Janine Armour – Barney’s Collars

Name: Janine Armour

Business name: Barney’s Collars

“We are a North East of England based company run by animal lovers, selling bespoke personalised collars for your beloved pets.”

Website: www.barneyscollars.co.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/barneyscollars

Twitter: @barneyscollars

Where are you based in the North East: Cleadon Village, Sunderland

When did you start your business and why?

8th October 2011. My love of animals, a desire to be my own boss and an amibition to succeed promtped me to start my own business.

What gives your business the edge?

We sell bespoke quality products at affordable prices.

What is the best thing about running your own business?

Being my own boss and having flexible hours to fit around my family.

And what is the worst?

It can sometimes be a bit lonely and isolated being mainly home based.

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

Up, breakfast, wash and dress, school run, check emails/facebook etc, admin duties, make orders made through online and agents, household chores, post office run, school run, tea and homework with family, admin/email catch up, relax with family, bed.

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

At the moment my business is mainly centred around the stalls and events that I exhibit at. I hope within time to build my agents up futher in the North East and beyond and build my business further around them for orders.

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

Give it a go, you never know it may just be what you were dreaming of. DO NOT spend beyond your limits/budget and grow at a steady manageable pace.



Karen Chomse – KCR Solutions

Name: Karen Chomse

Business Name: KCR Solutions Ltd

Website: www.kcrsolutions.co.uk

Facebook page/group: http://on.fb.me/OuSM3I

Twitter name: https://twitter.com/kcrsolutions

Linkedin: http://linkd.in/QAYEnk

Where are you in the North East? Newcastle upon Tyne

KCR Solutions Ltd is a recruitment consultancy offering bespoke recruitment solutions in the following fields;

  • Finance
  • HR
  • Office support

We offer a tailor made service with a focus on the needs of both the client and candidate.  The client brief is matched against our database of candidates, every one of which is given an in-depth interview from one of our trained consultants to find out exactly what kind of role which they would be best suited to.

Every one of our client accounts is overseen by one of our Directors and we have a growing and enviable reputation for the consistently high levels of service we offer.

If you wish to discuss a vacancy or submit your CV please call us on 0191 2304600 or email enquiries@kcrsolutions.co.uk

When did you start your business and why?:

KCR Solutions started in June 2004.  Having worked for a larger national recruitment agency and been unable to get flexible working, I teamed up with my brother to set up a recruitment agency.

What gives your business the edge?:

We don’t have the bums on seat approach that lots of recruitment agencies have.  We want to place the right candidate in the right company so that both parties are happy.  We strive for repeat business and recommendations.

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

Having the flexibility to enjoy time with my family and run a successful business.

And what is the worst!?:

Working until the early hours as juggling work and family commitments doesn’t always fit into the normal hours of the day.

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

Dropping my children off, going into work, picking them up, doing various activities and spending time together.  After bedtime (which is often too late!) I then get onto my computer and work until whatever time is needed.

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

Our business was in the perfect position for expansion just under 4 years ago when the recession hit.  I was probably a year away from working only school hours and having all the school holidays off.  Since then however, it has often been an uphill struggle.  In 5 years’ time, I would like to think that we are in the position whereby we have expanded over and above that of 4 years ago.  I would like to be concentrating on the business development side and working only schools hours and having all of the school holidays off.

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

Go for it – it is the best thing that I have ever done and has given me the flexibility to see every school play and assembly as well being a successful and confident business woman.

Janine Rudin – Birth, Baby & Family

Name: Janine Rudin

Business Name: Birth, Baby & Family

Website: www.birthbabyandfamily.com

Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/BirthBabyandFamily

Twitter name: https://twitter.com/BirthandBabyCo

Linkedin: http://linkd.in/MXbDEU

Where are you in the North East? Tyneside

Birth & Baby Basics provides support, information and reassurance for expectant and new parents through courses, one to one sessions and drop-ins. Parents can benefit from ongoing support as they need it, from pregnancy and throughout life with their young family.

When did you start your business and why?:

Birth & Baby Basics was born in 2007 – after running antenatal classes for a national organisation for 6 years I decided to build my own business so I could focus on providing a wider range of support for parents across Tyneside.

What gives your business the edge?:

My experience and my dedication to listening to and helping expectant and new parents. I specialise in running small groups so the sessions are informal and relaxed, giving parents the opportunity to ask all the questions they need to feel reassured, informed and supported.

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

Flexibility – I can work around my family – and the success of my business is based on my own hard work and reputation.

And what is the worst!?:

Sometimes the stress of doing everything myself and regularly working until midnight to fit it all in.

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

Up early to go through emails and to do some writing for the blog before getting my girls ready for school. During the day I will run baby massage and postnatal courses, along with writing articles for the website. Then it’s school-run time and I spend time with my girls before teaching antenatal classes in the evening.

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

Birth & Baby Basics has started to grow this year and I would like to sustain this so I can take on additional staff and continue to support more Tyneside parents.

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

Be prepared to work hard but if it is your passion, stick at it because running your own business is so worth it!

Julie Allan – JLA Accounting

Name: Julie Allan

Business Name: jla accounting

Website: www.jlaaccounting.co.uk

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/jlaaccounting

Twitter name: @jlaaccounting

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/company/jla-accounting

jla accounting is a friendly and professional firm based in Darlington.  jla accounting is run by Julie Allan, a Chartered Accountant  with over fourteen years experience helping individuals, partnerships and companies based in the North East with their accounting and taxation affairs.  As an owner managed business, jla accounting, understands the needs of small and medium sized businesses and is best placed to offer the right service at the right price to each client.

When did you start your business and why? 

My business started 18 months ago.  I started my own accountancy practice to enable me to offer a high quality service to clients at an affordable price.

What gives your business the edge? 

High quality, personal service.

What is the best thing about running your own business? 

Everything!  I enjoy having the control to decide the direction that my practice is heading, the rush when you win a new client and then developing good working relationships with my clients.

And what is the worst!? 

Lack of office banter! – I try to make up for this by actively networking at The Inspire Network and Darlington Business Club and attending co-working days such as those organised by Colleagues on Tap.

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

Life is hectic and about full scale juggling.  I get up, get the children ready and off to school or childcare.  A typical working day can then involve meetings with clients, regular site visits to clients for the preparation of management accounts, networking and time in my office to get the actual work done.  I then pick the children up from school and take them to classes before we get chance to settle down for the evening.

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

Ultimately once all my children are at school I would like to grow the practice, creating flexible jobs for others and using technology and flexible workspaces to keep costs down to enable me to continue to deliver high quality service at an affordable price. 

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

Really think through your idea and do lots of research and then just have the confidence to go with it!

Julie Johnson – The Success Club

Name: Julie Johnson

Business Name: The Success Club

Supporting women entrepreneurs and small business service providers to design their business, content,  marketing message and offers to fit themselves, their lifestyle and financial goals.

I provide Success, Confidence and Business Building Coaching, Mentoring, Programmes, Events, & Speaking.  My book Stepping into Success – The 7 Essential Moves to Bring Your Business to Life was published in 2012.  For more info and to download The 3 Show-Stopping Mistakes Made by Women Entrepreneurs Every Day visit my website.

Website: the-successclub.co.uk

Email: julie@the-successclub.co.uk

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JulieJohnsonBiz

Twitter name: https://twitter.com/stepin2success

Linkedin: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/juliejohnsonstepintosuccess

Directory Advert:

The Success Club inspires and supports women to create positive change in their business and their life, for better and longer-lasting results.  Working with me, and a community of other successful and supportive women, you’re challenged and encouraged to reach your potential to become the best version of you, and to live Your idea of a successful life.  

I help with Mindset & Confidence, Leadership & Productivity, Success Vision, Goals & Implementation, as well as Business Growth.  Through 1 to 1 and group work, online courses and books, longer term development programmes, and my unique DANCE system.

For free books, articles, videos and trainings visit my website.

When did you start your business and why?:

After a career in HR/Management I realised I was no longer happy in my work.  I was successful to the outside world but what I wanted had changed.  I resigned, and after redefining success and happiness for myself, I qualified as a coach and gained experience working as a part-time HR consultant/trainer before setting up in business in 2002.

I started my business because I wanted the freedom and autonomy to set my own hours, earn at least what I was earning previously and have more free time and a generally happier and more balanced personal and family life.  I also wanted to do work I love and teach what I’d learned to help others not make the same mistakes I’d made!

What gives your business the edge?:

I specialise in supporting self-employed women and small business service providers.  I’ve built my own enjoyable and successful business by ensuring that my business always serves me as well as my clients.

I focus on helping clients feel good and have fun because this makes changing behaviour seem easier. It impacts hugely on results. And it ensures those results are longer-lasting…because when you enjoy the process, you’re more likely to continue.

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

The freedom to create and design it to fit with your ideal life.

And what is the worst!?:

Feeling isolated or on your own.  (That’s where a good network is invaluable, as is building a support team, and always working with a mentor, coach, or trusted person who cares about what you’re trying to do and can hold you to account!)

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

When my children were younger and I was involved in school and activity runs, no two days were ever the same.  Now that they’re grown I’ve developed a more predictable work routine.

Unless I’m meeting clients or running an event or training session, I’m usually at my home office desk by 9am on work days and have a flexible 5pm finish time. (Depending on other commitments during the day I might take a few hours out and return to some work in the evening.)  

  • Client or prospect calls
  • Group training, individual coaching or initial exploratory meetings.
  • Developing or updating programmes and services and writing my newsletter/articles
  • Marketing – writing, speaking, networking, meetings
  • Liaising with my team – re website, communications, events, promotions and issues
  • Monitoring/review

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

My business has already changed lots since 2002. Going forward I’d like to create bigger social impact by expanding my offerings and client base, and increasing my community.

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

Get clear about what you want and be true to yourself – don’t follow the crowd.  Get regular support – from coaches, mentors, buddies – people you trust who can provide not only the knowledge, skills and guidance you need, but also can encourage you and push you to be your best.