There were another couple of firsts for Wimbledon Women in Business (WWIB) on Wednesday 13 March. Our first Open Networking event of the year, and our first event at Rosie Q’s in West Wimbledon.
We had a great turn out of members and guests who enjoyed milling around Rosie Q’s ‘The Shed’ (more on that later) whilst enjoying a glass of wine and fabulous canapes provided by one of our members, Carol Black of First Serve Catering. Lucky us!!
As well as all of that, it was great to meet Rosie Q’s manager, Rachel, and learn more about the café and the philosophy behind it. It is a “gourmet café” which as well as serving delicious tea, coffee and cake, offers a fantastic homemade Santa Fe inspired lunch menu with specialist wines, beers and cocktails. But not only that, you will find a whole array of unique handmade gifts available to buy, all made and created by a range of local artists. We’re proud to say that one of the local artists selling her creations at the café is WWIB member Peta Cottee from Partners in Time, who also makes unique and bespoke handbags and accessories from beautiful Scottish tweed and the highest quality Italian leather under the brand name Totes and Tassles.
Behind the café and across a decked area, Rosie Q’s also has ‘The Shed’ which is where Rachel hosted us. It’s a light airy space with a real Scandi feel which is available to hire (like we did!) for private events, as well as offering a range of wellbeing classes from yoga and pilates to art and language classes.
Why not check it out for yourself? We are very glad that we did. And we will definitely be back.
Wimbledon Women in Business (WWIB) had their first meeting of 2019 on Wednesday 13 February, and what a great meeting it was. The meetings are as much about friendship and support as doing business together, and never has that been more important than at the moment. With Brexit looming large in everybody’s minds (6 weeks to go and still no clear idea of what the future holds), we spent the meeting talking about the positive aspects of our businesses and what we can do to navigate our way through uncertain times.
Interestingly, everybody reported having had a pretty good year to date and feeling really quite positive about the year ahead. However, we were all mindful that we are largely working in service industries, which thus far have been relatively unaffected by our unstable trading environment. That’s not to say things won’t change – if our clients’ circumstances change, there will inevitably be knock on effects.
So how do you plan for and mitigate for a business environment which is so uncertain and beyond our control? We thought it might be worth sharing here some of the thoughts we had as a group which were:
Firstly, keep things in perspective and don’t fixate on things you can’t control.
Continue doing what you do well and keep your clients close. Look after them well and add value to your current relationships wherever possible.
Think about whether your business can capitalise on uncertainty. We had two solicitors round our table last night and both agreed that for them, the current uncertainty presents great opportunity for the legal profession!
As small businesses with an entrepreneurial spirit, we are well placed to be creative and versatile with our businesses. We can be “fleet of foot” and quick to adapt to new situations. We need to be alive to the big external shifts that are taking place and be prepared to learn fast, spot new opportunities and diversify to fill emerging gaps.
As with all our meetings, it’s great to share ideas, offer support to friends and colleagues and know that you are not alone. All whilst catching up over a glass of wine and nibbles. What’s not to like?
Great to see everyone looking so wellat our September members meeting after the lovey summer holiday, and to hear each members awe-inspiring business update. Thank you to our guest speaker, Jonathan Docksey of designJD, it was very interesting to hear about their work – creating inspiring, attractive & engaging brands, and way finding strategies.If you require any guidance or advice on branding and how your business can stand out from the crowd, email@example.com or visit his website www.designjd.co.uk.
WWIB member Sarah Austin, founder of the Really Helpful Club (RHC) – a free online and offline network community that brings together dynamic, busy and like-minded people to share great ideas and connect with one another, have a flagship event coming up us follows:-
6th Nov 2018 – Family Matters Advice and Solutions for the Sandwich Generation; in aid of The Silver Line
9:15am – 4pm; Keynote speaker is Dame Esther Rantzen DBE
You can book tickets by clicking on this link https://bit.ly/2NQN116 and following through to the booking link.
It was also very gratifying to see unanimous vote to continue WWIB which reflects the friendship and support we have all benefited from within the group.There are some very good suggestions as to how to go forward.Our Chair will be sending out a breakdown of what the group needs in terms of organisation, so that different areas can be allocated to members for discussion at the next meeting that will now be on 10th October.
We look forward to seeing all members again at our October meeting.
We were lucky enough to be joined on Wednesday by Peter Wallder of Merton Abbey Mills, who gave us a sneak preview of what’s coming to The Colour House Theatre in the next couple of months, as well as what else is going on on the rest of the site.
Probably more than most of us knew – including a regular Blues Club, on the first Sunday of every month and a Comedy Club, on the last Friday of each month, plus plans for a pop-up food festival in April. He also has ambitions to introduce open air film screenings, and longer-term, major expansion plans to develop the theatre and bar area.
We also met Gordon House, his old friend and former BBC drama producer, who’s written an up-and-coming show for the theatre (direction by Peter) called The Princess and The Toad. Suitable for audiences of between 3-100, it will be on The Colour House stage for a week during the Easter holidays (3-7 April)… so a great distraction for little ones, and not-so-little ones too.
It was interesting to hear about Peter’s journey to becoming involved in Merton Abbey Mills, and his long and abiding love for the theatre. For more than twenty years now, he’s been directing and producing plays for The Colour House Theatre, and attributes his happiness in life to the variety and opportunity for reinvention that it gives him. A new show, a new challenge, renewed passion, and fresh applause. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it.
A great final WWIB meeting before the summer break hearing the fascinating background of the Wimbledon Bookfest from one of the founders Fiona Razvi, whose passion has inspired us to book the events as soon as the online box office opens next Wednesday!
Wimbledon Bookfest, a festival of arts & culture, 29th September – 9th October 2016.
WWIB would like to say thank you to Darling Magazine for photos taken at the Wimbledon Village fair and open networking. Some of the photos used on our website are courtesy of Darling magazine.
At yesterday’s open forum meeting, WWIB members shared their own personal tips and experiences from being in business. Some great ideas were aired, creating a really interesting discussion – ranging from the importance of dealing with auto-enrolment, to talking about different payment systems and marketing activities, through to general thoughts on integrity, bravery, persistence and the merits of eyebrow tattooing.
Some specific tips included:
If you employ anyone at all, do not ignore the pensions auto-enrolment issue.
Research and get to know your trade press: advertising inserts and editorials all help to promote your business.
Look at WorldPay Zinc for taking card payments on your mobile.
Think about asking for up-front deposits from customers, to reduce and cover the risk of no-shows for appointments.
Learn about your marketplace, and watch what your competitors are doing.
Remember that your customers are your ambassadors.
Pay attention to your website: a good website can transform your business.
Don’t forget there are lots of students around for the summer looking for part-time work.
Take time to get to know and understand your customers, and make their experience of your business personal.
Believe in yourself: keep going and be brave.
And finally, if you weren’t able to make the meeting, and want to add some tips of your own, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.
We had a great turnout at the 18th May members’ meeting to hear from Helen Edwards of The Velvet Daisy. Some of us already knew of her huge talent for creating amazing floral designs, as one of London’s top florists, but it was the other insights she gave us into her world that made it really special.
Who knew, for example, that a vision in white peonies for a wedding could be scuppered by a single buyer cornering the market and buying up the entire supply from New Covent Market? Or that the London 2012 organisers would need almost 5,000 handmade (and technically very difficult) bouquets for the Olympic Games?
We also heard about her corporate and A-lister clients, weddings and other events, managing the business between London and Devon (and the difference in the markets and supplies), and issues like marketing, networking, stock management, buying, the early starts and long days, the chipped nails and the seasonal highlights. And her favourite flowers of all: sweet peas. We also took home a beautiful mixed bunch of flowers each… So thank you, Helen, for a great talk, and thanks too to Sue for organising it: it was a real treat, all round.