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smell of success Lush co-founder Rowena Bird on passion, people and products with integrity


Advice from business leader



The secrets of work life balance Are you part of the freelance revolution?

Advice & Insight Get results from advertising Breaking the rules in a male-dominated industry

US PL Tech ion -

Fash - Travel h Healt more! and

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Fashion, tech & more ways to make your life easier


The rise & rise of the female freelancer


The power of great advertising


How Lush co-founder Rowena Bird went from disaster to triumph


Business advice from powerentrepreneur Daniel Priestley


Power dresser: Savile Row’s Phoebe Gormley


A quick tip for de-stressing


Yes! You can achieve work-life balance


Hotels that mean business


What does it take to succeed in business?


Stamping out harassment for good


Tara’s last word

in this issue

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Editor’s letter Welcome to VENUS, the magazine aimed at women in business! One of the things I’ve noticed about successful women is that once they know they’ve got a good idea, they’ll go all out to make it happen. When Phoebe Gormley was told that women would never go for her high-end bespoke tailoring, she stuck to her guns (page 34), and when Rowena Bird and her business partners lost everything in a flood, they redirected their business and launched an international success (page 21). Both now have growing, thriving businesses – all because they believed in their idea. Actually, I know how they feel. Eight years ago, I had a big idea, too – to create an awards programme to reward local businesswomen and deliver business and personal development as part of the package. I knew I was onto something special and worked like crazy to set up the very first Venus Awards in Dorset. Now Venus is a thriving organisation; the Awards are held in 10 different regions across the country and we’re still expanding every year. Can you believe it – this year’s Dorset Awards ceremony will be our 29th event and Hampshire will be our 30th! As my work with Venus went on, I became more and more passionate about supporting women in business and tackling the issues which affect us all – from the glass ceiling to the impossible conundrum of work-life balance. I also began to realise that although there are countless business magazines out there, and even more women’s magazines, there didn’t seem to be one for businesswomen. I was looking for a magazine aimed at me – reflecting the highs and lows my friends and I faced in our day-to-day working lives, offering support, inspiration, advice and a bloody good read into the bargain. And if I couldn’t find one, I’d have to start one. Yet again, I’d had one of those ideas I just couldn’t let go of – and now you’re reading the result! So whether you’re climbing the corporate ladder or running a start-up from your kitchen table, there’ll be something here for you. We’ve got no-nonsense advice from business leader Daniel Priestley (page 30), advertising know-how (page 28) and a fascinating look at the rise of the female freelancer (page 17). Not to mention information about extraordinary women like our amazing Venus Awards finalists that’s guaranteed to get you feeling fired up and ready to succeed. I hope you enjoy this issue of VENUS magazine and find something here to inspire you. If you want to give any feedback, or have any suggestions on what we should cover next, don’t hesitate to get in touch via the email address below – I can’t wait to hear from you. In the meantime – enjoy!

Tara Howard

Editor-At-Large Founder of the Venus Awards

CREDITS & CONTRIBUTORS Editorial (+44) 01202 559039 Editor-at-Large Tara Howard Editor Andreina Cordani Art Director Sebastian Hall Sub Editors Katherine Bebo Helen Bridal Contributors Dr Susan England Gavin Meikle Rachel Stafler Wolfgang McFarlane Zelda De Hollander Advertising (+44) 01202 559039 Published by Venus Awards Ltd Printed by Stephens & George Print Group Distributed by Venus Awards Ltd

Disclaimer: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, stored in or re-introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the Venus Awards Ltd.

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Growing numbers of women are working for themselves, and changing the way we all do business in the process


guarantee the long-ter m security women are still usually the ones who here’s a quiet revolution taking place in the which made it so appealing. stay home when the children are sick, or working world, a slow Add to that the number of young juggle childcare during school holidays). transformation that will women graduating or leaving school For journalist Victoria Lambert, eventually change the way without jobs to go to – working this way offered an the country’s economy works for good – or facing years of lowopportunity to shake things There are and women are the driving force behind it. paid internships to prove up a little. “It gave me a Between 2008 and 2016, the number their worth – and it’s easy great chance to diversify,” female freelancers she says. “I remember of female freelancers increased by 55 to see why millennials than there were reading that the best time per cent compared to a 36 per cent are driving the increase, growth in males. In the same time with a 66 per cent rise in to start a business is in a in 8 period, according to a study by IPSE, an freelancers aged 26-29. recession, so decided to organisation that helps freelancers and But while the financial crisis may have start a company which appealed to people the self-employed, the number of mothers been the push, there’s more to it than like me who have portfolio lives and are working this way increased by 79 per cent. that. As the economy recovers, people eager to try new skills.” In addition to Yup, a nearly eighty per cent jump. are still sticking with the freelance life her writing work, Victoria started Miss Of course, you don’t have to – another IPSE survey found Dashwood’s Register, an online service look hard to find out why this linking self-employed professionals looking Over 2/3 say that only two per cent were change is happening now – actively seeking employment. for media coverage with journalists. “I they are less 2008 is when the credit crunch For working mothers, it’s easy to like the way the daily needs of a startup stressed by began to bite, and redundancies see the appeal. When you have fill the gaps in my other work,” she says. their job forced thousands of women a family, it’s priceless to be able Luckily, the Great Freelance Revolution into the gig economy. Since then, to plan your work more flexibly around came at a time when technology was the job market has totally changed the commitments that young children connecting us all, making it easy for and the workplace can no longer bring (and, yes, for better or worse, certain professions to be done from home,

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“That’s a pretty big change to the working world – and women are leading the way”

our local coffee shop and even (if we’re always just about managed to pull it traders have a growing impact on business desperate) a sticky table in the corner off. Looking back, it’s the best thing I could – last year IPSE estimated Britain’s two of a soft-play centre. have done.” And freelancers million freelancers contributed £119 £119 billion: are less likely to be stressed billion to the economy, a rise of £10 Because that’s the flip the amount that freelancers side of freelancing – the – a recent survey by Citizens billion on the previous year. If the trend contribute to Advice flexibility which allows revealed that 67 per at this rate, the number of the economy cent of self-employed people continues freelancers to drop self-employed people could outstrip the everything for a school play means they also are only occasionally or never stressed number of public-sector workers before find themselves picking up their laptops by their workload and are more likely to the end of this decade. That’s a pretty at 11pm, conducting conference calls in report feeling satisfied with their work than big change to the working world – and V their car or – in the case of one especially employees. Although still a minority, sole women are leading the way. ■ dedicated woman we spoke to – meeting a deadline on the same day she gave birth. There are other catches, too – insecure income, lack of pensions and perks, hours spent chasing late payers and missing out on human interaction. Not to mention • Apps like Toggl and HoursTracker help professionals who the creeping self-doubt you feel as you charge by the hour to keep track of their work and bill accurately. negotiate a major deal while sitting at your kitchen table, surrounded by the • Todoist allows users to access their to-do list from multiple remains of that morning’s breakfast. devices, as well as providing space for teams working remotely But when it works, it really pays off. “I to collaborate. was encouraged to take the plunge by my then-boyfriend,” says writer Elly Earls. • Similarly, Slack creates an environment where teams can “Since then I’ve lived in Thailand, Bali, swap messages, share documents and chat without being in a brief stint back in the UK and the same office. now Ibiza. Meeting deadlines in Bali was an adventure – I never knew if the electricity • And if you’re missing those watercooler moments when you was going to go off, whether the Skype chat to colleagues, you’re bound to find a group of like-minded line would hold up and I had to attempt professionals on Facebook (if not, set one up yourself!). These to be professional on calls with CEOs groups can be vital for networking and keeping you sane. and celebrities with absolute carnage going on in the background! Somehow, I

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“ In BUSINESS it’s much harder to lie than be HONEST”

It’s 22 years since the fragrant Lush cosmetics set up shop at the “wrong end” of Poole High Street. Now they have stores in 50 countries worldwide. We caught up with cofounder Rowena Bird to talk start-up tips, peeling bananas and the realities of running an ethical business...


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he Lush empire was born out of a disaster. Rowena Bird and her five business partners had been running a moderately successful mail-order cosmetics company when, one Christmas, a radiator leaked and flooded the property, damaging stock and causing the computers to flash and spark. “The police rang us on Boxing Day to say our building was glowing,” she recalls. “We lost everything.” The partners decided to relaunch as Lush, retailing their own fresh handmade cosmetics, and grow the business organically. Rowena spent the next few weeks salvaging what was left from the flood, and selling what they didn’t need at boot sales in order to finance their new venture in Poole. Then a loyal customer got in touch. “A guy phoned up to ask if we were still going to do the shaving lotion he liked,” she explains. “We told him the situation and he said he knew someone who likes to invest.” This investor gave them enough money to open their first shop in London, a tiny outlet in Covent Garden. From there, the business started to grow, expanding to a shop on Chelsea’s Kings Road. “Getting that location was so important for us. You can have a great product but if nobody knows about it, it’s just a great product, not a successful one,” Rowena says. “Never take ‘B’ locations, however cheap and tempting the rent is. Every penny you spend on the right location will come back to you multiple times in sales.” Although these days, she sees another strong factor. “Social media is so alive at the moment – it will get you out there and talking to your customers even faster than a shop in the right location.” Still, in the 90s, it was Lush’s presence on the Kings Road that was key. Soon celebrities, Madonna among them, began to pop in. “The original plan was to stay within the M25,” Rowena says. “But



on the King’s Road, people would see us, come in and then say: ‘Take your brand to our country.’” And that’s how their international expansion started. Part of what makes Lush unique is its authenticity. From the start, Rowena and her partners Mark, Mo, Paul, Liz and Helen were committed to creating natural products they believed in. “Other businesses can’t be arsed to peel bananas, squeeze hundreds of oranges or find out if their essential oils are pure,” Rowena laughs. “We just did it because we loved

Body Shop story – after Anita Roddick’s it – it’s what gets us out of bed in the company was bought by cosmetics giant morning and makes us feel great.” L’Oréal, its ethical stance faded away. The same goes for their ethical policies. After that takeover, many The company will not buy Body Shop staff, who had from suppliers which test on “We just joined because they admired animals, and is committed to fair trade and to minimising did it because Roddick’s campaigning – e nv i ro n m e n t a l i m p a c t . we loved it” moved on to Lush. “We’ve just started an Employees Rowena adds: “We pay all Benefit Trust because we recognise the our taxes too. Transparency is a really fact that we might not be here forever,” important part of our business. It’s so Rowena explains. “Once it’s in place, the much harder to lie than it is to be honest.” employees will own a large chunk of the The Lush team has learned from The


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company, so if we make any big decisions – such as, we want to change our animal testing policy – the staff will have a say.” And this leads us to Rowena’s numberone business tip: “Bring in people who have the same passion as you. Yes, you can start up on your own, but there will be things you’re not so good at. I’m very creative but I can’t do finance, and if I was in business on my own, that would take a lot of my focus away. “It’s important to be able to step back and see your business from a distance, so you can see where something can be improved,” she goes on. “It’s also important to have someone to bounce ideas off, because your ideas should be challenged – you don’t have to agree, but do listen.” Being part of a group of six partners (now five, since the retirement of Liz Weir) has always been her preferred way of working. “We work very much as a team. We don’t have job titles but we do work to our own individual strengths. The overarching decision maker is Mark but he is absolutely pants at detail, so we all chip in and create a body for the original big vision.” After more than two decades working together, the system definitely seems to work. But perhaps Rowena’s best advice is not to go into business just to make a profit. “You stand so much more chance of making money if you also love what you do. If you come home most of the time thinking: ‘I loved what I did today’, or feel like you’re making a difference, it makes things so much easier. We’re all at work for so much of our lives, aren’t we? If your job is boring and you hate it, don’t V do it – move on and find your passion.” ■ Find out more about Lush at @RowenaBirdLush @rowenabird

The Lush lowdown Lush was founded in 1995 by Mark and Mo Constantine, Rowena Bird, Liz Weir, Helen Ambrosen and Paul Greaves. Rowena originally joined Mark and Liz’s company as a beauty therapist, then became more and more involved in the business. Lush now has branches in over 50 countries across the world. The company has a commitment to using as little packaging as possible – hence that instantly recognisable Lush fragrance wafting out from its high street stores.


So, you’ve got a great product or a service to be proud of? Get out there and shout about it, says marketing expert Gavin Meikle Advertising is a vital part of your marketing mix. The old saying ‘build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door’ is only partially correct. If nobody knows about your amazing design and where they can buy it, you’ll spend many unhappy hours in your ‘Mousetrap Warehouse’ waiting in vain for the phone to ring. I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t need to advertise because I have a website.” But I’d urge you to think again. Your website is an essential part of your marketing but it will only work if people can find or visit your site. And, yes, you can build up traffic over time but, unless you’re a digital marketing genius, it could take months for your site to start ranking for the search terms you want it to. Which leads us back to good old advertising – via Google, Bing, Facebook or Twitter – to drive users to your site. There are a few simple principles which, if followed rigorously and consistently, will ensure your advertising works more


times than it fails. It’s not rocket science and it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Just follow these few simple steps…

Step 1: Create Your Master Plan You’d be amazed at how many marketers and businesses overlook the need to create a cohesive marketing strategy, but it’s a very important aspect of a successful campaign. It allows you to organise and plan every step of the way ahead of time and profile your customers’ needs and wants so you can maximise your results. If you don’t have a clear, well-thought-through marketing strategy, you’re not ready to start.

Step 2: Decide Where You Are Going To Advertise

Once you know your business goals, your target customer personas and your key messages, it should help you choose the best places to advertise. There are many different advertising opportunities out there, each with a different price point aimed at a different audience. All you have to do is decide which ones to use. Please don’t rely purely on price! There is absolutely no point in advertising in a place where your target customers don’t go, just because it is cheap (or expensive!). See our chart for some suggestions – highlight the ones you think might work for you.

Step 3: Create Your Advert Anyone can write a bad advert – it takes skill to write a good one, which is why the creatives in Mad Men got paid so much. Well-written ad copy can generate thousands – if not millions – in revenue, so it’s worth hiring a copywriter.





If you really don’t have the budget for one, just remember to focus on what makes you different from the crowd. Make sure you don’t replicate your rivals’ ads, it won’t differentiate you. Instead, follow this four-step formula: • Interrupt – Write a compelling headline, grab the readers’ attention by reminding them of a problem that matters to them which your product or service can solve. The purpose of the headline isn’t to sell your product, it’s to get them to read on! • Engage – Create a strong subhead that hints at how you can solve their problem. • Educate – Explain briefly what the consumer can expect to get. • Offer – Include a call to action; tell them what you want them to do next. Many people go for the jugular by asking the prospect to call, email or buy now. Well-designed adverts ask for a smaller commitment such as clicking on a web link. This approach has been shown to have a much higher conversion rate.


Step 4: Measure The Results The method you use to measure the results will, of course, depend on the nature of your ad campaign. Adverts that drive visitors to an online ‘property’ can be easily measured, and ones which drive people to call, visit or email you require you or your staff to log those enquiries and their triggers, manually via a spreadsheet or using a CRM (customer relationship management) system. You might want to call in a specialist to help you keep track of things here. Advertising effectiveness metrics include: • Comparing sales before, during and after your advertising campaign (there may be a lag period depending on the nature of the product, service or market that you’re advertising). • Linking your advert to a specific landing page designed only for that ad, which isn’t accessible through your website menu. Then, using Google Search Console to measure the traffic to that page before, during and after the campaign.

• Counting customer footfall (if you are a retail business). • Asking customers how they heard about you and keeping track of the answers. Include a coupon code in the advert which people have to quote to get the offer. Use a different code for each advert so that you can compare the relative effectiveness of various media. • Assigning a dedicated telephone number to your ad that automatically redirects calls to your usual number.

Step 5: Optimise Your Campaigns Once you have hard, objective data, you can assess the relative value of the different forms of advertising, decide which ones to keep or drop, and use the data to fine-tune ads that work for you. This will boost their effectiveness and ensure that each campaign sparks interest V and excitement about your company. ■ Gavin Meikle is a hands-on digital marketer, coach and content creator, specialising in presentation skills, sales and influencing skills. @gavinmeikle


“You don’t have to start a business to be an entrepreneur” Daniel Priestley makes his living boosting the careers of other business owners and has learned a thing or two about success in the process...


or Daniel Priestley, being an entrepreneur is as natural as breathing. He started his first venture at 18 – running underage clubbing events for local teens – then at 19, he started his first boutique marketing company in his native Australia, which grew rapidly into a national business making millions in sales. Now, as founder of Dent Global, he is in the business of advising other entrepreneurs. Daniel and his team run a series of nine-month “accelerators”


to help business people succeed, by sourcing up to £5m funding with strategic introductions, giving access to resources and coaching through key milestones.

How did you go from running your own business to helping other people with theirs? I came to the UK because I wanted to travel and when I got to London I launched a

business bringing international speakers from Australia and Singapore to the UK market. From 2006 to 2008 we built it up to £4m in revenue, but then in 2009 it was hit by the global financial crisis and dropped 90 per cent of revenue as everyone’s budgets were cut. At that time, I was also running social media training and through that I started to see the importance of being a Key Person of Influence. I wrote a book about it and launched a nine-month Key Person of Influence accelerator. We accelerate business



The lowdown Daniel started his first business at 18, and his first million-selling company at 19. Dent Global has helped over 2,500 businesses, created 500 authors and helped to raise over £350,000 for charity. The company has offices in London, Australia, the USA and Singapore. He lives in London with his wife and two children, who are three and three months.


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people through their entrepreneurial journey and get teams focused on the world’s most meaningful problems. All our companies have to choose one of the United Nations’ 17 global goals to align themselves with and place their business to solve a bigger problem.

What is a Key Person of Influence? It’s being the face of the business and it’s also being really known for a particular niche. When people ask : “Who is the best graphic designer for start-up brands?”, they’ll think : “Ah, it’s so-andso.” It’s about being the go-to person. Any business will do better if there’s a face to it.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs starting out right now? When I think “start a business”, I think zero to a million pounds as fast as you can, or building a team. Become a Key Person of Influence yourself or recruit one into your team. It’s also important to remember that successful entrepreneurs don’t create a product unless they can sell it. Property developers create a brochure for a property, they go out and sell it – then they build it. Ferrari sells cars that have never been built, people buy them and then they build them. The idea is you sell first, then create.

By Andreina Cordani

How do you find team members with the same entrepreneurial spirit? In the early days, you’re looking for people who need fun and flexibility. As a small business, you’re not going to get some executive to quit their job at Google for you, so you need to give people something – it could be they need lots of training, or they are a parent or carer who needs flexible working, or it could be someone who wants more fun and fulfilment out of their job. Then you want to throw your people into three buckets : sales and marketing, management and admin, and technical delivery – you need one of each. I believe entrepreneurship is a team sport. In the same way that in football a goalie and a striker do two different things, you need a mix of key roles to succeed.


What about those starting out by themselves? For a solo entrepreneur, the advice I’d give is develop a portfolio of four different retainers. Take whatever you’d want to earn in a job – say, £40,000 – divide it by four and try to get four people to pay you a grand a month. Be really selective, try to get four really good fits. The thing that kills you when you are a self-employed person is constantly getting new business. You need a small portfolio of regulars who will actually commit to a retainer. I’m a big fan of going off and joining someone else’s team – you don’t have to start a business to be an entrepreneur. If it’s too soon, or if you lack the experience or the finance for what you want to do, you might have more fun going to work for somebody else. It’s perfectly possible to be an entrepreneur working for someone else!

Which women have been a business inspiration to you? One of the women who teaches our programme, Dale Murray CBE, brought a phenomenal company up to £450m in revenue and sold it. She’s a real inspiration. Also Lucy McCarraher of Rethink Press – she’s created an innovative publishing company which helps entrepreneurs to get their books out there. And Cathy Burke, of the Australian charity The Hunger Project. She is a phenomenal leader who has dedicated 20 years to ending hunger for hundreds of thousands of people. We did a lot of work positioning her as one of the most influential female leaders in Australia, and as a result she ended up raising many millions more for the charity. That was one of my most rewarding projects. In fact, my life’s brilliant. I just get people messaging me every day saying they’ve read the book or done the accelerator, then gone on to do some earth-changing thing they never thought they’d do – winning awards, getting press. Every single day on my Facebook page, people are messaging me saying : “Holy s**t, I didn’t know I could do this”, and V that’s what motivates me to keep going. ■ Find out more about Daniel Priestley at @DanielPriestley @danielpriestley



Daniel’s route to becoming a Key Person of Influence PITCH – Being powerful in the way you communicate what you do. PUBLISH – Get your message out there via books, websites, social media – whatever content suits your market. PRODUCTS – Create a winning product. PROFILE – Do everything you can to raise it. PARTNERSHIPS – Collaborate with others when you can.



Dresser Tailor and businesswoman Phoebe Gormley is breaking the glass ceiling in that great bastion of male tradition, Savile Row – and empowering women along the way


hink of Savile Row and an image of older men getting fitted for grey or navy suits springs to mind. For centuries, the street was strictly men-only – from the majority of tailors and cutters to the customers themselves. But young tailor Phoebe Gormley is one of the women helping to break down that perception. Her shop, Gormley & Gamble, offers a selection of made-to-measure clothes from suits to silk pyjamas – designed by women for women. “We give our clients


a curated menu of options,” says Phoebe, who, at 23, is also one of the youngest tailors on the Row. “When a customer comes in, I like to get to know her, her daily routine and how she wants to be perceived. I act as a stylist to that person.” Phoebe was drawn to tailoring as a child, growing up in a small village with little more than three churches and a fabric store. “If you weren’t into religion, there wasn’t much else to do,” she says. She started sewing at the age of seven and, as a teen, cut and reworked one of her father’s old suits for herself. When




a family friend suggested she work on Savile Row, she sent off a few letters and ended up interning there for the next five summers. “Waist-deep” in London’s clothing business, she made contacts, learned valuable skills, and witnessed the ins and outs of running a company. After a year studying at Nottingham Trent University, Phoebe decided to take a gamble and use her next year’s £9,000 tuition fees to start her own company instead. She put together a business plan based on feedback from industry contacts – but as she prepared

for launch some of those contacts her vision and the business launched in backtracked, saying there was no 2014 as the first tailor for women’s mademarket for women’s made-to-measure to-measure garments on Savile Row. fashion, that women “More than being a were “too hard to please” woman, my age has been “As a teen, and more interested in a hurdle,” says Phoebe, she reworked whose staff of four is all“fast fashion poly-blend” and not timeless pieces. female. “Made-to-measure one of her Any woman who has ever clothing is about men, father’s suits heritage and skills that are struggled to find decent work- or occasion-wear will passed down, and I am for herself” know that’s not true, and very young for this industry. Phoebe’s instincts told her not to give up. That I am female has actually helped She found new suppliers who believed in me in a number of ways – I am a woman


By Rachel Stafler


making things for women, which has led business to be in control of their lives – to many clients wanting to choose us.” not realising that it makes you much Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO of Virgin less in control! You need so much Money, was one of the first clients determination, resilience and drive to to choose Gormley, keep going day after buying 12 items and “You need so much day. Be prepared to lose setting up a direct debit all holidays, never switch determination, for a jacket-and-dress off, never stop working, combination every resilience and drive and worry about the pay month. Phoebe now cheques of people twice to keep going” makes clothes for a wide your age. It’s not easy V variety of customers but it’s worth it.” ■ – from businesswomen to princesses – Find out more about Phoebe at seeing between five and 10 clients a week. @Gormley_Gamble “When a woman comes in to try on a @gormleyandgamble piece, we often have tears in the dressing LEFT: White fullroom,” she says. “After years of wearing length coat with clothing that never really fits, they are so gold buttons happy with the way their new piece looks, telling us that it makes them feel so good about themselves. That is the most satisfying feeling in the world.” Around 50 per cent of the BELOW: Beige jacket clothing she makes is workwear, with silk floral-print lining with 25 per cent occasion-wear and the final 25 per cent is for women who are stretching themselves to buy one or two pieces that fit perfectly. “We have a menu of 10 jackets, but often women will come in asking for a particular style and we can then make something unique for them.” Two and a half years after launching, Phoebe’s business is flourishing. She’s been named one of Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30, as well as Young Star at the Women of the Future Awards 2015, Entrepreneurial Spark at the Great British Young Entrepreneur Awards, and featured in Management Today’s prestigious 35 Under 35 list. She counts some of the most influential women in fashion as mentors, including Meg Lustman, CEO of Hobbs, who read an article about her and got in touch. They now meet once a month for breakfast, with Lustman offering her advice on running a business, fashion and how to keep some semblance of a work-life balance. Next spring, Phoebe will launch her first collaboration, with Donna Ida Denim, offering jackets in short, medium and long sizes, mimicking the way men’s jackets are currently sold. The idea came out of conversations with CEO Donna Ida Thornton, another of Phoebe’s mentors. “The reason you start your own business is because you find something you love that no one else is doing,” she says. “Most people want to start a



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Soak Soothe

Work a bath into your busy schedule and you’ll soon feel the well-being benefits. Recent research by Loughborough University found that a long, steamy bath produces similar anti-inflammatory and blood-sugar responses to 60 minutes of physical activity. Now that’s the kind of news we like to hear. But not all bath oils are created equal. Olverum Bath Oil contains a blend of 10 essential oils with therapeutic properties, including sleep-inducing lavender, eucalyptus to ease muscle pain and skin-soothing rosemary. Take a deep breath of its rich, relaxing scent, sink in and feel restored. Olverum Bath Oil, £29,


Yes, you CAN

get worklife balance right Keeping everything running smoothly at work and home is all about mindset, writes Rachel Stafler Work-life balance. It’s what everyone director of the Leicester-based Work wants but no one seems to have. In Life Balance Centre. “Yes, but you can’t our busy and rushed world, work has a necessarily have it all at the same time. way of creeping up on even the most “Life goes in phases. As you go mindful of us. But finding your ideal through those phases, your priorities work-life balance isn’t as can change. Typically, that can “We get difficult as you may believe. mean when you’re younger, It won’t involve massively addicted to you’re career and socially rearranging your schedule or being busy” focused. Then as you get changing your lifestyle. What it older, you’re typically more will involve is thought and making small relationship and then family focused. changes to the way you think and act. Then life changes again when kids are “The most frequent question I get grown. There’s a flow to the demands asked is: ‘Can you really have it all?’, on our time over the years and problems says positive psychologist Julie Hurst, come up when we don’t recognise that.”


Psychologists and life coaches agree that before making any changes to your life, you first need to give thought to what you really want, both materially and psychologically. It may be that we spend time making money to buy things that we don’t need or that we spend time on tasks that don’t make us feel satisfied. One easy way to feel more content is to set daily goals, according to Hurst. She recommends thinking each morning about the feelings that you want to experience that day. That can include things such as laughter and friendship, or even certain values that you want to live by that day.


Feeling overloaded? Sketch out a quick Urgency/ Importance matrix to help you prioritise. Life coaches use these to help clients figure out how to prioritise a todo list. Don’t forget to include items from your work and home life…




These are obviously your top priority – do them asap.


Fit in if you can, secondary to the first box.


Schedule a time to do these, and stick to it.


Delegate or ditch completely!



Run through tomorrow’s presentation.

Answer colleague’s slightly pointless query. “Put my Frozen DVD on NOW, Mummy!”

Feed children!

Call Mum Write business plan

Play/hang out with kids

More importantly, a change to the words you use when talking or thinking about work can change how you feel. “When I started thinking that I have the opportunity to do something, instead of ‘I must’, there was a shift in my head,” says Hurst. “When your brain feels compulsion, it releases a stress hormone, but when it feels there’s choice involved it produces a happy hormone. The brain likes choice.” On a practical level, there are steps you can take to keep the demands of work from creeping in to your personal time. Setting strict limits on digital





4 Sort through junk mail Take cold calls

Read Mail Online sidebar of shame

technology can go a long way to ensuring people email me, they get a message back that work doesn’t invade our home that says I look at email three times a life. Mobile phone apps such day. You can’t always do that as Freedom allow users to “Think each when it comes to your boss, block out certain apps – like but you can say that Tuesday morning work email or Facebook and Thursday nights are for about the – at set times so that they your family only. Manage the feelings can focus on other tasks. expectations of others and you want to they will learn quite quickly.” “Give some thought to how technology is helping you rather In short, there’s no one experience than feeling like you need to formula for work-life balance that day” serve it,” says Jenny Garrett, that works for everyone. The executive career coach and author of key is knowing what you need to feel Rocking Your Role. “We get addicted to satisfied and then figuring out the tweaks V being busy and that doesn’t help us. When you can make to bring that to life. ■


Let’s be honest – no matter how important the business event you’re attending, the first thing you do when you arrive at your hotel is check out the facilities. And it’s so much more inspiring to work in beautiful surroundings! We’ve selected a few very special hotels for you to consider...

Set in the New Forest National Park, Rhinefield House Hotel is a spectacular blend of Tudor and Gothic architecture, with well-lit meeting rooms and bedrooms which are full of character. Within the spacious grounds there’s an outdoor pool, plus a small health suite which contains a splash pool, sauna and treatment rooms., 01590 622922

Although it was previously a 19th-century hunting lodge in the New Forest, the Balmer Lawn Hotel is now a four-star venue with bang-up-to-date conference facilities – not to mention a gym, sauna, tennis courts, pools and indulgent treatments at the Saltus spa. Also available via local companies are various team-building activities such as canoeing, bushcraft and archery., 01590 421065 42



With 32 guest rooms plus versatile meeting rooms which accommodate up to 40 delegates, The Green House in Bournemouth is fast gaining a reputation for a bespoke service with thoughtful little touches, attentive staff and a tempting menu. It also has impressive environmentally friendly credentials, right down to the sustainably sourced furniture, eco paint and solar-powered heated water., 01202 498900

If you’re planning to stray a little further afield, why not jet to Morocco and stay at the Mӧvenpick Hotel Mansour Eddahbi in Marrakech? Not only is it right next to the world-renowned conference centre, the Palais de Congrès, it’s also home to the award-winning Ô de Rose spa and wellness centre – which boasts a jacuzzi, sauna, pools and ultra-relaxing hammams. Go on, blow the budget…, 0800 898317



“Whatever you do, don’t stop”

Annette D’Abreo Annette jointly founded the Ceuta Healthcare Group and has built it into a leading outsource partner within the health and beauty sector. Under her management, her team has won an Investors in People Gold Award, as well as dozens of other awards for industry excellence and brand marketing campaigns.

I have had the privilege of judging the Dorset Venus Awards Entrepreneur of the Year category. It has been the most exhilarating experience as I’ve not only read over 50 contenders’ stories, but met five magnificent semi-finalists. Taking this down to three finalists then to an eventual winner was one of the hardest tasks I have ever had. It’s clear the following things lead to success and continue to be crucial to sustaining a business: sound financial management; a structure that brings in and retains talented people; creating a culture that breeds success; encouragement and support from family and friends; a clever and curious mind; and a determination to find solutions to problems. Our finalists are incredibly optimistic and realistic women who will impress all who meet them. What is striking amongst all of them are the struggles that have been overcome, but nevertheless they shine as examples for all women in business. They are not just impressive within their enterprises, but also seek to make an impact in the local environment and community. True entrepreneurs will always keep thinking and looking for the next opportunity. They have a responsibility to do this. We’re so lucky in this region to have so many smart, capable and inspirational women. Give them every opportunity and encouragement. Don’t stop.


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“Harassment - still no end in sight?”

Christina Tolvas-Vincent As Partner at law firm Womble Bond Dickinson and head of retail employment, Christina has extensive experience advising on employment law, from recruitment to dismissal. We all know that harassment in the workplace is illegal, so why does it continue? I’m not so naive as to imagine that new legislation will transform the workplace overnight, but the current legislation banning sex discrimination in employment is decidedly middle-aged, having been with us since the 1970s. In that time, what is considered acceptable behaviour has changed beyond all recognition – yet we still hear of women being harassed, losing their jobs while on maternity leave, having fewer opportunities for training and promotion, or being paid less for doing the same job as a man. Social media has been in overdrive following revelations about one man’s decades of alleged predatory behaviour in Hollywood, leading us to question just how widespread sexual harassment remains. What has struck me is the number of women (and men) who were apparently aware of this behaviour and tacitly accepted there was nothing that they could have done about it. If legislation alone won’t do it, how do we ensure that our workplaces have a culture where this sort of behaviour just doesn’t happen? As women in leadership positions, we can at least make sure we don’t remain silent when our colleagues overstep the mark.




Keep calm and make a list Working mothers face enough challenges without wasting their energy on worry, says entrepreneur and Venus founder Tara Howard

has conspired against you and you’re I am, without a doubt, a borderline workaholic. I’m a fiend for working running late for an appointment. through my to-do list – or my ‘project Don’t worry about whether something plan’ as I call it. With the primary will go wrong, but do plan for it – by responsibility of winning business for leaving early or by allowing some wiggle the Venus Awards, I’ve got into the room between appointments. I used to habit of setting myself daily, weekly and hate being early for meetings because it monthly targets. I’m always working felt unproductive waiting for everyone, against the clock. Yet I also know that I but now, with my mobile phone, can’t sustain this level of arriving early means energy without setting “Don’t worry about I have the chance to personal boundaries. whether something catch up on emails! As a working mother, I often work in the will go wrong, but early mornings when I know how easy it is to convince yourself that everyone else is in bed. do plan for it” if you don’t tick off all It’s not worth fighting the boxes – at work AND at home – to keep work and life separate – better then you’re a failure. That you’re letting to accept that the two will always blend people down, especially loved ones. together. So pay your bills online during But worry can be counterproductive your lunch break, check your work – all that energy needs to be redirected emails at home whilst you are waiting in a positive way. For example, instead for the children to sit down for the of fretting that you’re always juggling evening meal. Don’t stress that the split work when the children are around, between home and work can seem fluid, think about how your hard work is it’s not a sign of bad mothering and teaching them how to take responsibility, it can be used to great advantage. how to strive for what they want to But, for me, the most important achieve and stand up for what they thing of all is accepting reality. As a really believe in. working mum, there will never be That said, with two teenage sons at a convenient time. Things will go home, it’s crucial to let them know that wrong. Mum-guilt is not going I’m still their mum, and interested in to go away. But the rewards what they’re doing in their lives. It’s of this life are pretty rich, not about how much time I spend with too. Dallas and his siblings, them, it’s about the quality of that time. Donny, Ryan and Cherie have I recently did the London-Paris been raised in a family that cycle ride with my number-two son, has always run businesses Dallas, and it was great to have an – two entrepreneurial role adventure together for a few days. models right there at I’ve also learned not to sweat the the breakfast table. small stuff. There will always be times I am a handswhen nothing goes to plan, everything off mother. I

Meet Tara Pilot, hotelier, model and serial entrepreneur, Tara Howard founded the Venus Awards in 2009 as a way of recognising women’s achievements in business and promoting female role models. @TaraHowardMe


believe in making them self-reliant and – to a certain extent – giving them space to make their own mistakes. Although I am there to guide them, of course. Someone once said to me that the best thing you can do for your kids is ‘help them help themselves’ and I certainly live by that. The result is four resourceful and self-sufficient young people. My eldest daughter, at 23, has taken herself around the world many times and is now a TV presenter. My eldest son left home at 14 to pursue a tennis career and earned himself a scholarship to Queens College in New York. When I look at them – and the children of my working-mother friends – and see how confident, hard-working and positive they are, I realise that maybe we don’t have V that much to worry about after all.■

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Venus Digital Magazine  

A digital version of our popular publication for women in business.

Venus Digital Magazine  

A digital version of our popular publication for women in business.