The Inspire Network Christmas Gift Guide.

Welcome to the Inspire Network Christmas Gift Guide!

Let’s take a look at these fabulous gifts from women-owned businesses in the North East… these are all amazing – don’t we have a wonderful range of talented ladies in our network?

Coffee and Kin Coffee and Chocolate Subscription box.

Coffee and Kin sell fabulous coffee and tea, and have just started this brand new subscription box for coffee and chocolate lovers. Their mission is to Brew Good, Do Good, Feel Good – so when you drink their coffee, you know that you are also doing some good in the world and the people who contributed to your coffee along the way are enjoying a higher standard of living.

In this box you get 300g of high quality coffee – you can choose  from regular or specialty, beans, ground or compostable coffee pods and 200g of artisan chocolate. This will change every month and you’ll receive two bars. (The chocolate shown is actually from another North East business lady at Chocolateeha – amazing!) AND you’ll get a surprise gift!

It’s only £20 per box with free delivery – and £1 of this goes to the Blurt Foundation to help children and adults in the UK who are affected by depression.

Pocket Perch from Jacwicks Designs

The Pocket Perch is designed for outdoor living with a waterproof back and a quilted inner. It keeps you warm, dry and comfortable when you’re sitting outside, maybe on a hike or for a picnic perching on a damp wall. Because this gift is handmade you can choose any fabric you like – perhaps a floral fabric for a gardener, or musical notes for a musician? This means you can buy a practical gift that really is tailored to the recipient. These cost £14.99 – £19.99 dependant on the backing fabric – you can also buy perches for your dog or at picnic blanket size!

Get yours at Jacwicks Designs.

Elara Enchanted

Leanne creates beautiful paper cut art like this gorgeous work which would make a fantastic gift for anyone – in this case a grandparent. Sparkly paper in beautiful colours, the paper is slightly stuck out from the background to add depth, this is a beautiful gift and comes beautifully packaged to protect it. Other designs are available too.

Find Elara Enchanted on Etsy, Facebook and Instagram.

Maya the Unicorn by Eleanor Baggaley, illustrated by Jenn Garside.

In this lovely positive book, you can join Maya the unicorn as she starts to believe in herself and have fun getting there. The book includes amazing exercises for your child to help them to set goals to dream big! The illustrations are beautiful. Also available is “Oscar the Dragon”.

This book  and costs £6.95 and is available on Amazon and at The Snowdrop Story.

Oodles of Gifts Wooden Mosaic

This traditional wooden mosaic is one of those toys that lasts forever and you can pass down through the family. It’s beautifully made and the possibilities are endless for the patterns and shapes you can create with the shapes. It comes in a wooden tray so that you can keep the 80 shapes together and easily move the puzzle from place to place. It’s 26cm square and 2cm deep and is a beautiful last-forever gift for 3+, costing only £10.

Take a look at Oodles of gifts here.

Riding Lesson at Stepney Bank Stables.

This is a fantastic gift for a horse lover (also very handy if you’re running a bit behind on your Christmas shopping!) vouchers for horse riding at Stepney Bank Stables start at £18.25 and you’ll get a lesson at this amazing equestrian centre which strives to make horses available to young people in the city centre and also operates as a charity!

Grab a voucher here. 

Jamberry Festive DIY Nail Wraps

These are perfect for accessorising your outfit for a Christmas party! There are lots of designs available from Jamberry, and a whole sheet (£15) does 2 manicures and a pedicure (or 3 manicures if you’re creative!) you apply these with heat – you can use a hairdryer or there’s a heater available – they are really fast to apply and quick to remove.

Get hold of some nail wraps here.

Gracie Bellas Bowtique

How cute are these bows? These are super sparkly, Christmas themed and look amazing in your little girls hair in the run up to Christmas. These are so clever, this set features a Christmas Pudding and a Reindeer – how quirky and creative to get you in the Christmas spirit? These cost £10.

Gracies Bellas Bowtique is a family run, small company making hair accessories.

Check out the range here.

Y I Man T-shirt.

A fantastic gift with a visual pun from the Geordie Collection at Y I Gifts. This is 100% cotton T-shirt  can be worn all year ’round and you can grab one of these for everyone in the family!

You want one of these don’t you? Why Aye Man!

Take a look at the range of Yi Gifts here, there’s clocks and hooks and cups and allsorts of wonderful things available.

Embroidery Baby Christmas Eve Pillowcase

Such a fantastic gift maybe to go in your Christmas Eve box? This is a personalised Christmas pillowcase, embroidered with your name and the words “Snuggle down and sleep tight, Santa and Rudolph will visit tonight”. You can use this year after year as part of your Christmas rituals to help you sleep soundly while the mince pies are scoffed and your stocking is filled.

Purchase your personalised pillowcase here for only £9 (£7 blank) and also find Embroidery Baby on Facebook.

Space Journey Subscription Pack

Monthly packs starting 15th January for little astronauts, this is absolutely fantastic to learn about space! The kit pictured costs £25 and includes a space suitcase, personalised letter, map, mission log book, astronaut passport, stickers, photos,, activity booklet, travel ticket on a string and an astronaut in training wristband. After that for 9 months at £12 a month you’ll receive a planet pack where you’ll learn about a new planet each month. This includes a personalised fact filled letter, 2 photos, fact card, stickers, activity booklet, travel ticket on a string and a souvenir!

Order here.

Giftinatin.com

O my these candles smell INCREDIBLE. And you get two of them in this tin, a perfect gift that will create the scent of Christmas (just gorgeous) in your home. This set is one of a range of locally hand poured soy candle gifts. Soy candles are natural and fragranced with essential oils which is fantastic as there are no chemicals or harmful ingredients – a huge benefit to your health.

This tin costs £11.00 for two tinned candles inside a larger tin. Get yours here.

Park Lane Earrings from Brenda Kilagallon.

Park Lane Jewellery began in Chicago in 1955 and have the most beautiful jewellery which defines `The American Dream`offering exceptional quality with an unconditional guarantee. You could treat yourself OR someone else, why not? It’s Christmas after all.

Contact Brenda Kilgallon to buy!

Happy Christmas Shopping!

Welcome to Designer’s Collective – Brand Design to take your business to the next level.

Welcome to Designer’s Collective, where Amy Purdie of Whiteacres and Hollie Ellis of Hollie Ellis Design (two female graphic designers in the North East) join forces and embrace the power of collaboration.

With a wealth of experience between us, we are here to offer two exclusive one-to-one services. If you are wanting to take your branding to the next level and you’re not sure where to start, why not join us on a transformational journey where at the end you will be inspired, motivated and excited to move forward with a powerful new brand for your business.

Hollie is a creative freelance graphic designer with a passion for helping success-driven business women stand out from the crowd with their personal brands. With 11 years experience in the design industry, Hollie has worked with a large number of businesses to help create strong and powerful brands, creating a positive impact on brand awareness and revenue. Hollie is a trained and qualified graphic designer specialising in logo design, branding and print design. She’s also the founder of Bring a Brand to Life – an online educational platform helping business owners create brands they love and adore. Hollie is a regular guest speaker for TICE (This Is Creative Enterprise) helping educate students in branding and logo design.

 

 


Amy creates beautiful, effective brand design for ambitious female entrepreneurs so that their businesses fill them with confidence and compel their ideal clients to take action
. Amy has been creating brand identities, illustrations and logos for 11 years, working with the most amazing clients, helping them to love their businesses and attract the right people. She also runs the Brand Success Club, a place to find training and support to create your own successful brand. Amy is a Director of The Inspire Network and a Papercut Artist creating a monthly subscription box for paper cutters.

Together as the Designer’s Collective, Amy and Hollie are here to create a bespoke brand for you, which is aligned with your brand values and vision in a creative way.

Designer’s Collective Brand Review

This can be done either either in person or online via Zoom with both of us together.

Ifyou’re not 100% confident about your brand after using this workbook and you would like us to review your brand for you, then why not get in touch.

Before the review we will ask you to fill in a form, giving us specific information in order for us to fulfil your brand review. Once we have analysed everything we will arrange to either meet up with you in person or online via Zoom where we can discuss our thoughts with you.

After the brand review you will receive a report from us with a list of 5 top actions we recommend you take in order to improve your overall branding.

 

 

 

 

Designer’s Collective Together

The Designer’s Collective Together is a boutique one-to-one branding and logo design package to help you create a logo and brand that is in alignment with your brand values, vision and dream customers.

You will receive:

• A 30 minute consultation with both of us either in person or online via Zoom.

• A competitor analysis document where we will analyse your top 3 competitors, looking at their branding, websites and social media with recommendations on how you can stand out against them.

• 3 logo design ideas curated by both of us together. This is where our graphic design skills and wealth of experience come together to create a truly powerful and unique brand for you.

• Final logo files at the end, including jpegs, pngs, eps, pdf and ai files with a bonus video explaining the different file types.

• Icons, illustrations and patterns where required.

• A brand stylesheet detailing colours and fonts used along with any logo variations and brand elements.

• BONUS: The brand review will be included within this.

 

 

 

 


 

 

Finish work at 4pm? Is it possible to build a business that way?

We’re told Denmark is the happiest country of all and in their businesses we hear that after 4pm, work is a strictly no go zone and even emails aren’t answered when it’s out of business hours but when you are self employed and building a business, often from home, is it really possible to only work from 8 or 9am, finish at 4pm and still create a profitable empire?  We asked members of our network what they thought and here’s what they said.

Mandy from Mandy Charlton Photography said “Now that I have 2 businesses, I’m finding more than ever that I need to section off pieces of my day and home education on top of that means pretty much separating my life into blocks on a schedule, I realise this won’t always be the case but currently if I finished work at 4pm now, I’d have a meltdown every time I opened my email box the next day.”

Lucie Charlton from Charlton Cooks said “This is something I would love to get myself into doing! But as you say, either when you look the next day there are too many emails, mainly for me as they are also on my phone I can’t help but see them…which means even if I’m not replying I am thinking about them. Also it is really hard to get across to clients that I may be busy or have other plans at 7pm at night. I need the business but I also need a life….catch 22.”

Saffron de Menzes commented that “I don’t finish at 4 as my working pattern isn’t quite so regular and has to fit in around home educating but I do have strict finishing times that are different for each day of the week, I could share them if it’s helpful. I feel like the time itself isn’t as important as the principle of really honouring time when I’m not just not doing work but when I’m not thinking about it either.”

Danielle Stanley with a large customer base in the USA said “Unfortunately not as most of my customers shop outside of traditional business hours and I have lots of international customers so they message all through the night. I usually wake up to at least two ‘where is my order’ messages from Americans who haven’t noticed that I’m not in the US!”

Claire Ritson from Dance Co said “I would love to this ( maybe not as early as 4pm) but defo a more sensible time! Since we got a premises I have tried to stick to answering enquiries within working hours when we are there but it’s not always manageable, we often have enquiries late at night for classes for the next day and I find myself trying to reply.
I do think it’s vitally important to set boundaries”

Samantha Rickleton from North East Family Fun commented “I think part of the beauty of being self employed is that you can choose your own working hours and have that flexibility. Today I have walked my children to school, enjoyed a 2 mile walk, met my friends for a 90 minute coffee, bought some food shopping and I’m only just sitting down to work now. It may mean that I work a little tonight but that’s fine – I’d rather have been out in the beautiful sunshine this morning. Strict working patterns just wouldn’t work for me as I love being flexible and fitting work around my life.”

Paula Smart from Wild Hearts Photography said ” I also don’t have strict working patterns and that works for me and for my family. One thing that helps me not feel like I am always on call is to uninstall Facebook and Messenger from my phone for a few hours and it feels very liberating. Once my clients have actually booked me I ensure they have my phone number so that they can still get in touch with me via text if they need a quick answer to something important that may crop up. I think a lot of practical things, and attitudes, would have to change in the UK before people would be willing or ready to accept the Scandinavian work/life balance model. But wouldn’t it be great?!”

Finally Fin from Wolfpack Personal Training commented “Yes! Love this. I am officially checking out this Friday at 12pm and making this a standard.  Focusing on structured hours actually improves the quality of my work. ”

 

So, our members really thought that it’s a great idea but not a practical solution but I wonder if it’s because we just accept that to be successful you need to work longer, harder and better than our employed colleagues who usually have much more structured hours before they can sign out, walk out the door and not have to worry about business anymore.

If you have a comment or opinion we’d love to hear what you think so leave us a comment below and remember, when women support women, amazing things happen.

 

 

The Inspire Network is now The Inspire Network International Ltd

The Inspire Network logo, a supportive business network for women at every stage of businessIt’s been an exciting time for us at The Inspire Network, last week we formed a new company, after 8 years running as a not for profit supporting women in business at every stage of business we became a ltd company and it is our goal to one day become a worldwide organisation with Inspire groups all over the globe supporting and inspiring women of all ages to reach their dreams of entrepreneurship.  We have done so much good in the northeast region where we began under the guidance of our founder member Julie Relf who now becomes the financial director.  Julie had a vision and acted upon it and that is why we now have over ten thousand female members of our Facebook group.

Along with Julie we have the always inspirational creative director, Amy Purdie who’s creativity and success in the field of graphic design and branding  has inspired many of our members over the years.  We also move into the next stage of our development with our first ever CEO, Mandy Charlton.  Mandy, a Newcastle photographer with over 12 years of business experience behind her faced many challenges to go from being someone who couldn’t leave her own home, trapped by mental health issues to being a business leader in her fields of photography and blogging.  Mandy knows the challenges of starting a business against all of the odds, and more importantly not just thriving in a saturated market but also triumphing with many awards and accolades.

Mandy has a vision for the future to take us onto the worldwide stage, not only that but to operate a company which has it’s community at it’s very heart and which continues to practice philanthropy at every stage.

Lucille Bowling – Bowling Home Improvements

Name:

Lucille Bowling

Business Name:

Bowling Home Improvements

Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/bowlinghomeimprovements

Linkedin:

Lucille Bowling

Where are you in the North East?

Ferryhill, Durham

Email address:

rbowlinghi@gmail.com

Directory advert:

Bowling Home Improvements are based in Ferryhill but we cover the whole of the North East. We cover all aspects of construction work from barn conversions and full house renovations to electrics, plastering and joinery.

We love what we do and pride ourselves on the reputation that we’ve earned through our hard work.  We work to an incredibly high standard and provide fantastic customer service.

When did you start your business and why?:

We started Bowling Home Improvements in March 2017 as we felt ready to enter the world of self employment and develop our construction company.

What gives your business the edge?:

We do!

We love the extra detail, like the bespoke metal staircase or the wall of glass blocks that we created. We don’t do off the shelf products, instead we create things to suit our customers needs.

What is the best thing about running your own business?:

The variety of work that we get to do. Despite only being in business for 6 months we have completed some amazing projects and have some incredibly exciting ones lined up!

And what is the worst!?:

Being so busy (It’s a nice problem to have!!).

Describe a typical day running your business and balancing family life:

My husband, Richard, goes out to complete the work during the day while I stay home with our son, Harry. Our home office comes to life once Harry is in bed!

How do you envisage your business changing over the next 5 years?:

It’s crazy how much we have changed in 6 months, so I can’t begin to imagine how we will change in 5 years! Hopefully lots more work, more staff and an even bigger reputation!

Do you have any advice for other Women in or starting a business?:

Be yourself, you are your own USP!