Small Business Support Blog

If you are interested in reading about how to get your business visible online, with regular insights into being an entrepreneur and navigating your way through the business world, then this blog is for you!

We regularly post interesting articles on topics on leadership, management and visibility - with guest articles and features from experts in their field.

If you are interested in collaborating and would like to do a guest feature then please email [email protected] 

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  1. #ReasonsIStarted

     Visionary Veils

    Foreword from Pamela

    I wanted to create a series of articles which detail the journey of female entrepreneurs to demonstrate how amazing and tenacious these fearless women are, and how inspirational they are to other potential entrepreneurs. 

    This next in the series details wedding business owner Rebekah Mccann-Williams, founder of Visionary Veils - exquisite wedding veils handmade by her own two hands...

     

    From my own wedding, to a royal wedding, to a decade of luxury wedding veils...

    I am delighted to introduce myself and my business to you. My name is Rebekah and I am the owner and wedding veil designer at Visionary Veils.

    This year I am delighted to be celebrating 10 years of designing and creating wedding veils for Brides all over the world. As a wedding veil designer, I have made hundreds of handmade wedding veils - all hand cut and hand sewn to perfection in our Belfast Studio.

    So, where did it all start? When I was planning my own wedding, I was very lucky to be travelling for work and I had the opportunity to visit lots of different bridal stores all over the UK and Ireland.

    I found my wedding dress during the early stage of my wedding planning but I had fallen in love with the traditional lace wedding veil of  Grace Kelly and the embroidered silk tulle train of Queen Elizabeth’s gown – but  I could not find a wedding veil like this anywhere. Not willing to let go of this inspiration, I decided to source the lace and make my own veil – which in the end was my gorgeous wedding cloak.

    Luxury wedding veils

     

    I realised that many brides were probably experiencing the same difficulties I had in searching for their dream wedding veil. Encouraged by the positive reaction of my friends and wedding guests, the idea of a bespoke wedding veil design business was born. 

    Getting started was tough but fun... Seek support where you can!

    In every business there are always various elements that are required for it to succeed. I had the passion, the skill and the determination to make my business succeed but none of this would have become a reality without support. The Go For it NI business scheme provided step by step business advice and mentoring and this is where I began. Their training played a huge part in the development of my own business skills and knowledge and gave me the confidence to start my business.

    The resurgence of the Wedding Veil

    With any great business idea there is always an element of luck required and the royal wedding of the Kate and William was the  golden ticket that not only established myself as a wedding veil designer and put my business on the map.

    Royal-wedding-of-Kate-Middleton-with-sister-Pippa-Middleton

     

    The timing was just right for my business as the excitement of the royal wedding hit fever pitch - my business was already trading and my website live.  When Kate stepped out onto the steps of Westminster Abbey to reveal a beautiful silk and lace wedding veil it elevated the traditional tulle wedding veil into a fashion forward bridal accessory. Kate’s choice of wedding veil catapulted the sales of French silk tulle wedding veils.  Fortuitously for Visionary Veils, I had already created a silk tulle wedding veil and produced a similar veil to Kate’s within days. Sales of our Kate veil rocketed as I sold my handmade silk wedding veils all over the world.

     

    This was perhaps one of the first examples of the “Kate Effect”  which has boosted and increased sales in fashion houses all over the world.

     

    The Wedding veil had always been an important part of the wedding ensemble  but its popularity among modern fashion forward brides increased from this point on, and it is a trend that continues to flourish.

     

    I love being a wedding veil designer!

     

    I am passionate about creating the perfect wedding veil to complement my brides’ wedding gowns. I love sewing and I love the connection that develops between myself and my clients. It is very important to me that my brides have a relaxed and enjoyable experience when we collaborate on their wedding veil design and that our time together is a wedding experience that they will remember fondly.

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    Expertise and Guidance

    There is such a range of wedding dress styles now available to our brides that it can be difficult to find the bridal accessories that will work best with their dress. This can be a challenge as some Brides are not sure that a wedding veil will work with their chosen gown.

    I recognise that Brides need two things to help them choose their wedding veil - guidance and inspiration. They need a wedding veil designer with knowledge and expertise who can take them through their wedding veil options and this is how I see my role as a wedding veil designer - an expert with a high level of skill and craftsmanship who can make their wedding veil dreams a reality. I know that our Brides value the bespoke nature of our product and they appreciate their bespoke veil styling appointment.

    The Next Challenge

    My next business challenge is to establish my ready to wear veil collection. I love creating my bespoke wedding veils as every element can be tailored to create a design that complements the wedding dress – but it can be hard for some brides to visualise what that veil will be like. I wanted to design a wedding veil collection which was available to purchase as seen.

    ready to wear wedding veils

     

    This is a completely new direction for me as a wedding veil designer and my business, and I have to be honest, it is a bigger challenge than I anticipated .The launch of my collection coincided with the Coronavirus global lockdown which  triggered a decline in online searches for anything related to weddings - but I have stayed positive. I am delighted with the “Ready To Wear” veil collection and I know I can make this new element of my business a success.

    During Lockdown I decided that I would use the time to learn more about making my website visible. I had set time aside during the lockdown to research and learn as much as I could relating to SEO. There are many experts offering advice and courses and I participated in a number of challenges and it was during this time that I discovered the work of Pamela and Worsley creative.  I found her Visibility challenge packed full of content and knew I could learn loads from Pamela’s training. I am now working with Pamela in her VIP Privilege  group.

    My work with Pamela at Worsley Creative is focused on raising my online visibility in a saturated online veil market. My desire to combine a bespoke veil design service with a ready to wear veil collection will see my online profile and business grow.  Making my “Ready To Wear” collection more visible will also raise the awareness of my brand and my business. I understand now that this will not be a quick win - it will take time to elevate my online business profile, but I am delighted now to have the guidance of an SEO expert to help me meet this new challenge.

    If you would like to know more, connect with wedding veil designer Rebekah by visiting her website.

  2. #ReasonsIstarted

    Maxine mua

    Foreword from Pamela...

    #ReasonsIstarted - I wanted to create a series of posts that tell the stories of entrepreneurs and why they started their businesses, not just to be able to showcase the incredible talents of business owners who are disrupting markets and generating awesome ideas, but to provide inspiration to anyone thinking about starting their own entrepreneurial journey (or actually anyone thinking of giving up!) 

    The next in the series comes from serial entrepreneur Maxine Wilson MUA, serial entrepreneur, who started her career as a solicitor!

    From family law to making family memories - my journey to owning my dream business!

    Hi everyone, I am so thrilled to be featured on Worsley Creative’s #ReasonsIStarted blog. I am an award winning bridal hair and makeup artist based in Oxfordshire. 

    I specialise in creating naturally glamorous hair and makeup for brides who want to look - and feel - like themselves on their wedding day. I love showing women just how beautiful they are! Using tiny ‘corrective’ techniques which don’t get noticed, I balance features, perfect the shapes of eyes and emphasise lips  - all without making the bride feel uncomfortable because that that they are caked in makeup. I also provide makeup lessons and special event hair and makeup.

    However, I have a past life…! I used to be a solicitor specialising in divorce and family law. Yes, divorces to wedding hair and makeup artist, I am aware of the irony!

    I was a straight A student at school; off to Sheffield University to read Geography, then on to the College of Law for the Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course (I have a BA and an LLB thanks very much). I was a qualified solicitor by the time I was 25 and chose to specialise in family law. It was a hard slog, but at the time I felt that it was worth it. 

    I quickly came to realise that I was a square peg in a round hole. I was too commercially aware and too interested in having a work life balance to fit neatly into the overworked junior lawyer box. I moved to a couple of other firms to try and find a home and ultimately became head of a family law department. When I got married, I realised that I couldn’t keep working like this, and more importantly, I didn’t want to. 

    Whilst on our honeymoon, with some much needed distance from day to day life, I knew I needed an exit plan. I couldn’t keep going the way that I was especially with the prospect of starting a family on the horizon. Sitting on a beach in New Zealand, my new husband asked, “have you thought about wedding hair and makeup? You love that stuff…” And like that, a lightbulb went on in my head. I was booked in for one to one makeup artist training before we came home!

    Maxine Wilson Female Entrepreneur

     

    That was in early 2016 and my business - and life - has gone from strength to strength. I didn’t return to my law role when my eldest was born. I didn’t need to - my business brought in more income than my legal role, especially once nursery fees were factored in!

    I feel like running my own business is what I was meant to do. I choose my hours and, to a certain extent, the clients with whom I would like to work. I can prioritise my children (I have two little ones born only eighteen months apart!) where I need to and have been able to be the stay at home mum that I dreamed of being without compromising on my business ambitions. 

    Having said that, it is bloody hard work. Balancing home life (running a house, organising the children - and my husband) and keeping my business thriving is tough. It is a fine line between surviving and thriving when you are self employed. This is especially true in the wedding industry which, even in a good year, is quite feast and famine due to the traditional summer wedding season. 

    maxine wilson mentor

     

    This year of course, thanks to Coronavirus, we have not enjoyed the expected wedding season.  My fully booked diary has completely moved to 2021 - meaning that I am essentially earning one year’s income over the course of two years. I will have to work more dates than I would wish to next year to make up the shortfall. Financially and emotionally, this has been difficult to swallow, not least as the government’s Self Employed Income Support Scheme  has not taken into account two maternity leaves in calculating the support to which I am entitled.

    However, from every cloud, a silver lining emerges. I have been able to diversify and I now support and mentor other women who want to start their own businesses, or want to be more successful in their businesses in order to leave their 9-5 jobs. I also help other hair and makeup artists to run more effective businesses by leading workshops on time management, CRM systems and client contracts. I am shortly launching templates for hair and makeup artists to improve the efficacy of their processes, contracts and systems. Finally I am now the facebook community manager for Kristina Gasperas Academy

     

    maxine wilson

     

    While the effects of coronavirus are the biggest of the #reasonsIstarted, I am really proud of having had financial success in a global pandemic! I am also really proud to be showing my children that making money isn’t the only way to be successful. 

    If escaping law was the reason I started my first business, and covid was the reason I diversified, the freedom to design my own life has been the reason I have continued. Carving out my own niche gives me immense pleasure and pride. It is exhausting, but so so worth it. I work hard to invest in my knowledge, skills and visibility, which is how I found Pamela and the SEO Beautiful Online Visibility group which has really helped me with getting to grips with my website and not fearing the tech! Through investing in myslef with memberships like Pamela's, and other entrepreneurial groups I have been able to diversify my income - and that Stripe payment ‘ping’ never gets old!

     

    Find out more about Maxine by visiting www.maxinewilson.co.uk