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Discusses Holly & Co & founding NotOnTheHighStreet

Issue 54 | Nov/Dec 2019 www.bwsltd.co.uk

ASK THE EXPERT Anne Ferguson: What’s your 2020 hair vision


Chats about Travelnest


INTERIORS EXPERT Carol Yates gives us her expert interiors advice


from Your Interior Business


BWS CONTACTS Editor Lynne Kennedy MBE lynne@bwsltd.co.uk Awards Coordinator Laura-Jane Clements lj@bwsltd.co.uk

to the Nov/Dec edition 2019 of Business Women Scotland

Social Media & BWS membership Tracy@bwsltd.co.uk Editorial edit@bwsltd.co.uk Press and publicity Angela@bwsltd.co.uk Events events@bwsltd.co.uk Accounts and Finance accounts@bwsltd.co.uk BWS Programme for Growth & BWS awards lj@bwsltd.co.uk


0141 332 8801

info@bwsltd.co.uk www.bwsltd.co.uk @BWS_SCO businesswomenscotland bws_scotland

business women scotland

Business Women Scotland

Published by Business Women ScotlandLtd Tel: 0141 332 8801 | www.bwsltd.co.uk Independently owned and published by Business Women Scotland Limited. No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means whatsoever, without the express written permission of the publisher. The design of advertising copy produced without additional charge by our company remains the copyright property of Business Women Scotland Limited and may not be reproduced in any other publication without our express written permission. Š All rights reserved by Business Women Scotland Limited.

This is the last issue for 2019 and it’s been a very rewarding year! Connecting & supporting women in business is at the very heart of what Business Women Scotland is all about. We set out at the beginning of the year to find new and innovative ways in which to facilitate this and continue to build successful networks and communities both on and offline. It has been a phenomenal year full of fantastic initiatives including the new format BWS Roadshows, BWS Programme for Growth (in partnership with Royal Bank of Scotland). We will continue these into 2020 alongside our bi-monthly magazine and our hugely successful BWS Business Awards - which shine a spotlight on women who have made an impact through innovation, best practice & delivering outstanding results. It is our mission to help women have the confidence to step out of the shadows, strengthen and grow their business and make key business connections, it will be great to see you at our BWS key events throughout 2020. I hope you enjoy the latest on line edition of BWS as always really interesting women making a difference in business. Looking forwarding to seeing you at our events and as always thanks again for all your support!

Lynne Kennedy MBE Editor lynne@bwsltd.co.uk



Business Women Scotland Magazine is written, designed, produced and distributed to our subscribers in Scotland using Scottish resources and suppliers. www.bwsltd.co.uk



Contents Nov/Dec 2019























The changing face of Accountancy The world is changing – and faster than ever. This is mainly due to rapid advances in technology and artificial intelligence (AI). These advances will affect all businesses and therefore we all need to be creative, proactive and flexible to cope with the opportunities and challenges that arise… and that includes your accountant too! So in this dynamic, technologically advanced world, what do Scottish businesses actually want from their accountants and how does this compare with the services that the vast majority of accountancy firms offer?

activity and using data with a view to sustain or improve, then how confident can you be that there will be a tomorrow? It’s not just about ensuring your tax returns are MTD (Making Tax Digital) compliant or that you choose the right cloud accounting software, it’s about using all the information at your (our) fingertips and combining it with the knowledge and advice of a true business adviser who will help support not just survival but real business growth.

Without doubt there has been a change in the supply and demand for differing “accountancy” services, from core services of historic accounts and tax returns to the role of a true business adviser. This role is much more personal and a ‘true’ adviser needs to adopt a holistic approach to seek to understand a client’s needs and to help them navigate a path whereby the client can achieve their goals - both business and personal.

It might sound an obvious statement, but to get from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow, you need to be clear about where you are going, and without that support and advice from your trusted adviser your journey may be a difficult one. Inevitably these things take time, but choosing the right accountant to accompany you throughout your business lifecycle and embracing strategic planning will help you to optimise the outcome – whatever that desired outcome may be.

Accountancy firms like Armstrong Watson, that have really embraced this shift in needs, are finding that we can add real value to our clients and we are appreciated as a necessity to the success of the business. This is a totally different mind-set to the accountant of old, and a refreshing approach to the new client/accountant relationship which really cements the role of the “accountant” as an adviser who is a vital part of the team. The dynamic of our client relationships has really changed – our accountants are now in a very fortunate key position where we know everything we need to about our clients’ businesses in terms of the sensitive financial information available and we’re able to understand clients’ businesses and then stand back and help provide a different perspective to discussions around important decisions.

In this respect, advances in technology and artificial intelligence (AI) will never be able to replace human intelligence and the power of strong relationships. Armstrong Watson Accountants, Business and Financial Advisers are a top 30 UK accountancy firm who have been supporting, advising and protecting businesses for over 150 years. If you’d like to learn more about how we can offer your business strategic accountancy support and are looking to embrace a new kind of financial adviser, please get in touch with Jatinder Sumal on 0141 233 0700 or email jatinder.sumal@armstrongwatson.co.uk

Embracing and analysing all the data available to your business is crucial. If your organisation isn’t measuring

Visit www.armstrongwatson.co.uk to find out more.


Supporting, advising & protecting businesses & individuals for the long term 1st Floor 24 Blythswood Square Glasgow G2 4BG Tel: 0141 233 0700

51 Rae Street Dumfries Dumfries & Galloway DG1 1JD

Tel: 01387 955900

Accounting | Audit | Financial Planning & Wealth Management | Payroll Corporate Finance | Forensic Accountancy | Dispute & Debt Resolution Strategic Business Planning | Restructuring, Recovery & Insolvency



NOT ON THE HIGH ST Business Women Scotland caught up with Holly Tucker the serial entrepreneur best known for founding Notonthehighstreet.com – an online marketplace for artisanal and niche products – starting the brand from her kitchen table in 2006 and growing it to a multimillion-pound firm. or enjoy the journey! I knew that I had a calling beyond NOTHS and so with the support of my family I decided to build Holly & Co. I saw that there was a need to support and champion creative small businesses, in a more holistic way, to empower them. I wanted to build a company that would enable anyone who dreamt of leaving their 9-5 to start their passion. Those who enjoyed their hobby or passion, but hadn’t taken the leap into making it a business. Or to cheerlead and support those already running ventures because it is not always easy!

What’s your role and can you tell us a bit more about your business? I’m the founder of Holly & Co, my first business was Notonthehighstreet.com. Holly & Co is the first of its kind, our mission is to empower and cheerlead everyone, to help them build a business doing what they love. Holly & Co is an immersive brand that touches all the senses - you can see us online or you can physically visit us and experience the very best in small business at the Holly & Co shop. We also have a Podcast, ‘Conversations of Inspiration’ in which I speak with founders and top entrepreneurs each week to discover the highs and lows encountered whilst building their business, and share some advice and inspiration along the way. Most recently I have launched Holly’s Entrepreneur School which is an exciting new arm to Holly & Co. with a focus on helping children unlock their potential. Holly & Co hosts live events across the country including our Conversations of Inspiration Live, with the last one for 2019 in Edinburgh on November 21st with the brilliant Charlie Gladstone, founder of both Pedlars and The Good Life Experience. As well as an annual event called ‘The Congregation of Inspiration’.

...It’s why our tagline is ‘Dream, Dabble, Do’!... How Do You Plan On Growing Your Business? Holly & Co is only a few years old, and so the future feels very exciting for us. I plan to definitely grow the impact and amplification of the business, but that doesn’t necessarily mean growing headcount. I believe the smartest businesses are those that remain nimble, small and readily able to adapt. At Holly & Co we live by the Maragret Mead saying ‘never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed citizens can change the world, indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has’. Holly & Co will continue to go from strength to strength - I have no doubt of that. Its heart is one of seeking to do good, coupled with a fantastic team who believe in the mission as strongly as I and a strong and beautiful brand; there’s no limit to what we can achieve.

Are You Happy in this role? And What Would You Change? I am so happy, I wouldn’t change a single thing (well maybe I would try and fit a few more hours in the day!). I spent over 10 years building Notonthehighstreet, it was hard work and I ended up in a glass box, corner office, where I didn’t touch product, meet with partners or customers. I had become so far removed from all the reasons I had started the company in the beginning. It’s why when building Holly & Co, I have created it in a way that I knew would make me happy. It’s close to my home so I can walk to work - I noticed the seasons for the first time ever when I started Holly & Co! I have created a close, small work family, we are aligned on every mission, I have a shop and so everyday I can meet customers, feel products, - the list is endless.

How Did You Build Your Team? We have a very small team, and one where each and every person is utterly aligned and believes in our mission. It’s why a purpose led brand is so powerful, not only does it allow you to tell a story beyond your products, but it means as a team you are all working towards a greater purpose than your day to day role. I founded the company with my sister Carrie (who was the third employee at NOTHS) and our honorary sister Gabi. We have grown a little in headcount over the past few years but we very much remain as an extended work family. Continued page 8

How Did You Know When You Had The Right Idea? I had taken a step back from NOTHS and brought on a CEO for the day to day running of the company. I was exhausted, mentally and physically - we had been building for 11 years and never once stopped to breathe





Being a business owner do you manage to balance work and life responsibilities? Ah - the work/life balance - it’s one of the questions that I am asked the most. If I am honest, I think its a term that sets us up for failure, a notion that we should have a ‘balance’ and that having it ‘balanced’ is the ultimate tick of success. I don’t think it exists! I’m a big believer in living your life as one whole. The term Work-Life to me, suggests that one is negative and one good, that they cannot coexist and you have to balance them out. I believe that if you do something you truly love, you no longer strive for Work/Life balance and the two become so entwined in each other that you no longer have to strive for the elusive ‘balance’. Do women in your profession have a hard time getting promoted? Royal Bank of Scotland recently released a report ‘The Rose Review’ on this very issue - that only one in three entrepreneurs are women, a gender gap equivalent to over 1 million fewer female entrepreneurs in the UK. Closing the gap between women and men could add an additional £250 billion in Gross Value Add to the UK economy, which is equivalent to 4 years of economic growth. That stat alone is quite startling, but then dig deeper into the reasons why - and one of the overriding responses was that women feel like they need to be an expert before starting something, and men don’t - quite simply, it’s the imposter syndrome. As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career? Of course, at times it hasn’t been easy and there have been barriers - raising money in 2005 as two blonde women was extraordinarily hard and demoralising at times. But actually, I think being a female leader has been my superpower and should be seen in such a light - we’re naturally highly empathetic, able to take on other views, foster brilliant team relationships and are adaptable - all traits which lend themselves to leadership. Who inspired you and why? In terms of another person in business I would have to say Anya Hindmarch - she’s kept creativity at the heart of everything she does, despite growing into a global brand - it’s something that is incredibly hard to do. On a personal level, I would have to say my father - Robert. He has supported me every step of the way and has been intrinsic to both NOTHS (he was the CFO from 2006-2013) and now Holly & Co. There has never been a time when I am not discussing some aspect of finance, business or the future with him. What advice would you give the next generation of female leaders? Ignore the imposter syndrome and trust your gut instinct. People will be very quick to offer advice (whether you ask for it or not), listening carefully to your own instincts is crucial to survive in business. When you began your career, did you ever imagine that you would be in the profession you are in today? I have always had a mind that looked for solutions, and I have always been keen to work hard (even from a young age - I created our schools first tuck shop!) - so perhaps I have always been destined to be a founder!



Holly’s 5 Top Tips 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Work out what your passion really is. Going out on your own is scary and will most definitely require long hours, sacrifices and steely determination...so make sure you are doing something you love and are ready for the rollercoaster. Creativity must be at the heart of what you do - regardless of your field of work, your ideas are what make you stand out from the crowd. The core of your idea needs to be uniquely creative, this will make it far harder to replicate. Know your limitations - your time is precious and so is your sanity. Recognise your weaknesses and outsource or team up. Do not let what you perceive to be your lack of knowledge in certain areas stop you making the leap. Test out the viability of your business by fitting it around your existing work if you can. You can test the waters within the security of a paycheck. BUT you will never know the potential of your business until you commit yourself fully to it - so be bold. You will have ups and downs, some people will think you are crazy to leave the comfort of a 9-5, others will be your biggest cheerleaders - keep the cheerleaders close, you will need them on this journey.



High Hops! Inspiring female craft brewing company putting sustainability at the heart of its production Led by an inspiring female team, WooHa Brewing Company based in Kinloss, Scotland is thriving in an industry typically dominated by men. WooHa Brewing Company an award-winning craft brewery that opened its doors in 2015, produces 100% natural ales and lagers and is leading the way for women in brewing and distilling in Scotland. The business was created by Heather McDonald with the aim of creating greattasting and sustainable brews using expertly blended malts, balanced flavours and clear Scottish spring water. The team has embraced innovation and expert advice to help them reduce energy consumption and overall costs for production which in turn has helped their business to thrive.

“When you’re brewing on such a large scale, the more you can get out of each batch the better to ensure you’re being as environmentally responsible as possible and ultimately, help save the business money. The more you can get out of the brew, the more energy you save, which is reflected in the business’ bottom line. It’s as simple as that.” WooHa has been a ScottishPower customer for over a year and has noted that the extra effort, support and tools shared by the small business team has helped them make more energy efficient decisions, which has made a huge difference to everyday production. She said: “The small business team at ScottishPower made us feel like they were completely invested in the success of WooHa and have helped us succeed as a craft brewery in a competitive market. They’ve been there every step of the way and have made us feel very valued as customers.”

After just two years of production, soaring demand for the product both in the UK and overseas has resulted in the business moving to larger premises to meet demand from new markets including China and the USA. It now employs 10 people full time and has futureproofed itself by sustainably managing its growth, energy and finances. Katy supports the business in the implementation of its everyday policies to make sure the brewery and its operations are as energy efficient as possible. She said: “As well as using LED energy-saving lightbulbs in the brewery and sensored outdoor lighting, WooHa made the conscious decision to ensure that the brewing process itself is just as energy efficient. We made the move from conventional methods of heating the grain to finding a quicker and more energy efficient method.

Katy shared her growth advice for other small business owners: “Take the time to incorporate energy efficiency into your review system as well as sustainability policies into your everyday routine. I’d also recommend that it’s key to use the tools provided, like the ScottishPower energy saving toolkit, and ask for help – that’s what your energy provider is there for and you might be surprised at the pointers they can give you.” For helpful hints, tips and advice about becoming a more sustainable small business visit: scottishpower. co.uk/small-business/




The BWSBusinessGrowth Programme, working in partnership with Royal Bank of Scotland and Scottish Government to increase the economic empowerment of women in business. This programme of courses, designed for new business at the growth stage, will increase confidence, unlock potential and drive innovation. It is a series of four workshops, over 2 days, culminating in a ‘Meet the Panel’ session on the final day, day 3. A similar programme/network has been rolled out in Dundee and it is estimated that this network has contributed over £120k of in-kind support since May 2017. The impact of this type of programme speaks for itself and helps women gain confidence the opportunity to make new connections and gain valuable advice and pledges from the panel members

“Royal Bank Of Scotland is delighted to be supporting the BWS Business Growth programme. When you have an entrepreneur who is female and may have faced challenges before, they sometimes need more bespoke support. The BWS Business Growth Programme offers advice to growing businesses and offers advice and access to business men and women who understands their specific needs for growth.” Yvonne Greeves Head of Women in Business at NatWest & Royal Bank of Scotland & Ulster Bank, Awards Judge, Speaker, Chair and Trustee

“I just wanted to say a massive Thank You for allowing me to participate in the event this week. It was hugely beneficial. I wanted to let you know I really got quite a lot out of it, in particular the session with Fiona on the1st day. That woman is a total inspiration …I was in awe.” Michelle P Smith MICB CB.Cert, FCMI ValueAdd Business Solutions Ltd

“I wanted to convey a genuine huge thanks for the last 3 days. I’ve found it enlightening to realise I can actually (really) be away from my business and no one died or nothing got burnt down and in fact the opposite happened and my team demonstrated what they are capable of and so much more. I’ve yet to sit down and properly digest the feedback and notes from the pitch. It’s been a great week! We loved attending the awards and being part of such a positive and inspiring event. As for the 3 days I’ve loved it..I thought Fiona was incredible on the 1st day, so much energy and experience and refreshing with her candid and honest approach to everything! On day 2 Yvonne struck a few chords and helped me validate things we’re doing well so we can continue these and equally be mindful of addressing confronting the effects non engaged staff can have on the business. The pitch to the panel on day 3 I enjoyed and listening to their feedback and enthusiasm.” Hayley from WeeCook “I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole programme and I feel it has given me the necessary insight, self awareness and motivation to progress Dovecot’s business plan to the next stage – and a great new network of inspiring women too.Your programme has provided something that doesn’t exist for cultural not-for-profit enterprise, setting it side-by-sidewith other entrepreneurial business. Yet cultural enterprise is definitely an area that can provide innovation, growth and create jobs in Scotland in future. It was a privilege to be part of your first cohort so thank you again for offering me this opportunity.” Celia Joicey - Director of Dovecot Studios

Supported by



Ask the expert Taylor Ferguson Hairdressing | Tel: 0141 332 0397 | 106 Bath St, Glasgow G2 2EN



Anne Ferguson is a director of celebrity stylist Taylor Ferguson Hairdressing. Here, Anne spotlights five ways to prepare for the kick-off to a happy new hair image. of spring/summer. When I say creamy it’s a mix of ash blonde and golden. Glossy is the buzzword. We’ll see more “bronde”, blending blonde and brown using warm lo-lights to deliver a great look. Multi-tonal will be the must-have. Chocolate brown with amber flowing into golden tones is a great mix.

ALL IN THE CUT Haircare and achieving the optimum results from it rests solely on cutting. A good cut means good hair days every day and that’s what we all want. We can never emphasise highly enough the importance of a good cut to clients. Thankfully many appreciate the benefits – and have come back regularly over more than 40 years I’ve been in the business. The cutting process is so vital and we always believe that once complete, a new style should result in the owner being more confident, having more self-respect – and even looking younger. In terms of longevity of the cut – again that can vary from individual to individual. And when it comes to how the cut looks the stylist needs to take into account head, neck and face shapes. The key to a good cut is how well the client can manage it when they’re not in the salon. Always ask your stylist to give you advice on how best to care for it – and ask for some tips on blow-drying it so you can achieve the “salon look” for as long as possible. Consider good aftercare products too. We’re loving the Schwarzkopf Big Blast which gives volumising lift from the roots. Is great for heat protection when blowdrying and can be ‘reactivated’ by damping your hair the following day after initial use.

ADD IN VOLUME OR LENGTH OR BOTH Hair extensions can be used to boost your volume and thickness – not just length. They can be a great solution too for thinning hair. We regularly look after clients who seek that lovely lush, thick look and opt for a half head of extensions to achieve that aim. For a half head of premium quality extensions you’re looking at an investment of around £450. You’ll love the difference and in terms of care it’s business as usual – as you look after them in the same way as you look after your own natural hair. We opt for Great Lengths real hair extensions and the fusion bonding system. Their new GL Tapes are applied quicker than normal single strand extensions – and you literally can have a new look in your lunch break! And remember there’s no age limit on hair extensions - we see clients in their teens right through to 70s!

THE RIGHT TONE Getting your colour right can give you an instant confidence boost and make you look years younger. I marvel sometimes at the difference in a client’s step when they’ve arrived with a colour nightmare – we call it a colour rescue project – and once completed they leave with a boost to their self-esteem. The art of getting colour right is almost science-like and if done properly the results will be sensational. Don’t forget to take your skin tone into account – and a good colour technician will bear that in mind when determining your new colour image. Traditionally these cooler months sees warmer colours emerging. Creamy blondes replace the icier blondes



CONDITION IS KEY Is your hair limp looking or lacking that lustrous appearance you crave? There are solutions out there. With companies investing heavily in research and development, intensive conditioning treatments can deliver long-lasting amazing results. In-salon protein conditioning treatments can be tailored to meet your specific needs – effectively prescribing you a better looking and feeling head of hair. Their benefits can be instant – no longer is there a requirement to be left on your tresses for 10 minutes or longer. If frizz is a real issue – and please bear in mind you’re not alone - then consider the new Braliz hair smoothing treatment. It’s effects, say, our clients are literally lifechanging. Can last between 3-5 months. Consider good aftercare products too. Listen to your stylist’s advice on the best shampoo and conditioner to suit your hair type. They should be able to assess your hair type and recommend what should work. What’s certain when it comes to hair products is that one size doesn’t fit all.

CUT THE RUT Could you be in a hair rut as we soar into 2020? Still wearing your hair in the same style you’ve had for more than five years or more? Then it is without question time for a change. As we age our hair tone, skin tone and face

Before and after - with volumising extensions and new colour giving a fresh new image.

Snip, snip…that good cut is a vital part of ensuring happy hair days.

shape change. It’s inevitable. Your hair needs to adapt and move with the times too. If you see a photo of your favourite music or movie star sporting a look you’d like to emulate then bring it to the salon – show it on your phone. Whether it’s that copycat image, the addition of the ever-popular fringe or the current on trend ‘undone’ catwalk look, the desired style needs to be adapted to suit you. There’s never been a one style fits all – only because we’re all individuals. It’s a great hairdresser’s job to adapt and fit that desired style to suit. Happy New Hair Year when it comes!


Award Winners 2019 The 5th annual #BWSBusinessAwards, had taken place in Glasgow on the 8th of November celebrating businesses from all across Scotland, which are owned and operated by inspirational Scottish women. At BWS, we are committed to ensuring the growing a community of Scottish businesswomen not only as a voice which is heard but has a voice which affects change where it is required. In the past twelve months issues which impact upon women in the workplace have notably been brought to the fore and as a result there are encouraging signs that the legion of hard working Scottish businesswomen will benefit from increased regard, respect and reward now and in the future. Year on year, the female business community plays an increasingly important role in supporting the country’s economy, and with these awards, we aim to both highlight and celebrate the value of the talented women who are successfully blazing the trail in practically every sector of the Scottish economy. Research consistently shows that visible role models are a key driver in encouraging women to start and grow their own businesses. “We were incredibley impressed at the exceptionally high standard of entries to this year’s Business Awards. It is inspiring and exciting to see so many women leading the way in industry across the country and we are proud to share their stories at the awards ceremony in Glasgow at the beginning of November,” said Lynne Kennedy, founder of Business Women Scotland. Thanks to everyone who has supported this year’s awards: The Scottish Government, Royal Bank of Scotland, Kilgraston School, Murphy Wealth, Global, The Daily Business and Smartworks Edinburgh. and to Michelle’ team for creating our bespoke awards designed and made by Scotlands Bravest Manufacturing company Thanks to our judges Yvonne Greeves, head of women in business for NatWest, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank; Amanda Jones, employment partner at global law firm Dentons; business growth strategist June Walker, a specialist advisor to the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Future Female Business Leaders programme; leadership coach Laura Gordon, chair of Vistage; Michelle Ferguson, director of Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company; and Susie Fraser, managing director at Adeo Group. The #BWSBusinessAwards ceremony for 2020 will be announced next month. In association with






















SUZIE MCAFFERTY Platinum Wave Franchising

SUSAN HARKINS Business Gateway Edinburgh





Ask the expert www.carolyatesdesign.co.uk

Interiors expert, Carol Yates of Glasgow-based Carol Yates Design reveals some storage secrets that can transform your home or workspace. THINK AHEAD


Whenever you’re contemplating new storage solutions always think ahead. Take time to sit down and analyse why you’re doing it and what you need to store. It’s a true saying – fail to plan and you’ll plan to fail. Consider carefully the specific purpose you have in mind. Think about the practical implications as well as the style options. For a TV storage solution, for example, think carefully about the height – it might be a mid-size TV screen today but next year you may opt for supersize. Consider easy access portals for electrical sockets and factor in ventilation. Think about lighting options too. Some storage solutions can be significant sizes so they should be illuminated in some way. In an ideal world your new storage should look like a stylish piece of furniture that complements the rest of your room.

Storage and shelving for your books and/or music collection can look super stylish. As our image of the library project shows this client opted for a strong blue colour to inject that wow factor to the room. To ensure the client achieved their aspirations we commissioned bespoke designed cabinetry.

TRUNK CALL We love multi-function furniture – trunks and baskets used as coffee table, for example, can double up as additional storage – which is hidden - for any books and magazines. Helps to keep your living space tidy. It’s amazing how much extra space can be utilised in a good size trunk. The added bonus is that they’re movable so re-styling a layout can be easier. Consider antiqued or distressed finishes on the pieces – they look strong and certainly can add character to any room.



COCKTAIL HOUR? We’ve seen a rise in the demand for drinks cabinets. Their comeback allows us to be a tad indulgent with options to place in a lounge, dining room or the kitchen. Consider lighting options when planning and allow space for the variety of bottle shapes and sizes. Perfect to store your newest gin collection – and impress friends with your cocktail making skills.

DRESSING TIME Unless you’re fortunate enough to have a dedicated dressing room then we all need to consider wardrobe storage items. This can still be stylish – and of course practical with a space for everything, from your thickest winter coat to a belt. If you’re going to have fitted wardrobes, consider taking them right to the ceiling. It’s amazing the extra height can add to the storage space – especially for those items we don’t use every day. If a stand-alone wardrobe is the preferred options then invest in a timeless style, such as a French painted one with a mirror fitted on the inside of one of the doors.



Her Interior Business Meet Sheena Mason-White. She has had a successful career in learning and development in the in both in the UK and the USA. More recently she trained as an interior designer and this led to her launching a company called Your Interior Business with her husband John. When I was studying however, I ventured a question about the business side of the craft – I was met with blank stares and zero information. John and I began to realise that this was a huge issue within the design community: interior designers are taught all the art, and none of the business.

Having seen much success in her business and interior design career, Sheena decided to set up Your Interior Business as an eLearning business toolbox specifically created for interior designers to give back to her community and empower others to create viable, profitable businesses. I was born and raised in the Paisley area of Glasgow, and I’ve always been businesswoman from the word go. Straight out of university, my first job was running my own ladies golf holidays company, which was the very first of its kind.

Combining our interior design knowledge, and my history of business growth and leadership coaching, John and I decided that it was high time for us to give back to our community. We have spent the last year using our expertise to perfect Your Interior Business to suit the needs of new interior design entrepreneurs and seasoned designers alike.

Though I was passionate about golf, I eventually moved on to satisfy my drive to help people which led me to a coaching position at a London leadership development company as well as a San Francisco management consultancy firm where I trained the best and brightest in business leadership and teambuilding.

We want to help people to thrive and make real, prosperous careers which they can shape around their lives and not the other way around. We see so many talented interior designers dropping out of this field, unable to sustain themselves financially simply because they don’t have the business knowledge. I built Your Interior Business to address this problem and empower interior designers to be able to monetise their skills and ultimately, change their lives for the better.

With support and encouragement from my husband John, who had built his career as successful interior designer of the inside of planes, I decided to go back to college in 2016 to become qualified in interior design – a subject I had always been passionate about and where I truly saw my professional career heading.



My top tips for modern Scottish businesswomen 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

We all have a unique path – so take the time to do some self-study to work out what works best for you. It’s never one size fits all in your business journey. Surround yourself with people who support but also who challenge. We all need people in our lives who aren’t afraid to call us out when necessary. Know your niche. Don’t be tempted to spread your brand broad and thin. Choose a specific niche (the smaller the better) and learn absolutely everything about it. Stay curious. Complacency is the death of growth. Confidence is key so find out what makes you feel confident and invest in it.



TRAVEL NESTING! Contrary to conventional wisdom, significant life events such as starting a family can sometimes accelerate rather than stall a career. Forfeiting the accomplishment of a personal dream for a career one is no longer a choice that must be made as Rebecca Moore, VP Operations at TravelNest has found. When asked as a child what I wanted to do when I grew up, nobody ever said “you might want to have a family, but you may also have a successful career, and you might find it really difficult to navigate both of those ambitions”. Over the past few years I’ve learned that having a baby and progressing your career are not mutually exclusive. Yes, you do need to take time to recover both physically and emotionally when you have a baby - that is a given but it doesn’t have to be the set-back you might perceive it to be from a career perspective. My first challenge came during my maternity leave four years ago. A role came up which I was passionate about wanting to go for. I was invited to interview for the role when my daughter Adalyn was four months old. I was very open about the challenges associated with a full day of interviewing and giving a presentation which I prepared in time grabbed while my daughter napped. Picture this scene: • • •

My daughter Adalyn wouldn’t be separated from me for long periods of time or take a bottle, so I could only do a maximum of 2 hours interviewing at any time. My interviews were split over 2 days into manageable sections with my mum bringing Adalyn into a quiet room for me to feed her between interviews. As I was preparing for the interviews, Adalyn’s sleep really regressed, and she was only sleeping for an hour at time. I did my first round of interviews (6 interviews with each of the executive team and CEO) on about 3 hours sleep.

Somehow, I got through, but it was extremely tough. Honestly, a big part of me just didn’t want to bother. But I am so glad I did. It was an incredible development step for me, and forced me to take a very different approach to how I would normally work. I realised I was in a unique position that could be a disadvantage but one that I could also turn into a significant advantage. I was distant from the business. I wasn’t sucked into the minutiae of the day to day. And although I had very little time to sit at a computer, I did have a lot of time to think, and refine my strategic narrative. I used being on maternity leave as my beautiful constraint. I witnessed life and work, finally and significantly, start to work in each other’s favour. It made me sharper, more focussed, less self-indulgent.


Taking the next leap as a working mother Motherhood presented its second major career challenge earlier this year when I saw an opportunity to join the leadership team of an exciting start-up which was looking to disrupt the holiday letting sector. However, there was a problem: I want to continue building my family sometime within the next two years. If I left my current employer, that offered an amazing maternity package and where I had built up credibility and years of service, I worried I could potentially be really set back both financially and career-wise. I was battling thoughts about whether a new employer – and a start-up at that – would really value what I could offer if they knew I planned to be absent from the business for a considerable amount of time. I know from the experiences some of my friends have had working for organisations which outwardly shout about their commitment to working mothers, that sadly the reality can be quite different.


Before I took the role here at TravelNest, I decided to make it clear to both the founder and board members that I expected to be on maternity leave within the next two years. I felt this would enable me to gauge their reactions and ensure there would be no resentment should I become pregnant. Despite my worries, it turned out to be a complete non-event that didn’t require any consideration on their part! For me, this was the best possible indicator that TravelNest was a company which truly supports working mums - which is also a very important test for me, as to whether they were the kind of company I wanted to work for.

What I want to really impress upon anyone reading this, is that being a parent can actually make you have more impact. You have to prioritise. You have to be really clear and focussed on what you want to achieve. And you have to be x10 more efficient than you were before. Rebecca Moore joined Edinburgh start-up TravelNest as VP operations in May this year. She was formerly senior director of growth in EMEA and the Americas for Skyscanner.

5 top tips

So, have I just been fortunate with my choice of employers? Potentially. However, a strong indicator I’d recommend looking out for is how flexible an organisation’s working policies are – the more flexibility that’s built in, the more likely an employer will understand and actively support working mums within their careers. I’d also advise speaking to several working mothers at any organisation you are considering joining.

1. Every human being is different. Organisations that can adapt to the individual at scale will have a huge advantage in harnessing the power of their teams. 2. People follow humans. Your humanity engages people to push themselves to achieve things they never thought possible. Having a child can really bring out that humanity so don’t be afraid to show the real you to your teams.

Battling the inner demons Returning to work in a new role and taking the leap to a brand new company hasn’t been plain sailing. I have found it both daunting and nerve-wracking. For me, working and being a mum is all about balance and ruthless prioritisation. I never have enough time, but this makes me so much more efficient. Ambition needs to be balanced with time available (again) and my responsibilities as a parent. It is possible to have ambition at the same time as being a parent, it doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive.Confidence is also a constant battle. I do have the odd moment where I think — gosh, am I really up to this, can I actually do it? They are fleeting moments and I have my safe havens that I can go to for support, both in and outside of work.

3. Being liked and being respected are not the same thing. I’ve been amazed at how much motherhood bolsters your resilience. As a leader you will frequently need to make tough decisions. When you are working to give a future to someone else rather than for your own personal gain, it can give you added strength in life’s tough moments. 4. Let go of your inner perfectionist. Recognise that motherhood and working life are a constant trade-off; the pursuit of perfection will only mean you feel you are failing at both, all the time. 5. Reframe the work life balance equation as a work life ecosystem. This is far more complex than a maths equation that remains in perfect balance. You can upset this ecosystem by throwing a baby into the mix, and it can respond in a really wonderful way, and in ways you never imagined, when you have the right support, network and resources in that ecosystem.



FIND OUT WHY THIS ALL-FEMALE BUSINESS FAVOURS THE GROUP CHAT OVER BOARDROOMS From giving up a steady job to start her jewellery business whilst going through a break-up to collaborating with Fearne Cotton - Carrie Dennahy has shown the world that standing on your own two feet as a woman in business is 100% possible. And now, she’s paving the way for her all-female team. Whilst working as a buyer for a large jewellery retailer for over 10 years, Carrie Dennahy had continually witnessed an abundance of lost talent due to inflexible, unrealistic working hours and unfeasible demands placed on employees – especially working mothers. The idea of a company constantly losing women with a wealth of experience down to the rigidness of a Monday to Friday 9 to 5 (or 7am to 9pm in the buying world) baffled her. This antiquated way of working should have been a thing of the past. So, Carrie did what many of us can only dream of doing. She handed in her notice, left the career she’d spent years building in her 20’s and started her own jewellery brand - Carrie Elizabeth.

Women Against Toxic Work Culture Founded on friendship and family - Carrie’s sister is her website developer – Carrie’s business continues to thrive. Regarding their flexible business model and being against the toxic “overtime” culture that surrounds so many career paths, Carrie says; “Flexible working is something that’s really important to us all here at Carrie Elizabeth. Everyone on my team has their own schedule and I completely respect and support this. Some are mothers and so need to do the school run, some like to exercise in the morning - or at least plan to! - and some are night owls, like me.”



With the World Health Organisation now recognising Burnout as an official syndrome, flexible working models like Carrie’s could be a solution to the ever growing issue. When not successfully managed, workplace stress can result in “extreme exhaustion, feelings of negativity and decreased productivity.” Burnout can also lead those affected to develop mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression. Mental health charity Mind conducted a study of almost 44,000 employees, finding that nearly half (48%) of respondents had struggled with mental health issues such as stress, low mood and anxiety whilst working at their current job. Woman working late Carrie ensures her team is well looked after, explaining that “The main thing is that we all get our work done to a high standard, and we get it done on time. I completely trust my team to manage their own time and I strive to make sure their roles work for them. In return, I get an awesome team who always go above and beyond for the brand.” “Finding the Perfect Balance” Ali Sands, Head of Operations for Carrie Elizabeth, explains that working flexible hours means she has been able to balance the career she loves with being a mum. “Whilst pregnant I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to continue my career - that was so important to me - and be good mum at the same time but working for Carrie has enabled me to find the perfect balance.” According to Working Mums, 25% of working mums in the UK work full-time with no flexibility and 15% of UK women on maternity leave have been refused a flexible working schedule. Carrie and her team “We put so much pressure on ourselves to try and be “perfect” in every aspect of our lives and that just isn’t realistic. It can lead to huge amounts of stress and worry - and of course the dreaded “mum guilt”! Our flexible working model here at Carrie Elizabeth means that I can dedicate time to both my job and my daughter and neither loses out.” It’s clear that a flexible working model allows women to pursue the career they love regardless of whether they have children, are planning a family or just simply want a healthier work-life balance.

The Carrie Elizabeth x Fearne Cotton ‘I’ve Got My Back’ necklace Face-to-face time is still important to Carrie, though. “There are some things that just don’t translate as well through Facetime, like when we get new product samples,” Carrie explains. “So, we always make sure to have one team catch-up every month where we can look at exciting new products, talk about future strategy and generally have a lovely time being together!”

Favouring the Group Chat Over the Boardroom There is no Carrie Elizabeth office - all of Carrie’s team work remotely from home. Carrie wanted to work this way not only due to its benefit to the environment (“no travel to work, no office to power and no plastic coffee cups!”) but it also its benefit to her team as a whole. Carrie says that “working from home gives us all the flexibility to work the hours that suit us, to fit in work alongside our busy lives and also to remove that awful part of work that everybody dreads - the daily commute.” They all communicate with each other via the Whatsapp group chat, a weekly conference call, Instagram DM – and sometimes all three at once. “This way, the team all know what’s happening and what the priorities are for us as a team and individually so that we can be there to support when needed,” says Carrie.

Supporting Women, Championing Women Being a small team, Carrie sometimes must outsource certain work that doesn’t fall into the team’s current expertise. “Wherever possible, I try to support other female entrepreneurs and have worked hard to build supportive and long-lasting working relationships with other femaleled businesses. A lot of our success is built upon our strong social media presence and it is through these platforms that I have also been able to meet some amazing women and build mutually supportive relationships.” It is through this mindset that Carrie has been able to receive some amazing advice and guidance from many incredible women, building a community as she goes.


celebrate, but also many obstacles to overcome and so has learnt that you “have to face both with the same positive attitude. Self-belief, a strong vision of where you want to be and above all, a passion for everything you do.”

“It is extremely important to me to be able to pass this knowledge onto other women starting out in business or looking to take the next step towards achieving their goals.”

Carrie & Fearne “There are lots of exciting projects on the horizon and it feels good to know that the direction of my brand is completely in my hands.” Carries ultimate advice for all business owners? “To anyone building a team, make sure that it’s founded on clear communication, trust and respect - it goes a long way, believe me!”

Break-Ups and Business Plans When she turned 30 just over four years ago, Carrie decided to leave her steady job and a life of security. Spotting a gap in the market for affordable demi fine jewellery, she took a leap of faith and started laying the foundations for her new business: Carrie Elizabeth Jewellery. At the same time, her long-term relationship broke down, taking her completely by surprise. She describes this as “A terrible blow that almost sent me off course. My world felt like it was crumbling down around me and it took a huge effort to pick myself up, dust myself off and set back on the quest to follow my dreams.” At first, she struggled hugely with the loneliness of setting up a business on her own and candidly admits that this still plagues her now. She had to quickly learn coping mechanisms to deal with the fact that she was not only setting out on her biggest achievement to date, but suddenly, she was doing so alone. The Carrie Elizabeth x Fearne Cotton ‘It’s OK To Feel Lost’ necklace Despite this, Carrie developed her business plan, used existing relationships with suppliers and tapped into her experience of working with manufacturers in India. She researched the best places to find the gemstones and diamonds she wanted to incorporate into her designs and sourced the jewellery makers who would be able to render her dreams into reality. It was then that the Carrie Elizabeth brand was born. Carrie has since taken her business from strength to strength, most recently working with Fearne Cotton on a bespoke collection for Not on The High Street. From January to September 2019, revenue is up by 92%, gold product sales have increased 116% in the last 6 months (YoY) and sales of her beautiful Moonstone jewellery have doubled in the last 6 months compared to last year. It’s safe to say Carrie is crushing it. Looking to the Future On the future of her business, Carrie says, “It already feels like we’ve come so far and had so many ups and downs - but hopefully there’s still a long way to go. Every day I learn something new about running my own business.” She acknowledges that there are lots of successes to



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Profile for Lynne Kennedy

BWS Magazine issue 54 - November/December 2019