The Homewares & Lifestyle Exchange
Fri 11th Aug 2017
If you’re a homeware or lifestyle business, this is an event you won’t want to miss. Join inspiring retail buyers, entrepreneurs and experts from the homewares and lifestyle industry for this one day extravaganza. You could get a chance to pitch to John Lewis!
Inspiring Women - 12 Hours FREE business support for women
The Inspiring Women Business Growth Programme is a pan-London programme, so any female run business in London can apply. Areas covered include: Business Development, Finances, HR, Environmental Management and, of course, Marketing.
This pan-London project, open to men and women, provides a tailored programme of support for new enterprises. It also offers specialised mentoring and advice to help existing businesses survive, prosper and grow.
If you are looking to develop your business with a view to securing public and private sector contracts, then Building Legacies could be for you. The programme includes workshops, briefings, masterclasses, toolkits, networking and 1-2-1 coaching with external business mentors.
Waltham Forest Business Network's Jo Sealy meets the Walthamstow woman making brides' dreams come true
In a little corner of Walthamstow a brand new business has emerged providing unique, intricately hand-crafted accessories that would delight any blushing bride.
Steph Haire started her luxury bridal accessories business just a few months ago, but already her designs her gracefully adorning the gowns of brides this summer.
She says: “My desings are tailored to each bride and aim to encompass their individual style and comeplte their bridal look with bespoke, luxury decorative details.”
Step studied costume design at the University of the Arts London, where she focused her work around hand-embroidery and embellishment. She also worked as a bridal consultant and stylist while studying at university, a role which helped her to spot a business opportunity.
“I always found myself frustrated with the limited options for accessories to go with a brides’ dress” Steph explains. “Even the high-end pieces tended to be a little underwhelming. When my cousin got married, I realised I could put my hand-embellishment skills to good use and create something truly spectacular for his wife to wear with her beautiful dress.”
Despite only having started the business very recently, Steph feels that some of the best support she’s had so far has come from the encouragement of family and friends, giving her the courage to tackle the launch of the new website.
“It’s been a huge achievement! I created it completely from scratch, which was quite a challenge as I am more creative than technological. I’m so excited to use my new platform to showcase my designs and reach more lovely brides.”
While Steph has found it exciting to start the business, there have been a few challenges – confidence in herself and in her technical ability have been top of the list. Other areas outside of her comfort zone have included putting together financial plans and costing her creations. However, creating a viable business out of her talents has made all of the hard work worthwhile.
“I bring a personal and bespoke touch to teach of my designs. I love to work one-on-one with my clients and incorporate their ideas to make something really special. So often wedding garments can have a mass produced look, I’ve been able to experiment with materials allowing me to create unique and quirky designs that offer a more cost-effective way to bring individual style to a bride’s wedding day.”
Her business is moving into a studio in the nextg year that will function as a dual workspace and showroom so that she can offer more face-to-face consultations.
“Being abel to make my brides so happy and contribute to the most special day of their lives is one of the most satisfying aspects of starting the business. I would say that if you’re thinking of starting a business don’t be scared – just go for it.
“You’ll never know until you try!”
For more information about Stephanie Jacqueline Bridal:
In her latest column on small businesses, Waltham Forest Business Network's Jo Sealy finds a designer with a lot to offer...
A distinguished career in the world of interior design has been turned into a flourishing personal design projects business. When award-winning interior de- signer Celia James took stock of her 30 years' design and build experience last year, the former director of the British Institute of Interior Design saw an opportunity to set up a brand new business: Pimp Your Home, offering small group workshop sessions from her studio in Leytonstone. "So much has changed over the years in the industry," says Celia.
"The rise of the do-it-yourself interior designer, the desire to express individuality in our homes and cuts in adult education, have reduced many part-time courses in interior design, offering an opportunity. "I decided that I wanted to use my experience and teaching skills to bring the basics of interior design to people who wished to create their own beautiful and functional spaces, so in January this year I took the leap and started the business." Celia runs the twice-monthly Saturday workshop sessions from a fully equipped studio. It's a place for students to focus their ideas, select colour schemes, experiment with room layouts, and choose from samples of fabrics and flooring materials with Celia on hand to share her knowledge and experience.
"Students learn to express their ideas professionally and in so doing reduce the risk of making big mistakes and wasting money," says Celia. "It was a great personal achievement to get my first bookings when I started in January. The number of students has grown steadily since then but it's still a challenge to spread the word about Pimp Your Home. Like many creative people I find it hard to promote myself!"
As Celia's business begins to take off she acknowledges that hard work, persistence, talent, and luck play their part, but it all can only work if you do something you enjoy.
"If you are passionate about what you do you most likely will be successful. One of the most satisfying things about running the business is seeing the students in the studio enjoying themselves, learning from me and each other, and I realise how much knowledge I have to share on so many levels. It makes sense of my working life."
For more information about Pimp Your Home:
Do you know a great small business in Waltham Forest with a story to tell?
When Chingford based Mary Robertson followed her daughter in taking up a floristry course, it opened up a whole new family business venture. Before her daughter Anna was born, Mary used to run a Fairtrade shop based on the importance of ethics in business. Contemplating what her daughter Anna would do when she completed college, she dreamed up the idea of 'Anna's Fab Fair Flowers' and the business started trading last spring.
The florist sells flowers from the Chingford site of local food producer Organiclea, ensuring the owers are both local and organic. Mary says: "We sell cut flowers as bouquets tied with Fairtrade ribbon or in a selection of Fair- trade, upcycled or vintage containers. These can be bought at cost-price or returned each week at no cost.
"There's a Saturday stall outside the Hornbeam at Bakers Arms and there's the option of local deliveries too. My daughter Anna has learning difficulties and suffers from epilepsy - she's very unlikely to get a conventional job but I'm hoping that this little family business will suit her really well. Anna is a very special young lady.Many people with learning difficulties struggle in all sorts of ways, including getting a job. Anna's Fab Fair Flowers aims to buck that trend."
Mary has experienced a few challenges with running the business, one of which includes keeping the flowers protected from the elements at her stall on a Saturday. However, there have been some great achievements too – her Christmas wreaths proved to be hot sellers over the festive season. Mary feels that her Fairtrade instincts are what makes her different from the competition.
"There are lots of lovely owers for sale and many lovely people selling them too but sadly that's not the whole story. Many of the owers for sale come from over- seas and there can be problems both in terms of working conditions and environmental issues, including air miles. Anna's Fab Fair Flowers are local and organically grown. I try to ensure that every aspect of the business is ethical."
Mary and Anna are focused on building their customer base to provide fresh cut owers to the Waltham Forest community.
"We love being involved in an initiative that's both fun and worth- while; having scope to adapt it to meet my family's needs," says Mary.
"If I was to give any advice to new entrepreneurs it would be to nd a niche in the market where you can make a difference, work hard and follow your dreams! Sustainability and ethics need to be our future so make sure you're on the right side."
For more information about Anna's Fab Fair Flowers:
Do you know a great small business in Waltham Forest with a story to tell?
Following another great week of #WFWeds, here are the winners. Take a look at their websites and connect with them on social media.
If you're not one of the winners this week join in with Waltham Forest Wednesdays from 7:30pm on Twitter. Follow #WFWeds.
Here's what to do:
1. Follow @wfbnetwork on Twitter
2. Tweet just once with a graphic, about your business directed to @wfbnetwork adding the hashtag #WFWeds
3. Tweet on a Wednesday between 7.30 - 9pm
4. Look out for the retweets
- Ensure your profile sells your business and has a link to your website.
- Tweet just once in each weekly time slot
We'll shortly be featuring all of those selected on the WFBN website.
Chloe Redmond is a Fitness & Pilates instructor, Personal Trainer & Baby Massage & Yoga Instructor in Walthamstow East London. Weekly fitness classes include Pilates, Pre & Post Natal Pilates, Zumba®, Legs Bums & Tums, Spin, Box&Core and combined Baby Massage & Yoga.
From the age of 4 Chloe began Ballet dancing, despite being the plumpest of this group of “little princesses”, she continued this dance form for 8 years.
She went on to develop techniques in a variety of dance styles alongside competing for her boroughs athletics team, horse riding, gymnastics and general activities a young person does when denied a gameboy by their parents!
Designers love to make things, and E17 Designers helps them to sell what they make. Designers love to make things and, with the wealth of design talent we have in E17, that means very beautiful things indeed – from jewellery and ceramics to fashion and knitwear, from prints and stationery to soft furnishings and accessories.
But designers also need to sell things if they are to survive – and that’s where E17 Designers’ Markets comes in, creating happy, sociable shopping spaces where buyers can talk directly to makers, and turn their (excellent) taste into pounds in the designers’ pockets.
It’s our job to promote the events to the widest possible audience, and to make sure that everyone who comes through the door feels welcome and inspired.
An E17 Designers event is often a social gathering with some live music or dj's, cakes (of course), the chance to win a goody bag, and a great way to bag presents for all the family... you will find a selection of traditional and contemporary jewellery, handmade from silver, semi-precious stones, ceramic or painted pieces; designer ceramics and rustic traditional stoneware; also quirky, vintage inspired adults and children's clothing, alongside bags and handmade cards.
Hand-dyed yarns by travelknitter, all individually dyed in London E17. Colourways are deep and saturated, with lots of warmth and character, and colours are layered to get a truly rich colour. Lots of squishy yarns including British Bluefaced Leicester, merino, and luscious baby camel and silk blends.
I’m Australian by heritage, but somehow I find myself living alternately in Melbourne and London, criss-crossing the globe along the way. I’ve always loved travelling, but knitting is a more recently discovered passion, and I’ve found the two complement each other very well.
Stow Film Lounge
Stow Film Lounge is based in Walthamstow, East London and was started in September 2012. We are the London Borough of Waltham Forest’s independent repertory cinema, a title we are very proud of. We were a finalist in the Time Out Love London Awards 2014 as an E17 venue.
The Walthamstow area has a rich film history and our aim is to continue that tradition by keeping diverse cinema exhibition alive locally. As well as our regular commercial screenings, we support short-film makers by screening their work before our main features, offer a monthly film club to a local 6th form media college, collaborate with filmmakers who self-distribute and work with a range of commercial/not-for-profit/charitable organisations to bring film to diverse audiences. We pop-up in other venues (including outdoors) both locally and further afield, offering commercial and private cinema experiences.
One of our key intentions is to ensure that people experience the wonder of cinema in a relaxed, fun and friendly atmosphere within their local community at an affordable price. We don’t think it is right that people have to travel out of the area for their entertainment.
Our fully portable equipment is HD with 3D compatibility when required, with a quality sound system to match. Add to this our range of quality refreshments and we are sure you will agree that all the ingredients are in place for a memorable entertainment experience.
Grow Your Own Theatre means just that. Young people creating their own stories and being in charge of their own work.
We are inclusive and open, believing all young people have stories to tell. Last year, our older Youth Theatre was made up of students studying not only drama but science, healthcare and maths - using drama as a way to unwind, relax and explore other aspects of themselves. We tend to focus on the quirky and ridiculous side of life - though have explored themes such as loss, competition, exclusion (and a world with no internet -the horror!). Please see FAQs for more on our methods.
Grow Your Own Theatre has been making shows and working with young people in Walthamstow since Oct 2011. Despite having no dedicated arts centre, Walthamstow has been home to many creative people and ventures - we've worked with local schools, venues and projects. You can find information on our friends and other local creative projects here.
Nirvana Brew Co
What's that you say? You're brewing a range of alcohol free beer? That seems to be the question everyone's asking us..
Yep! Nirvana Beer Co. is producing great tasting craft beers with a difference...
Knowing all too well how non-alcoholic beers were renowned for being dull, lacking in taste and variety, Nirvana decided to take on the challenge of making a great range of Low/Non-alcoholic beers to overthrow that perception. Being dedicated followers and fans of craft beer, their main focus is on quality and character of what they brew.
Putting quality at the forefront, we have devised an epic line-up of handcrafted brews for you, styles, aromas and taste as the Craft Beer favourites that you all love.
With the advances in brewing knowledge and whilst still following brewing traditions Nirvana will brew a flavoursome alternative without compromising on taste, so whether your taste buds are feeling a Pale Ale, Lager, Stout or IPA, Nirvana has the perfect brew, with no compromise on your craft beer experience!
So be it you're a craft beer fan looking for a lighter alternative, cutting back for health reasons, fancy a lifestyle choice or perhaps you're the "designated driver", say goodbye tasteless low/non-alcoholic beer, hello Nirvana Beer... We're going to take your taste buds for a ride!!!
In her column focused on local small businesses, Waltham Forest Business Network's Jo Sealy interviews a creative financial adviser.
Two years ago Antony Smith was confronted with a dilemma. His employer was shutting up shop and he felt he had to make a decision – look for new job or do what he really wanted to do?
"At that point, I had to quickly decide on my next move, and decided to take the plunge and follow my heart," explained Antony. "So I set up my own company as an independent financial adviser, rather than join another. It was an exciting time. The business was up and running from August 2015 after receiving speedy compliances from the Financial Conduct Authority – and we were on our way."
Antony's new firm, Providus Financial Ltd, aims to help people make better financial decisions for the longer term. His team of financial professionals take a more creative view on finances, looking at the wider picture in terms of services such as mortgages, life insurance, pensions, investments, savings plans, wills, trusts, and power of attorneys.
"In terms of setting up and running the business I had great support from my family, my accountant, and from personal contacts made through networking. Former colleagues, trusted clients and suppliers also encouraged me."
Antony is extremely proud that in its first year of trading Providus made a profit, which enabled him to move his team into their new office in Highams Park.
"Starting the company has been one of the best moves I've ever made. Despite the pressures of being the decision maker and juggling the needs of family, clients and employees, it's given me the freedom and exibility to manage my time and to be in full control of my personal future."
"In 12 months' time I'd like the business to be self-managing, so that I can focus on more strategic decision making. If I was to give any advice to other new entrepreneurs I'd say go for it!"
"Focus on what you are best at and where you get your best results. Employ other people who are better than you and delegate."
To find out more about Providus Financial Ltd:
Do you know a great small business in Waltham Forest with a story to tell?
Waltham Forest Women in Business