Leading businesswomen appearing at annual Women2Web conference

Emma Published Wednesday, 19th April 2017

Emma started off by making organic soaps on her kitchen table before going on to sell them in sub-zero temperatures at farmers' markets.

Within six months, Emma Heathcote-James' handmade soaps were lining the shelves of eight Waitrose stores across the region.

Emma's award-winning business journey with the Little Soap Company is just one of the tales that will be told at the third annual Women in Business conference #BrandYou at Spring Grove House in Bewdley on May 3.

The conference is an informative, fun celebration with sessions on branding and marketing amongst many other subjects. Attendees will have plenty of opportunities to network with other like-minded women in business as well as get the chance to showcase their business or products on one of the exhibition stands available.

Key note speaker Emma started up the Little Soap Company in 2008. Originally an insatiable one-woman band passionate about reducing the amount of chemicals and synthetics people unwittingly rub into their skin, the business has significantly grown.

After getting into Waitrose, the Little Soap Company then launched regionally into 45 Tesco stores and then nationally in to all Waitrose stores. Since then it's gone out to Boots, Booths, Sainsbury, Ocado, Wholefoods and Tesco.

Now based in beautiful Broadway, Emma has taken on a small team where a variety of Little Soap Schools run from the workshop, teaching others to make their own organic and natural soaps, creams, balms, perfumes and make up.

She said: "Running your own business is incredibly rewarding but a lot of hard work.

"I started by making soaps on my kitchen table and telling everyone I knew to use organic soap. I'd be up early to sell my products at farmers' markets in freezing cold temperatures but then you have to start somewhere. I always wanted my soaps to be on the shelves at Waitrose and within six months they were."

Another businesswoman speaking at the conference is Celia Felgate. Celia is the director of Fresh Nous, a marketing agency that has been operating in Droitwich for the past three years.

She said: "I sort of fell into marketing really and did a graduate scheme with Npower.

"I then realised I preferred analytical marketing so decided to start up my own company three years ago and just went for it.

"I always enjoyed connecting with customers which was one of my main drivers."

Celia said she was looking forward to attending the conference, adding: "Events like these are always brilliant. You meet a wide range of people with amazing talents. They have all different experiences with all kinds of perspectives and we're very much looking forward to the event."

Her session, titled Your Ideal Customer, is about providing practical help to allow business owners to focus on their core activities, while ensuring they receive a real return on any investment.

Nancy Poller, who is from Malvern, runs a company called Aligned Design Co, which creates logos and brand design for start-ups and businesses. Her session is called Discover Your Business Why and she is delivering it alongside Lucy Barcas from Whatwhenwhyhow Ltd.

Nancy said: "I'd had creative jobs throughout my whole career and then had the idea to start up on my own. I actually searched on the internet and came across Women2Web when I was first starting up.

"I read about courses in Malvern which is where I live. I met 12 or 13 different women at the first conference. It was a great networking event which is so important when you're starting your own business.

"I still have long term clients that I met at the first conference."

For Nancy, her love of design developed at a young age. She added: "I was never very good at art at school. I'd always been creative but in other ways. I used to like drawing the letters of the alphabet and using different fonts when I was about 10-years-old."

Lorna Jeynes, Project Manager from Worcestershire County Council, said: "I love hosting Women2Web. The buzz in the room when you get a group of women together always amazes me and we are really excited for our third annual conference."

The conference is taking place from 9.30am to 3.30pm. Trade stands are available at a cost of £40. Please contact Katie Ainsworth on 01905 843992 to reserve a stand.

To secure your place on the conference, please book via: http://apps.business-central.co.uk/apps/ViewEvent.aspx?Event=1586