Link to close mobile nav

Search

Brilliant Businesses

Brilliant Businesses is here to showcase the amazing people that create businesses in the UK.

Latest Stories

Image for TN Recruits
Recruitment

Neil Simmons

TN Recruits

“I left school with very few qualifications and initially coached Football and Gymnastics but fancied doing something a little bit different, so I worked in entertainment. I was a Blue Coat for Pontins and then became an Entertainments Manager for Airtours overseas. Towards my late 20’s, my wife and I decided we wanted to move back to the UK and settle down. I was originally from North West London, my wife and her family were from Tunbridge Wells and the surroundings. Having visited a number of times, we fell in love with Kent and Tunbridge Wells quite quickly and realised it was the right place for us.

When we arrived here I didn’t really know what I was going to do. I sold advertising for the Courier for three years, which gave me a grounding in sales whilst finding my way around Kent and Sussex. I then discovered recruitment and quickly realised it was something I really enjoyed as it combined all the people skills gained during my ‘university of life’ along with the opportunity to be directly rewarded for working hard. After eight years in recruitment, my Dad passed away, he was only 66 and at the time I was 38, based upon those ages I had 28 years left. This experience gave me the kick up the backside I needed to start my own business. I believed I had some good ideas that I could put into practice and wanted to put my own spin on things and so TN Recruits was born. Because of my love of Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding areas, I was motivated to help local companies and candidates fulfil their potential. Along the way I joined BNI, Tunbridge Wells which helped me to meet a number of local suppliers who are now my support network. TN Recruits now has ten members of staff to date and will continue to expand in the coming years.”

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Image for Amy Lou Beauty Therapy
Health & Lifestyle

Amy Clarke

Amy Lou Beauty Therapy

“I grew up in South East London and I've always wanted to do beauty therapy since I was at school, I had a lot of career advisors asking me why I wasn’t going to do A’levels and why I wanted to do beauty, but I just ignored them and pushed myself to do what I wanted to do.

I went to the London college of beauty. It was great to be up in the city as a student. From there, I worked in Mayfair and Canary Wharf and just loved everything about beauty and looking after my clients. I got so much from it - making people feel good, making them feel stress free, showed me that I was doing a good job. I worked in lots of spas and salons and I gained lots of experience from all of those places, but in the back of my head, I wanted to have my own place. My dream was to renovate an old Victorian house and turn it into a day spa, it still is. I've got a condition called ulcerative colitis and sometimes doing back to back massages would really hurt my joints and my back, but I pushed through it because I didn't want to lose my passion, even though I started to get tired and run down, I just wanted to have the flexibility to work on my own – so I set my business up six months ago! I want to provide a business that’s convenient for people, people with children or maybe that work late from the city - make it affordable for everybody to be able to enjoy. Everyone's got stressful busy lives and to take time out for themselves is a really important service for me to provide. I've had people that have been really ill but have been able to have my treatments, they’ve been so emotionally thankful afterwards – it’s a constant reminder as to why I'm in this profession and why I enjoy it so much.”

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Image for Cut Above Productions - Cappure
Creative & Marketing

Carol Navis

Cut Above Productions - Cappure

“I have always been interested in film, and during my teens and early twenties (before iPhones) I always had a camera of some sorts on me and loved filming friends and events. I started full time employment age 17 and after a few junior roles my most exciting and rewarding job was working in the hotel and travel industry for Cat Publications and became the sales manager for their exhibition, The Meetings & Incentive Travel Show held at Olympia and then one of the first shows to go into Excell. I loved my job and the industry, my clients were high end hotels and conference venues that I would travel the length and breadth of the country to visit. After six years I decided it was time to expand my experience and went to work for a PR and Marketing Agency in the same industry and then after a year there along came our first daughter Louise so life changed. I took a short career break to decide what would come next.

I had always wanted to have my own business so I decided to turn my hobby into a career and retrain to be a professional videographer. I needed to learn how to film on decent cameras and most importantly to learn how to edit which was an extreme learning curve. To start with, I was just filming everything I could, friend’s weddings, performances and dance shows and then it just grew from there and I opened Cut Above Productions officially in 2008. I realised how much I loved filming weddings and capturing a memory for someone that will last a lifetime, it is an exhilarating days work and immensely satisfying. Luckily, we became recommended by Hever Castle back in 2013 which was a real honour and the business grew quickly so I needed help. Paul Midcalf came on board and then soon after Dan and Rebecca have also joined us. We have also been doing corporate work since 2014, with my understanding and experience of the corporate market this really enables me to help clients with the whole process of creating a video and transmitting the right messages and not just the filming and editing. As the corporate and wedding market are so different we decided to create a separate company called Cappure where we do everything from talking head videos, corporate videos, product demonstration, music videos and filming events, Dan helps me run Cappure. We film between 35 and 40 weddings a year. We are now recommended at Hever Castle, Penshurst Place, Ashdown Park, Buxted Park, The High Rocks, The Spa Hotel and Wadhurst Castle so we get to work in some fantastic venues and there is never a dull moment. Our most exciting wedding so far was filming Brian May’s daughters wedding where he played which was amazing! I am a huge animal lover, we have one dog, four cats and for one of my hobbies I also run a retirement yard for horses which is very much a labour of love and has been running since 1999, it supplemented my income when my starting my new career and I just love looking after horses. Life is busy and hectic but I would not have it any other way!”

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Image for Nourish Community Foodbank
Charity & Social

Olga Johnson

Nourish Community Foodbank

“When my husband retired from the BBC, he always wanted to live in an oast house, so we bought one, which was in an interesting position, as it was in the middle of a huge council estate. Some people considered it to be a disadvantage, but we loved it! We could really see the life around us and I became very much aware of the large families passing our gate that we would also see and talk to in the local shops. Sadly they were buying cheap, very unhealthy fast food. The headmaster of the local primary school was a friend of ours and I learnt from him, that they had some serious issues with the kids going out at lunch time and queuing up at the chip shop – their diets were not good.

At the same time, Jamie Oliver was doing his ‘grow your own school dinner’ programme, so I suggested to the headmaster that we should look at doing that. He thought it was a great idea, so did the kids! Most of them had never seen a potato before, they thought they came chipped in bags! It was a real eye opener to them. Through all this, I got to know some of the families, and they were having a really hard time making ends meet. Fortunately, I also knew a senior manager in the local housing association, responsible for all the property in the area, so asked her if they were going to set up a foodbank. She said they might and then suggested I might like to do it - we called it Nourish Foodbank. They donated £10,000 to start it up! They funded us for a few years and we also did a deal with the local big yellow storage space and Nourish grew from there. We started off with a lot of volunteers, mainly neighbours and people that we knew who had never done anything like it before. We distributed about 100 food bags in our first few months. It then quadrupled very quickly, so we really had to start running it as a business. We hired an operations director, who lives locally, on the housing estate and knew a lot of the people that were in trouble, so she was able to build really good relationships with them. She was also well connected and knew all the charities in the area who would refer people to us. This was really important because you can’t just rock up to a foodbank and ask for a bag, you have to be genuinely in need so, people from Citizens Advice, Gateway and DAVVS who work with people suffering domestic violence and were known to our operations director offered support. She is a real asset to us, and also has a good business sense. If you want to do something, she’s the person to make it happen! We now have five storage areas in the big yellow storage space. We also decided that we would not have a central area for collection, so we have volunteer drivers, who use their own cars to take food to those who need it. We just pay their petrol. We didn’t want a central area for collection because some people are embarrassed to be seen in a queue for food bags. Because of my experience at Sherwood Park School with the dietary issues, we also felt that it was really important to help people to eat a balanced diet with fresh food so, we enclose vouchers for £5 so that people can exchange them with a local butcher for fresh meat and a local fruit and vegetable shop for fresh fruit and vegetables. Five years ago a local legal practice who chose Nourish to be their charity of the year, worked with us for 12 months and a small group of their senior advisors suggested that they did recipe cards for our food bags, using the contents of a food bag. It was great and they were really, really successful. I think it’s really important to eat a balanced diet, and no other foodbanks do this. It’s what sets apart and we are really proud of it! It’s a really rewarding role, we have an excellent board with senior professional people to do marketing, fundraising and finance and have expertise in social services. It’s run as a values led business.”

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Image for Tunbridge Wells Healthcare Ltd
Finance

David O'Toole

Tunbridge Wells Healthcare Ltd

"I worked for many years in the corporate world, working in the West end for large organisations in management consultancy, insurance and banking. Like many I was made redundant, so was looking for a fresh challenge but didn’t want to get back into playing the game with the all of the 'corporate nonsense' of working for a large company, so whilst doing a bit of consultancy for US company, I was approached by a company working on behalf of a Provident Healthcare provider.

It was to look at an opportunity promoting private medical insurance to individuals and corporates, I kept looking at it with a cynical eye thinking there must be something wrong and the more I investigated the more I realised, that it was a good deal for all. It was working with an ethical provider, a not for profit organisation, offering the best cover at a reasonable price for all their customers. so, I investigated more and more until I decided I would join them and I bought into the sales franchise. That was four years ago and I now have over 350 customers, including individuals, families and corporates from small to medium sized businesses and the difference between what I do now and what I did before, is there’s no corporate rubbish, it is me, talking to an individual and giving them the best advice about what they should do for them or for their company. We are not in it to make profit, we are here to look after our customers & offer local customer service at the right price."

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Image for Field Plumbing
Plumbing

Tony Field

Field Plumbing

I left school at 16 and went straight into full time college for the first year, then for the second year, I found a plumbing company to work for, they let me go to college for one day a week and after three years I achieved my City and Guilds in plumbing. However, I wasn’t earning enough money, so I went and worked on building sites in London and my income pretty much doubled overnight. I was doing site work, so I gained a lot of experience with various plumbing work from working with councils and then in maintenance, which is where I spent five years at Downing Street and at the Foreign Office and government buildings.

I learned a lot as it was on a much larger scale, still with basic plumbing with radiators and heating etc but also with large cylinders and boilers. I then got into insurance work and moved to Tunbridge Wells in 2003 and that’s when I started my own business, advertising in the yellow pages and using my own website, but the more that time passed, the less I had to advertise. Everyone in the area was recommending me and I didn’t need to go back to London to earn the bigger money, I had enough work in Tunbridge Wells. I also started a copper bath business and a property business with my Dad, picking up some buy to lets, but it was in the financial crisis in 2008, so we had to keep some of the properties that we renovated as they weren’t selling and we still have them today. It turned out really well in the end and I’m glad we still have them. I love the plumbing so I went back to it and over the last few years the properties have calmed down and now look after themselves. I now want to just concentrate on the Plumbing business, build that up and generate a nice income from it. I have some nice ongoing contracts with some large local businesses that generate a steady amount of work each month and it’s nice good work. I still have the same enthusiasm for plumbing now, that I had when I first started, I’m really lucky to still have that energy, I feel blessed that I’m doing something that I love.

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Image for Home Car Charging Solutions Limited
Automotive

Jonathan Reilly

Home Car Charging Solutions Limited

“Having been in the commercial signage industry for 12 years, I decided I wanted a change so retrained as an electrician, gained all the necessary qualifications and registered with the NICEIC. That was back in 2010 and during that time, as a sole trader, I wasn't really getting enough electrical work to grow as a business, so I started doing other work for people, handy man type jobs, which turned into fitting bathrooms and kitchens. However, that wasn't my plan; I was looking for a niche.

In 2015 I tried the solar panel industry. However, I soon found that as a small company, it was very difficult to claim the grants on behalf of the customers due to the management systems you had to have in place. Then the subsidies effectively vanished so I dropped that idea and carried on doing what I was doing before. Then back in 2016 I was at Live South –the NICEIC electricians’ annual conference which I always attend to keep on board with any up and coming rule changes and regulations. While I was there, I attended a seminar about the electric car market and found it so interesting and I thought let's do it, let's see what this is all about. At that time, there were electric cars about, but far less than there are now, but I could see potential in the market. By this time I had employed another electrician and, we stopped doing any bathroom and kitchen works and moved on to installing electric vehicle charging points. I changed the name of the business from TQM Limited to Home Car Charging Solutions Limited. When we started out, we thought it would be great if we installed 3 or 4 charge points a month but now having employed more engineers, we are installing somewhere near 80 - 100 units per month. People will always say: it must be great working for yourself, you can take time off when you want to. But what they don't see is when you're on holiday, and you're still checking your emails and taking phone calls. Having your own business and working hard at it, watching it grow and develop is a continuous source of motivation and you never stop learning. If I was to give advice to someone starting a business, I would say start out by thinking big. Build the foundations of your company on that basis from the beginning and put good systems and working methods in place. Essentially, be ready for it to be big one day.”

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Image for &Hobbs
Interiors

Libby Hobbs

&Hobbs

“I studied art all through school and college and then went to university and studied decorative arts; another name for it is contemporary craft, which is all about 3D making; focusing on print, wood turning, ceramics, metal work and glass works. For me, it was all about making environments. When I was 16, for my GCSE, I studied Tracey Emin and I enjoyed making environments to tackle social issues at the time. Everyone else was painting pears and there I was, building a toilet cubicle, focusing on mental health issues of teenage girls, body image and things like that!

I’ve always been very people motivated; how people feel; I’m a feely person with my heart on my sleeve and I’ve always tried to translate that into my art and my design. After I graduated, I started to work as an intern for a textile magazine and was asked to manage their pop up shops. I ended up working for them, managing their store. I then worked on a collaboration between them and Anthroplogie on the Kings Road Chelsea and it was my ideal scenario using all of my skills that I have learnt so I then moved to them as their display artist for almost 3 years and was then promoted to move to the Guildford branch. My husband and I had just moved to Chilworth, so it kind of made sense. I was working really hard and investing all of my creativity into my job, but it got to the point where I was ready to take everything I had learnt and all of the passion that I have and change things. So I walked away and started ‘&Hobbs’. I always wanted to run my own business. My vision was to have a studio space that was also a shop, selling people’s creations and artwork, but also running classes. The shop in Shere came up by chance and when I walked in, I just knew it was going to work, so I did it! The 5month old baby, dogs and husband all chipped into to get us open and ready for trade! We’ve been here for 3 years in August and I’m very proud because it’s my space and we have truly grown in so many ways since opening. We have so many friends that we’ve met through the shop and I’ve learnt so much!”

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Image for Albury Vineyard
Food & Drink

Nick Wenman

Albury Vineyard

Ever since I left school I've had a huge interest in wine. Whilst at my first job, which was at 3M in London, I signed up for a wine course, which I went to every week in the evenings, and even before that, at school, my first recollection of an interest in wine was when I won the school economics prize.

You could choose the book that the head master presented to you at speech day and I chose the World Atlas of Wines and at the age of 17. I have to say, he wasn't very happy about that. So my passion goes back a long time and essentially it's taken me 35 years to achieve my dream in having my own vineyard. Ever since my late teens I was really interested in wine, but then of course career and family took over; I was in the IT industry right to when I was able to retire early just before I was 50. I always had this dream of having my own vineyard but thought it would need to be in mainland Europe, because of the weather. But then I met Stephen Skelton, a master of wine, who persuaded me of two things; firstly that you can produce great wines in England, and secondly that it was financially viable. So I was bitten by the bug of having a vineyard in England. I lived in Albury at the time and, together with the Albury Estate who own the land locally, chose a site suitable for planting vines. English sparkling wine is now achieving huge international acclaim, and the key to success of our wines is the vineyard's commitment to organic and biodynamic principles. I've achieved my dream, which I have to say is a fantastic feeling!

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Image for Love Inc Ltd
Retail

Hannah Gee

Love Inc Ltd

“I started my business because I’d been a full time Mum for six years and I knew I needed to get into using my brain again. If my husband gave me two hours to do whatever I wanted, without the kids, I’d go to a boot fair, and marvel at all the beautiful stuff! So, I took a punt, took 300 quid, went and invested it in stuff that I loved from antique and boot fairs and started Love Inc!

I invited people via social media to come to the house to see if anyone was interested in what I had to offer and it was really successful! That was when we started, 7 years ago, and on that journey, by accident, I discovered that I had a love for product design. I wanted some educational material for my children that looked good and I could have on the wall and I couldn’t find anything, so I decided I was going to make it myself. I conceived an idea, got a friend to design it for me and that was our first product, which are now award winning children’s educational placemats. I then just kept going, seeing things that I wanted, that didn’t exist and kept designing.”

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Image for ME Recruits
Recruitment

Helen Barham

ME Recruits

“I went to University at 21 and realised that I had a bit of a business mind, so after graduating, I fell into an advertising field role at the Courier newspaper. Eight months in, I was doing quite well and realised I had found my niche in a sense of going out and meeting people and influencing. So from that point, I left the Courier and went to a publishing company in London, I knew I was good at the job, but within three months I realised it wasn’t for me, I wanted to go back to regional/local press.

When I went back to The Courier, I became Team Leader and then quite quickly after, went into management with roles in leisure and special publications, which made me realise I had a natural passion for leadership, coaching and helping people reach their own potential. I then had my first child but went back in a part-time role, they created a Sales Trainer position for me, which I did for two years, but I was missing the day to day involvement in business and management. My career developed in a number of different roles, working up to regional manager covering Folkestone, Gillingham and Tunbridge Wells and eventually to Head of Advertising. It was a total of 15 years, I got to as far as I could go and decided to concentrate on my family and second child. I spent three years at home and didn’t really know what to do. I was actually really lost. Then, one evening, Neil’s business – TN Recruits popped up on my phone and I thought I’d give it a go. I had no idea what was involved, but Neil and I had always had a very good working relationship and to go from me recruiting him and managing him and then 13 years later, it being the other way round, takes a special kind of relationship, with mutual respect. We gave it a go and after a month, started discussing ME Recruits. It was important for me to have my own project and to be in control, as that is the way I’ve always worked. I relished the challenge and spent the first seven months working out if I really liked recruitment and now, eighteen months in, ME Recruits has gone from a start up to being an established and profitable organisation. I am starting to build the reputation of the ME Recruits brand and with my past coaching roles, I ensure all candidates and clients receive a bespoke approach that supports their personal potential and business needs respectively. Meeting and working together all those years ago, hooking back up and now fronting ME Recruits gives me great autonomy in a thriving industry sector.”

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Image for SARJ Group Limited
IT & Technology

Andrew Jarret and Sarah Richardson

SARJ Group Limited

“From a young age, I have had a love for computers, and a passion to discover how they functioned. Due to this, I continued my passion to complete a Computer Science BSc. After university, I started working in IT, for a small mobile application development company that was strictly run. I learned a lot, it was my first job and I was really thrown in at the deep end,

at one point I had to stand in a room of thirty people to do a presentation – it was for an app that I had to demonstrate which took about 30 minutes, however, the questions after lasted about an hour and a half; I definitely learned a lot from that! I then went to work for Thomson Reuters, where I supported their legacy systems. It was a big transition to a big company, working with quite a large team. Unfortunately, most of the team left, so it was just me on my own supporting the systems to the point where I was taking on a larger workload. During this time, I had to learn to work a lot more independently, and gained so much experience from supporting the websites. Gaining more confidence in myself, some time later, I realised, maybe I could give it a go myself. There’s a lot of website companies out there that build great website’s but then, that’s it - they leave the customer to get on with it. Customers, often with very little IT knowledge. I could see there was a niche, where we could build websites but also offer the support. I love the engineering side of things and giving the support. I’d been offering that for many years; it was where I wanted to be and that’s how the SARJ Group came about, so I teamed up with my business partner, Sarah. SARJ is a combination of our initials and we’ve since found out that it’s a Hungarian word meaning ‘growth’ which fits really well for our ever-growing company.” Andrew Jarrett, SARJ Group ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ “From childhood, I decided that I wanted to become a teacher. I was an avid reader, and took my role models from the stories that I read. When one of my favourite childhood story characters became a teacher, and loved it; I decided that I wanted to follow in her footsteps and do just the same! I followed through with my love of literature all the way to university and beyond. After receiving my degree, I completed my teacher training, and then spent a decade in the profession. I learned a lot from my role as a secondary school English Teacher; you very quickly learn how to read your audience, and adapt what you are presenting, when you are reading Shakespeare with thirty 15 year olds! If you wish to gain practice being able to work on your own, as well as part of a team (often simultaneously!), then teaching is the best practice you will ever get! After five years in a classroom role, I got my first promotion into school leadership, and for the final five years of my career, I held various leadership and managerial role. These helped me learn how to lead a team effectively; how to successfully hit targets, how to resolve issues within the team, how to train and mentor staff, and how to manage a department’s budget. My students often joked, “Miss, why don’t you just become a Head, and be the boss of everything?” Despite the humour of their questions, I soon realised that this is what I wanted to do; I wanted to lead and build up a team from scratch; I wanted to create something that had longevity; I wanted to lead and inspire from the very top, but not in teaching. Teaching is truly a wonderful job, but you can never be at the very top of the profession; you will always have a government, and school governors, to answer to, and try to appease. I also wanted to build something from its very foundations, and let my own vision and creativity grow with the company. Andrew and I worked on a plan, and combined my leadership skills, with his IT skills, to create SARJ Group. ‘SARJ’ is not only a combination of our initials, it is also the Hungarian word, meaning ‘growth’, and ‘offspring’. This fits in very nicely with what we are building up the company to be. We created the company ourselves, from the smallest of seeds, and are watching it grow and develop every day. SARJ Group is also teaching me to grow and develop as a person, and a business woman.” Sarah Richardson, SARJ Group

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Image for Angus Gould Osteopathy
Health & Lifestyle

Angus Gould

Angus Gould Osteopathy

I left school at 18, after sixth form without a clue what I wanted to do, so decided to use my extra free year of education to go and explore something completely different. I did a Sports and Exercise Science diploma and a fitness instructor course and it opened my eyes to the health industry.

I thought of looking to go down the Physiotherapy route, my parents then suggested to go and have a look at Osteopathy and everything since then has kind of worked out. I went to university and loved it, loved working with people and helping people become pain free and just getting them to move and feel better. I worked in the NHS for a couple of years seeing lots of different complex cases, such as chronic pain patients who had more advanced conditions than what you see on a daily basis. This really sparked my interest in researching further. My areas of speciality include osteopathy and mindfulness and how they can be combined with each other to help people suffering from long term pain. After university, I decided to start up on my own, which was in September 2018 and I’ve been working out of Neal’s Yard Remedies in Tunbridge Wells since. As with any business, the struggles are hard but the wins make it extremely worthwhile.

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Image for Louise Make up and Hair - Freelance professional Makeup and Hair artist
Fashion

Louise Large

Louise Make up and Hair - Freelance professional Makeup and Hair artist

I always had an interest in makeup, growing up I'd be fascinated by the makeup on Casualty, music videos and in fashion mags. I went to London College of Fashion to do an HND in Design Fashion Styling for Hair and Makeup. I had my eldest son Matthew when I was 17 so I was a student mum commuting to London everyday. I loved my course and did whatever makeup work I could get, which was tough with longer hours and traveling around all unpaid to get credible experience. I knew this would be challenging with a little one so I decided I needed a career I could work regular hours in. I went on to London College of Printing to do a degree in Graphic Design but sadly after a long battle with Motor Neurone Disease my amazing dad passed away.

Following that I had a spell of ill health myself which lead to me getting Meningitis during writing my dissertation! I took some time out and worked for Bobbi Brown then landed a great job in recruitment, which I did for the next 5 years, plus hair and makeup jobs on the side. I loved it, but always felt I wasn’t following my dream career, so after we got married and bought our first house, Paul said “just go for it, we’ve got the house now so just do what you’ve always wanted to do”. So in 2006 I registered my business Louise Makeup and hair, set up my website and started getting bridal party hair and makeup bookings, photo-shoots, bits of TV and editorial work. We then went on to have twins! Business was booming and I was doing about 60 weddings a year, but when Paul was away in Manchester with his business during the week and the twins started school weekends suddenly became more valuable, so I cut back a bit on weddings for a time. I have worked with talented photographers and stylists and other creative’s in the industry on commercial, fashion and editorial makeup and hair shoots, TV and Film, my highlights have been X-Men First Class and recently The Hitman’s wife’s Bodyguard. As well as travelling to peoples houses and different venues I have a consultation room in my house so my clients can come to me for makeup lessons, express hair/ makeup styling for a night out for example, wedding trials, Proms etc, I love being able to help people look and feel the best version of themselves.

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Image for Slammed UK
Automotive

Jordan Clarke

Slammed UK

"I’ve been into cars for as long as I can remember so when I took the plunge quitting my job to go full time with my automotive clothing company SlammedUK I was very excited. This was back in 2013 and I have since expanded into Automotive Events where I am in my third year with my own car show, Gravity. Taking this all on with no previous business experience was certainly a challenge but I love what I do and enjoy teaching my self something new every day.

It’s great being able to do what I love and having my whole life revolve around cars from all areas of life is amazing. I’ve met many of my closest friends through the car community and now have friends all over the world because of our shared love and passion for cars. I take great pride in what I do and travelling around the world doing it is a great privilege, it’s great talking to people every day about what I do and teaching people about the car world. You’ll probably see me about in Tunbridge Wells in my very loud R8, stop to say hi if you do!"

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Image for Stampede Fashion & Footwear For Kids
Fashion

Donna Marshall

Stampede Fashion & Footwear For Kids

"I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease three years ago, I was working with a big corporation as a director of operations. I realised, that because of the deterioration of the Parkinson’s I would need something which would work with my five year old daughter, with the flexibility of picking her up from school and having the work life balance, to be able to have the staff around me if I became ill and I can’t do every single day and still have an income coming in.

Having something which would be familiar to my environment, which was anatomy and physiology, I was a personal trainer many years ago, so looking at feet, gaits and posture with fitted shoes went hand in hand with this. Working with children is also another tick box as it was something I always wanted to do, but never qualified in a children’s industry. So when I saw Stampede up for sale, I just thought, ok, I’ve never worked for myself, just do it! So I took the opportunity and I bought Stampede on the 4th of May 2017. It’s hard work but still very fulfilling and I love it!”

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Image for Key & Quill Ltd
Creative & Marketing

Fred Latty and Hannah Patterson

Key & Quill Ltd

“We met when Hannah was working in marketing for a local theatre, and Fred was a lifestyle journalist in Tunbridge Wells. It wasn’t long before we became good friends, and soon began working together in publishing.

Earlier this year, we decided to take the leap and go it alone, officially launching Key & Quill at the start of July. It’s been a wonderful whirlwind of an adventure ever since; we’ve met some incredible – and incredibly supportive – people along the way, and our client base is continuing to go from strength to strength. Offering blogging for businesses and brands, our particularly keen interest in food and drink has led to some fantastic collaborations with leading restaurants and producers throughout the South East, as well as a variety of other industries and sectors. With a focus on providing ‘quality content for a modern audience’, we tell our clients’ stories through engaging blogs and posts that capture the essence of who they are and what they do. Ours is a softer approach that combines great writing and digital expertise, to entertain and inspire their audience and customers through strong content first and foremost.”

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Image for Calvermont
Creative & Marketing

Laura And Olivia

Calvermont

“We set up Calvermont because we have been working for big corporate companies in London for a long time, predominantly for property investors and national campaigns. We live in Tunbridge Wells and are really keen to bring our business locally. We’re both Mums, so our question was - if we can work for global names, why couldn’t we do the same for local businesses and places that we’re emotionally and long term personally invested?

We could be close to our children and help provide for their future, both in terms of helping the local community in which they are going to grow up in and in terms of being closer to them with a more flexible lifestyle. We’re a PR & communications agency, with work spanning across the brand picture as well. We’ve worked across schemes such as Here East and East Village on the Olympic Park, as well as the Raffles and Kempinski Hotel Groups. We devise business, brand and placemaking programmes to help projects come alive and add value for stakeholders and communities, as well as supporting planning processes, business change and crisis. Our name Calvermont was born from a mix of Calverley Park and Claremont Road in Tunbridge Wells, two local destinations our HQ sits between. Our values are create, collaborate and communicate.”

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Image for DMP LLP Chartered Building Surveyors
Commercial Property

John Whitlock

DMP LLP Chartered Building Surveyors

“Right from the beginning, from a very early age and all the way through school and college I’ve always wanted to be an architectural consultant. I went to University and afterwards literally walked straight into a job, right here at DMP and here I still am 15 years later!

Here we went through the change of the construction industry just after the recession of 2009 as well as the stage when the business associates here were looking to retire. By 2013, this had set in motion the mechanism for me to take over the business. Over time I’ve seen a steady growth in both clients in this area and all over the South East and London as well as staff. We used to operate on 5 to 7 staff, we’re now a team of 10 and we’re always looking to recruit. One of our struggles is getting good talent into Tunbridge Wells with such good connections into London where the earning potential is much higher. We’ve invested heavily in marketing over the last three years, investing a big percentage of our turnover keeping our website market leading and current as well as rebranding in 2016 and being awarded our ISO9001 Accreditation last year. We’re carrying out a lot more commercial work and really want to be a one-stop shop for local businesses, individuals and home owners alike, where we can do anything for them from extending the property or handing over the keys at the end of a substantial refurbishment or new build project. I’m very meticulous and have a very good attention to detail with a strong understanding on how buildings are put together. Last year I was nominated as Business Person of the year 2018 through the Tunbridge Wells Times. I’m more of a technically minded architectural consultant making sure things work off plan and not just on a pretty drawing."

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Image for Thomas Mansfield Solicitors
Legal

Neill Thomas

Thomas Mansfield Solicitors

"In 2004, Jonathan Mansfield and I established Thomas Mansfield Solicitors specialising in employment law. We wanted to give a really good service without charging astronomical sums. We became popular in London as our practice grew. Over the years we have recruited an excellent team of solicitors, many of them from the larger City or regional firms.

In 2014 the government introduced a fee for employment tribunal claims, which had quite a negative impact on our business in 2015/16 and made us think about spreading our risk profile. I always thought family law would do well in Tunbridge Wells. Although there are many firms of solicitors not many purely specialise in family law so I saw an opportunity. In 2017, we recruited Susi Gillespie, a very experienced family lawyer to target the Kent commuter towns. Later, we employed Anthony Kiernan followed by Alice Scambler, both very experienced family lawyers. In February 2018, we opened an office in Tunbridge Wells and the business took off. We have also hired two family solicitors for our London office. In 2017 the Supreme Court overturned the government’s decision to introduce employment tribunal fees so now both aspects of our business are thriving. This year we are looking to open an office in Guildford and establish a new department specialising in wills and probate. Much of our success has been down to getting involved in the local business community and I’m happy to say it’s thriving in Tunbridge Wells."

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Image for ABMV Ltd
Finance

Andy Myers

ABMV Ltd

"I was a late entry into the accountancy profession, I actually Chartered qualified in my late 20’s in Sheffield, after having done nearly 9 years in the RAF. Once I qualified, you can imagine my delight when my first job post qualification was in Bermuda! So I spent three years in paradise, but then I got it slightly wrong by getting my next job on the Isle of Man, where the weather was different!

I was in my early 30’s and whilst being on the Isle of Man for around a year I realised I was ready to set up by myself. I had always admired my father, who’s still alive, for being in business. He’s not an accountant but I had always respected him for being an entrepreneur. So I came back to the UK and rather going back to the North, because of my network, I felt it best to be near London. We loved Kent, and West Kent specifically, and had friends near Sevenoaks so we based ourselves here. The accountancy business (ABMV Ltd) started in a shoe box room in a house in Matfield, starting with one client from the Isle of Man and one from Australia, and with this overseas consultancy it allowed me to grow the business locally and we became a more conventional, local accountancy practice. I’m one of those people who just can’t sit still. I love fresh challenges and I really enjoy working in the West Kent’s business community. I’ve bought and sold a few businesses over the years and, dare I say it, I enjoy it more than the tax calculations!”

[close story]

View more

Link to show more

Read Story

Sign up today