Featured Women in Business
Louise Gillespie is most obviously a shrewd business woman. Despite launching during the 2010 recession, Jessie’s Jewels has seen steady growth and, indeed, looks set to go further.
This Prescot based shop was started by Louise was an attempt to offer her then 15 year old daughter future financial security and independence, an endeavour that has most certainly been successful. Louise managed this whilst reeling from an expensive divorce and working four days a week.
Find out how she became a successful entrepreneur in corporate wear and how the uniform supplier industry has changed since she set up JSD nearly 35 years ago.
You started out as a fashion model. Before you were scouted, what had you wanted to do as a career?
I was so young, I hadn’t really thought about it. I was 16. I was visiting a cousin in Mallorca. Someone took a photo and it appeared in the Daily Express with a story about my notorious aunt. Terrence Donovan saw it, called the Express and asked to cast me as a gypsy in a Silvikrin shampoo ad and that was the start.
Savvy business woman, Kerry Martin started her career in the beauty industry with an apprenticeship with Essenelle, which at the time was the largest hair and beauty business in the country. It is there she learnt the skills that would lead her to creating her own beauty empire.
Kerry established the award winning Abstract Hair in the year 2000 and is also a qualified assessor and teacher. Firm in the belief that constant improvement and further training is the way forward, she believes this is what sets her brand apart from the competition.
Ema Wilkes is a woman who saw what her community needed and decided she wanted to help. Neo Community Café & Catering (www.neocommunitycafe.org.uk) was founded in 2013, starting as a small café in the heart of Leasowe offering healthy, nutritious food at a reasonable price as well as job and training opportunities. A small business determined to do their part to alleviate food poverty and excess waste.
Their efforts were soon recognised and they began to grow, offering their community assistance and support. The first food crisis bag was handed out in October of their founding year.
Beginning as a care assistant, Nanette Mellor has devoted herself and, despite coming from an underprivileged background, has worked her way up the career ladder and smashed through that glass ceiling.
Being a campaigns manager for a disabled charity in London, Nanette fought rigorously against disability discrimination, cuts to local services and regularly lobbied the government for positive change.
She eventually moved back to the Northwest and took the position of Chief Executive Officer at Neurosupport, a struggling charity that likely would have closed within six months.
Tomorrow’s Women Wirral is an organisation that launched in Septemper 2011, the almost immediate success of the project allowed TWW to have their own independent accommodation by April 2012 and they became a registered charity within a year of their inauguration. Proof of the dedication these ladies have to the women who come to them for help.
TWW is an exclusively female institution for any woman over the age of eighteen who feels they could do with more support. Whether it’s from feeling isolated, low self esteem or simply wishing to try and expand their horizons, TWW is genuinely dedicated to helping everyone who comes to them, including more serious concerns such as domestic violence or substance abuse.
Alison Sellar is the CEO of activpayroll, a leading global professional service organisation she founded in 2001. Since establishing the business over fourteen years ago, Alison has grown her company from a local firm specialising in payroll for oil and gas companies, to an award winning global company servicing everyone from small non-profit organisation, to some of the world’s leading brands.
Prior to launching activpayroll, Alison worked in her parents’ accountancy firm, Grampian Business Bureau (GBB), as a book-keeper. In 1999, Alison became a partner in the business, expanding the payroll department she was running. Alison recognised a distinct gap in the market for fully integrated payroll services, resulting in Grampian Business Bureau being sold to activpayroll in 2003, with Alison becoming her father’s boss. She became Managing Director and her father was appointed Finance Director.
Some of you may know that we work exclusively with the fabulous web design team at the woman owned business Designated www.designated.org.uk. to help to create the best prices and packages for web site design, social media and content management and digital engagement for women in business.
This year has been a fantastic year for digital engagement with more and more businesses realising the potential and importance of great digital content and strategically planned social media campaigns to give a real return on investment.
Ann Marie has opened an independent dress shop in Buckingham specialising in high end, gorgeous dresses for special occa sions, alongside of her beautifully designed business premises she has also invested in an online shop www.thedressempire.co.uk enabling clients to browse and buy 24 hours a day.
Ann Marie, wife of MK Dons boss Karl Robinson, initially found fame as Katrina Evans in Brookside, before starring in Doctors and Heartbeat.