Business Stories

Some fabulous businesses, started and led by women in Dorset, have been taking part in our programme.

Take a look at their business stories and their tips on how to succeed.

Quickly jump to a Business Story using links below:

Dorset Business Women Go Digital Business Stories

Amazing Craft

Meet the Business Q&A
Becky Lewis
Amazing Craft
Lyme Regis

What does your business do?  Retailers of supplies, patterns and kits to create soft toys and traditional teddy bears

When did you set it up? April 2015

What were you doing before? Working in a teddy bear shop! 

What made you decide to start up your own business? It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

What has been the best thing about starting your own business? Having flexibility with my ideas and my time.

What has been your proudest moment so far? Paying myself my first monthly wage.

Have you faced any particular challenges and how did you overcome them? Setting up my website – it needed lots of perseverance.

What is the best advice you would give to other women starting their own business? Meet other people that have set up their own business recently.

How is technology helping you to run your business? I run an on-line business so the web site is my shop front (and organiser!)

What Apps or software would you recommend to others and why? I love Sage One but I’m sure any other accounting package would work too. It’s a real mind clearer for me!

Any other tips for others on using technology? Give it a go and chat to youngsters about new technology. They often love to share their knowledge and it’s all so simple for many of them.

Anything else you’d like to share? Thank you WSX Enterprise – I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first session.

And finally…….

Which business person would you most like to invite to dinner and why?  Richard Branson – he’s done so much in business and seems so grounded.

Bitesize Training

Meet the Business Q&A
Trudy Ritsema
Bitesize Training
Dorchester

Bitesize Training Business StoryWhat does your business do? IT Training

When did you set it up? January 2015

What were you doing before?  Working in Further Education

What made you decide to start up your own business? A change of circumstances, I needed flexibility

What has been the best thing about starting your own business? The flexibility and doing what I love

What has been your proudest moment so far? Running a workshop on Instagram

What is the best advice you would give to other women starting their own business?  Find friends you can talk to – they can be your pretend work colleagues

How is technology helping you to run your business?Making me more productive

What Apps or software would you recommend to others and why? Evernote all the way!

Any other tips for others on using technology? Try it and if it doesn’t work for you ditch it

Anything else you’d like to share? Don’t be a perfectionist!

And finally…….

Which business person would you most like to invite to dinner? All my friends I have met through WSX

Creative Women International

Meet the Business Q&A
Philiy Page
Creative Women International
Based in Bridport but work globally

creative-women-internationalWhat does your business do?  Train, network and support women working globally in the creative industries. Also have a podcast on iTunes.

When did you set it up? 2013

What were you doing before?  I worked (and still do) as a feature film production manager and before that in BBC documentaries as an associate producer/camera woman.  Before that as a photojournalist for 10 years.

What made you decide to start up your own business? The work that I do for the British Council helping creative business start-ups globally inspired me to set up CWI as the women that I was meeting needed more support when I left and I felt isolated as a freelancer so wanted to create somewhere for other creatives to support and meet up.

What has been the best thing about starting your own business? I love the women that I meet through the work I do and the feeling of helping someone create their dream job is amazing.

What has been your proudest moment so far? Small things like a woman in Exeter needing footage of Argentina for a show that night.  She posted a help question, a woman from Brazil answered and said she would call her film friends in Argentina.  Within an hour they had the footage in Exeter.

Have you faced any particular challenges and how did you overcome them? I’m constantly facing challenges and trying to overcome them. Too many to list!

What is the best advice you would give to other women starting their own business? Make sure you really want to do it.  You can’t be half sure as you will be spending a lot of time building it on your own.

How is technology helping you to run your business? I can’t do my business without technology.  I use Facetime and Skype for mentoring sessions, I work remotely from my laptop.  My business wouldn’t exist without technology.

What Apps or software would you recommend to others and why? It’s simple but Google Docs and Sheets allow me to access my work wherever I am in the world.

Any other tips for others on using technology? Don’t be afraid to try different apps.  Give them a go and if they don’t work for you try something else.  There are so many on the market it isn’t one size fits all.

Anything else you’d like to share? I love meeting new people on the same path so thank you for allowing that to happen at your events.

And finally…….

Which business person would you most like to invite to dinner? Marie Forleo – she built her business from her flat in NY on her own.

Kirsten Sare: Make- up Artist

Meet the Business Q&A
Kirsten Sare
Kirsten Sare: Make- up Artist
Dorchester

kirsten-sareWhat does your business do?  Freelance make-up artist

When did you set it up? October 2013

What were you doing before?  Learning and Development coach and teacher trainer for Babcock.  Before that I was in the Royal Navy

What made you decide to start up your own business? I was driven by my passion for make-up artistry having been qualified for 12 years

What has been the best thing about starting your own business? Doing what I love

What has been your proudest moment so far? Great and lovely feedback from brides, my work being shown in the Daily Mail and filming work in Weymouth

Have you faced any particular challenges and how did you overcome them? Confidence and finance – a work in progress!

What is the best advice you would give to other women starting their own business? Go for it!

How is technology helping you to run your business? Social media – I’m much more aware now of social media and its importance and relevance to my business

What Apps or software would you recommend to others and why? Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Any other tips for others on using technology? Keep using social media to showcase your work.  Be clear on why and when you do it

Anything else you’d like to share? This group has given me the support, friendship, confidence and drive to carry on – thank you!

And finally…….

Which business person would you most like to invite to dinner? Lisa Eldridge make- up artist because she is talented inspirational.

Angel Cake Company

Meet the Business Q&A
Nicci & Emma
Angel Cake Company
Poundbury, Dorchester

ACC_Wedding-Cake-Purple-Ribbons_300x360_01What does your business do?  Create celebration and wedding cakes & supplies for sugarcraft

When did you set it up? Feb 2007

What were you doing before?  Teaching and working from home and Retail Manager

What made you decide to start up your own business? Niche in the market – no one supplied products nearby

What has been the best thing about starting your own business? Being able to help/advise people.  Being your own boss

What has been your proudest moment so far? Being told by an acquaintance that after realising that we owned A.C.C. what an amazing reputation we have

Have you faced any particular challenges and how did you overcome them? Getting to the point of expanding/being able to afford to or afford not to

What is the best advice you would give to other women starting their own business? Research as much as possible, know the market, get the location right

How is technology helping you to run your business? Website brings people to our retail premises.  Facebook for more immediate responses.  Email for Newsletters

What Apps or software would you recommend to others and why? Google Docs – always in contact via your documents with staff/designers etc.

Any other tips for others on using technology? Don’t be afraid. Tap into other Business Womens’ knowledge

What have you learnt from being part of Dorset Business Women Go Digital? Amount of successful women in business in Dorset. Lots of technology available to help. Many advisors to give info/direction from

Anything else you’d like to share? More on the ground help from Councils, Local Government, Banks

And finally…….

Which business person would you most like to invite to dinner? Mary Portas & the pair that set up ‘Not on the Highstreet.com’

What is top of your bucket list? Have a chain of Angel Cake shops.  Publish/write books

Capreolus Fine Foods

Meet the Business Q&A
Karen Richards
Capreolus Fine Foods
Dorchester

bffmisccollageWhat does your business do? Make Charcuterie

When did you set it up? 2009

What were you doing before? Billing analysis on leased lines

What made you decide to start up your own business? Husband made redundant

What has been the best thing about starting your own business? Working for ourselves

What has been your proudest moment so far? Finalists in 2014 BBC Food & Farming Awards

Have you faced any particular challenges and how did you overcome them? Cash-flow – we make a ‘slow’ product (e.g. air dried hams take one-two years). Ongoing problem, returns are very slow and investment is high

What is the best advice you would give to other women starting their own business? DO YOUR RESEARCH – ignore friends – ask strangers who are in a similar business for honest feedback

How is technology helping you to run your business? Essential from on-line selling/marketing to purpose built rooms and equipment for our Charcuterie e.g specialist computer controlled salami room

What Apps or software would you recommend to others and why? Google Analtyics – stats for website essential to work out how to better reach target audience

What have you learnt from being part of Dorset Business Women Go Digital? I have learnt that it is possible to use technology to improve the business reach

And finally…….

Which business person would you most like to invite to dinner? Anita Roddick

What is top of your bucket list? Improve sales and leads on my website

Claret Catering

Meet the Business Q&A
Dawn Thompson
Claret Catering
Poole

saladstarterWhat does your business do?  Outside Catering & Bar Services

When did you set it up? April 2010

What were you doing before? HR & Training Manager 4* & 5* Hotels

What made you decide to start up your own business? Redundancy

What has been the best thing about starting your own business? Independence

What has been your proudest moment so far? Still being in business & Awarded Finalist – Best Dorset Wedding Caterer for 2 years running 

Have you faced any particular challenges and how did you overcome them? Lack of knowledge about running a business – I came to workshops 

What is the best advice you would give to other women starting their own business? Don’t sit there alone – ask for help and support

How is technology helping you to run your business? Not sure!  I think it would if I had the right equipment.  I work from the family laptop!! 🙂 

What Apps or software would you recommend to others and why? I am not technical enough to recommend anything! 

Any other tips for others on using technology? Don’t try and learn everything at once

What have you learnt from being part of Dorset Business Women Go Digital? The networking with other women has been the best & their knowledge has been useful

And finally…….

Which business person would you most like to invite to dinner? Alan Sugar

What is top of your bucket list? Have a home with a bigger kitchen!!

Carers Connected

Meet the Business Q&A
Jane Askew
Carers Connected
Fordington, Dorchester

carers-connected

What does your business do?  Teach & support over 50’s with technology

When did you set it up? May 2014

What were you doing before?  Working for AGE UK, Dorchester

What made you decide to start up your own business? I wanted to teach rather than manage people

What has been the best thing about starting your own business? Independence and control of my own diary

What has been your proudest moment so far? My invoices and continued work.  My testimonials made me cry so I suppose that’s my proudest moment

Have you faced any particular challenges and how did you overcome them? Confidence and belief that I can do it alone.  That I can grow and make an honest living from this.

What is the best advice you would give to other women starting their own business? GO FOR IT! DARE GREATLY.  Get out there and see what happens.  Listen to advice, talk to lots of people.

How is technology helping you to run your business? Accounting at basic level.  Social Networking.  My Ipad and Iphone are my best friend.  Instant source of information.

What Apps or software would you recommend to others and why? Evernote for filing and storing documents over many devices. Hours Keeper for invoicing. Pages for work processing Numbers – Spreadsheets

Any other tips for others on using technology? Set it up properly.  The one thing that confuses people is when their ipad/iphone/laptop are not in sync.

What have you learnt from being part of Dorset Business Women Go Digital? That I am not alone.  Tips on accountancy, marketing, blogging, analytics, social networking.  I am part of a group of women who all have a passion for their work.

Anything else you’d like to share? I am so grateful for everything I have learnt from Dorset Women Go Digital.  I have attended many of the courses and learnt so much, but I have also made some good contacts and friends.

And finally…….

Which business person would you most like to invite to dinner? Famous – Branson because he said: If you get into business solely to make money, you won’t.  If you try to make a real difference, you’ll find success. From WSX Meetings – Stephanie Pettitt – she personified Entrepreneurship!

What is top of your bucket list? To be happy, fulfilled and to help people doing what I love.  Teaching & supporting.

Social Embers

Meet the Business Q&A
Sandy Weatherburn
Social Embers

 

social-embersWhat does your business do? Digital Estate Management and Bereavement Service

When did you set it up? January 2015

What were you doing before? Dorchester Ambassador for Dorchester Bid

What made you decide to start up your own business? ‘Springboard Course’ and I took part in a course with Future Learn with Southampton Uni  following a bereavement.

What has been the best thing about starting your own business? Self Confidence boost

What has been your proudest moment so far? Being interviewed on Radio Wimborne

Have you faced any particular challenges and how did you overcome them? Time – overcoming family issues

What is the best advice you would give to other women starting their own business? Take as much advice as possible and get a Mentor

How is technology helping you to run your business? iPad means I can work at other locations other than home.

What Apps or software would you recommend to others and why? Blogger for my Blog.

Any other tips for others on using technology? Get a bigger screen when you are older.

What have you learnt from being part of Dorset Business Women Go Digital? Sharing ideas and asking questions.

Anything else you’d like to share? I have found all the training excellent and I would like to say thanks.

And finally…….

Which business person would you most like to invite to dinner? Antonio Carluccio

What is top of your bucket list? Get a bigger bucket!

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