Florrie on Mill Street. From 10am-4pm there will be a jobs fair where a competition will launch for people to enter about what they consider is great about L8, also encouraging people to share their memories of L8.  Then the evening brings the Fashion of the world together with fashion of the 40’s by an L8 establishment – Bijou & Vintage, and throughout the evening music and entertainment. On Saturday 10th September Proud of Liverpool will move on to Prince’s Park in L8 for a further celebration event including food of the world market stalls and entertainment 12-4pm.

Val explained these events are just a starting point of giving the L8 community things to continue to feel a pride in their community, building on the amazing initiatives happening in the area.  Proud of Liverpool aims to recruit volunteers who currently live in L8 to start a pilot project of mapping services and amenities in the area, but with an in depth community level knowledge about them.  From here the organisation can become a central point of contact for those moving into the community, as well as those already living there helping them to understand what is there and how to utilise it.

Val says
“One of the biggest problems in these communities is that we don’t know enough of what’s out there. What is a major concern is the people who need help and support who are unaware, suffering from loneliness and poverty, and are not accessing these services.   The events we are organising is to share the knowledge of what is great in L8, helping to find connections, bringing everything together. From there I hope our volunteers can start visiting organisations and really understand what is there.  Enabling us to establish by 2018 (ten years from when Liverpool became the European Capital of Culture a central office where we can offer people new to the area a walk into and find out everything they need to know. Acting as a signpost to the many people and organisations available and providing people with a real welcome to their neighbourhood and the community.”

Having recently discovered that a large number of people living in Toxteth are living below the poverty line, and those in Kirkdale have a life expectancy of 12 years less than in other areas of Liverpool, Val has been impassioned to focus on areas of deprivation in Liverpool to see why that is.  Starting with the L8 pilot Val is planning to move into different neighbourhoods. The aim is to “map out what IS there, and then be able to see what ISN’T.  That way start to identify what is different about Kirkdale that accounts for that 12 years less, and from there make recommendations and work with the community to work on what needs to happen to change that community.”  Val emphasised that it is a key focus of the project to link in and collaborate with the amazing people who are already working hard to make that difference in these neighbourhoods.   Throughout Liverpool what is encouraging, Val says, is “the community really making moves to improve their neighbourhoods and every day hearing of new initiatives being taken by the people who live in them.   No longer are they prepared to accept the Status Quo and personal efforts by groups are on the increase to make that difference…because everyone can do that!”

In looking to establish Proud of Liverpool Val worked with The Women’s Organisation through the Enterprise Hub Programme to develop an action plan and understand the practicalities of establishing a Community Interest Company. Reflecting on the support received Val said “It’s been brilliant! Meeting Janine regularly and talking things through is just great. I’ve asked questions I wouldn’t have known where else to ask.  I’ve had help with things like developing a safe guarding policy, looking over my public liability insurance to check I have everything I need. It’s been a great help.  I just love coming to The Women’s Organisation building at 54 St James Street anyway as it’s a great place to come and have coffee with people, and for me with my wonky knees I never have to worry about parking here.”

Val is passionate about developing the work of Proud of Liverpool to have a real impact on what she calls ‘the donut’.  Describing Liverpool Val says “Over the years in Liverpool the City Centre has changed for the better, but we have forgotten the areas surrounding that, the ‘donut’ that you have to drive through in order to reach that uplifting city centre.  It’s those areas that we need to focus on.”

Beyond her passion for the community Val says that being her own boss is “freedom to use your voice”.  Having worked in a number of professions over the years including 20 years at United Biscuits, working in personnel, managing a sports and social club, working in hotels, cleaning firms and retail – Val is happy to no longer have to think of ‘company policy’ before speaking her mind. If she can see something needs to change or isn’t right, she is free to speak out.

The starting point of Proud of Liverpool Val says is having “empathy and understanding”. She says “I’ve been through difficult times, I’ve lived in these places. I can empathise with these communities and that’s what we need.  I just want to remind them of things about their area that they can be proud of, and help to bring more things that give pride to those areas.”

If you would like to find out more about Proud of Liverpool you can write to Val Price at 54 St James Street, Liverpool, L1 0AB, or visit her facebook page.  Also contact Val for details of the L8 competition, the event and how you can be involved, or join the events free on 9th & 10th September.

And if like Val you have a passion that you would like to turn into a business, please contact Enterprise Hub to find out more about the free support available to those living in the Liverpool City Region on 0151 706 8113 or  Enterprise Hub is part funded by European Regional Development Fund.