Experience of an industry can allow an individual to develop a deep understanding of their sector – with that knowledge potentially representing a vital tool when embarking into business.
Take the example of Kieran Lake, who after being involved in the security industry nationally for over 12 years, made the snap decision whilst on holiday to put his wide range of skills to better use and set up his own security company, Octagon Facilities Management.
There, he was determined to employ his depth of knowledge to forge a real name for himself and his business.
When Keilly Shirra’s daughter was born in 2003, it opened up more than a new chapter in her life as a mother. It was to unknowingly kick-start the prelude to a chapter, which would see Keilly become her own boss and establish her growing business, Mad About Nature, which makes luxurious all-natural handmade soaps.
Keilly’s daughter was born with eczema and fuelled a passion to start using natural skincare products which she knew would be free from harsh chemicals and unnecessary synthetic ingredients which dry-out and damage skin. On a trip to London’s Covent Garden, Keilly discovered a homemade soap stall which would change her life.
This week is a hugely exciting one for Sir Thomas White Loan Charity borrower and lingerie designer, Posie Upshall.
Following a two-year project, Posie is set to unveil her first three collections of luxury lingerie at an event taking place at Leicester’s Brick & Beam on Friday 11 October; the culmination of two-years’ hard work.
An added factor is Posie’s approach to design; the brand aims to be as environmentally sustainable as possible, whilst the 25-year-old designer has worked to ensure that her items have a localised element to them too.
Sam Cattell is breathing fresh life into the world of mortgage advice.
Moving away from the traditional, formal connotations that you’d normally associate with mortgages, Sam’s business ‘Mindful Mortgages’ aims to do exactly what the name suggests: provide personal, helpful mortgage advice, mindful of the fact that mortgages go far beyond simply buying a house.
Speaking to the Sir Thomas White Loan Charity borrower, you immediately understand why she does what she does. Having worked as an advisor and director for a mortgage broker in Leicester for 13 years, specialising in mortgages, Sam felt overwhelming satisfaction helping people, families even, achieve their goals. However, dismayed at the market and the way that mortgage advice was provided on the high street, Sam wanted to take that enthusiasm and passion, and provide tailored mortgage advice in a different way.
You often hear incredible stories about how one parallel pathway in life perfectly sets people up for a completely different one. Sir Thomas White Loan Charity business loan borrower Natasha Dulay is a perfect example.
Always creative, Natasha would often spend her spare time putting her creativity in motion. However, away from that, she dedicated her education to developing her studies in business, at one point potentially entering the field of accountancy. That wasn’t to be, as Natasha soon realised, through her passion for jewellery initially, that her desire was to create unique products and showcase them to a target market.
That developed further to crafting unique handbags and clutch bags – and Styles of Soki was born.
What Natasha didn’t realise at the time was that everything she was doing away from being creative was preparing her to turn her creativity into a career.
It is often challenging for start-up companies to make a name for themselves within their chosen industry – as Sir Thomas White Loan Charity borrower Danny Gohil, of marketing business Pencil and Coffee, discovered.
After receiving a quote for over £3,000 from another marketing agency to undertake his promotion, he soon realised that it was simply not viable for him. From there, he had the idea of creating a solution that he, and other start-ups, needed in the form of website design and maintenance at a more affordable price.
He said: “The idea behind what I wanted to do was to be tailored towards smaller businesses, start-ups and companies that don’t have a big budget for a fully-bespoke website.
“I learnt it all myself and we did it all ourselves,” he continued. “People that were working close with us saw what we did, liked what we did and asked us to do it for them. People seemed to like what we do so that’s how it all started off.”
When his previous employers hit financial difficulty, Shaun Taylor took the decision to take voluntary redundancy. That action would become the catalyst for what followed, with Shaun now the owner of his own business, idee Creative.
Based in the heart of Leicester city centre, idee is a full-service design agency that has gone from offering simple graphic design to full branding design and strategy. It’s a fantastic story, and one that The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity is proud to be a part of.
For many business owners, their venture is more than a job. It’s a manifestation of enthusiasm and passion, and the result of hard work, commitment and desire. That’s certainly the case for Sir Thomas White Loan Charity business loan borrower, Emma-Mae Parry.
Emma will be a familiar face to those that enjoy a stroll through the independent shops on Queens Road in Leicester’s Clarendon Park. Emma owns The Bloom Project, a florist with a difference. It’s a gorgeous shop set in the perfect location. However, as Emma explains, it’s something that has been many years in the making.
Barrie Stephen, founder and director of the Barrie Stephen Hair Group and Patron of The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, has been named as a finalist for the prestigious Director of the Year – Small Medium Business award at the 2019 East Midlands Institute of Directors Awards.
The award-winning salon owner, one of Leicestershire’s most recognised hairdressers, has been shortlisted by an independent panel of judges for the Institute of Directors annual search to find the top business leaders within the East Midlands.
In our latest blog, Sir Thomas White Loan Charity Trustee, Anne Whitlock, provides an insight into one of the main roles held by the Trustees; annual visits to business borrowers and/or their respective businesses…
As a Trustee of The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, you have a few regular commitments, one of which is to visit our business loan borrowers. Immediately, you may think that it’s to check up and ensure the funding provided by the charity is put to good use and, in part, you’d be right. However, for us it is so much more than that. It’s a great opportunity to chat to borrowers to see how their business is going and to hear about plans for the future.
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Tom Flowers, who borrowed from the charity in 2016 to establish his cricket coaching business. Living close by, I took the opportunity to being the third Trustee to visit him since he took out his loan.