Business Headshots with Claire

"I've got some great images, absolutely love the garage shots...I really enjoyed the shoot." Claire

 

Meet Claire. Claire is Mum of two gorgeous children (you might have seen her family session a few months ago on my website). Now that the kids are getting a bit older Claire, a dancer and physiotherapist, has decided to bring her knowledge and passion from her previous jobs into a brand new business.

Tell us about your new business venture
My new venture is called 'Claire Marks Dance', the aim of my business is to bring high quality dance workshops into local primary schools, where children can flourish and teachers can learn new skills.
Why did you decide to start the business?
My origins are in dance, I trained at London Contemporary Dance School back in the 1990's, going on to dance professionally for many years. So it made sense to return to my first true passion. I believe dance is an essential part of the curriculum for children, and feel that I can offer a unique specialist service to schools.
What were you doing before you started your business?
After retiring from dance I retrained to be a Physiotherapist, then in 2008 I became a Mummy to Alfie, then four years later to Tilly. I've been a stay at home Mummy for the last 9 years! Becoming a mother has been the best job in the world, I've loved every second of being at home with my gorgeous pair.
How do you juggle being a mother and working at the same time?
My company is still in the very early stages, so I haven't really had to learn to juggle yet! But hoping with Breakfast club, after school club, and family I'll manage to successfully work 3 days a week.
What do you love most about being a mother?
Waking up knowing that I have two beautiful children to cherish is the most precious gift in the world. I love watching their relationship grow, they argue like all siblings, but they also have the most wonderful friendship. Being a mother is the hardest but most rewarding job I have ever had, I hope I never take that for granted.
Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to start their own business?
Give it a go, you'll never know if you can succeed if you don't try. Listen to all advice that is offered, there's a lot to take in setting up on your own.
If you'd like more information on the workshops Claire Marks Dance can offer please get in touch:

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Business Headshots with Helen

“ Gemma was so good at putting me at ease, I hate having my photo taken and yet she made the whole experience enjoyable.  I’m also really pleased with the photos, they are perfect and just what I was hoping for, no actually they’re better!” Helen

 

Tell us about your new business venture?

I’ve recently set up my own company, Heronsbridge Consulting, which works with organisations and smaller businesses to help them grow.  Basically when a business isn’t sure what it wants to do next or finds it difficult to prioritise, I help them develop strategies to grow and differentiate in competitive markets.  Together, we establish a plan that works for them, setting clear goals and targets.  We look at everything, from distribution to marketing, to business case development to customer targeting to brand positioning.  Being small, I can easily adapt and tailor what I do to meet the client’s needs.

My first engagement has been working with the Office of National Statistics on formulating their Digital Services and Technology Strategic 3 year plan.  I have really enjoyed working with them and working in a different industry has been really interesting.  I am also working with smaller business clients who are looking for ways to expand and make their business a success.

What were you doing before you started your business?

I’ve pretty much always worked in strategy and planning roles.  I worked as a Management Consultant in the City of London and that gave me the opportunity to travel across Europe and work for some fantastic organisations.

I decided to return to Wales in 2007 and at that time I started to work for Principality Building Society.  I worked there for nine years across various roles, mainly in the fields of Project Management and Strategy.  My last role there was as Head of Customer Insight and Strategy, which I absolutely loved. However, after working there for so long I wanted a change and to work in a role where I could interact with many companies on developing their ambitions, rather than being tied to just the one.  There aren’t many consultancy firms of this nature in Wales and so I decided to set up on my own.

Why did you decide to start the business?

As I mentioned, I really started to miss the excitement of working with different companies on different ventures.  I’d enjoyed working at Principality, but having mainly established their strategy there was little more to be done that would be new and challenging for me.

There are so many great established organisations in Wales and also some very exciting new businesses being set up here, that I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to use my skills and expertise to help these companies grow and to stand out in an ever increasingly tough market.  I also like the challenge of being my own boss. It’s always been something that I had in my sights and by taking the plunge I hope that I show my children that it is worth taking the risk and putting in the hard work to achieve your dreams.

Is there anything you have learnt from being a mum that helps you in your work life?

Absolutely. I think since I have been a mum I am much more organised and probably a lot more patient. You need to be when you have three little ones to run about after.  I also have a motto of ‘Being Present’, it just means that I try to 100% focus on whatever it is that I am doing.  So when I’m at work I am completely focused on that and when I’m with the kids they have my undivided attention.  I also think being a mum has made me braver in terms of what I take on and set out to achieve, as it’s always at the back of my mind that I am a role model to them.

How do you juggle being a mother and working at the same time?

I am very lucky to have a strong support network.  My husband is very supportive and is also hands on with the kids, he even does the night shifts more than me as I am so rubbish without sleep.  My parents have always been a fantastic support to us and they have my three little ones two days a week when I am at work. On top of that they will also babysit, although I try not to ask them too often.  I really don’t know how we would manage without them.   I also have a great Nanny that helps out on other days. She first looked after my boys before they started school and is now back with us since we have had our number three.  

By working for myself I am lucky that I can be flexible when I need to, it just takes good diary management and a lot of organisation.  If anything I think my little ones benefit. They know I am always there for them whenever they need me but they also know they have a wider circle of people that love them and who they can also count on.

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to start their own business?

Go for it! Even if for some reason it doesn’t work out, you will never regret trying, but you will regret it if you don’t give it a go.  The other bit of advice I would give is to do your research and be clear on what you are trying to achieve.  Bounce ideas off people you know and trust to see whether your business idea makes sense. If you can’t explain what it is that you do, then it’s unlikely that your customers will understand you or buy into your business.  

Helen Sandford-Taylor, Director of Heronsbridge Consulting

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Business Headshots with Sian

"I would recommend Gemma because she is a very talented photographer and has an infectious personality. She knows how to put people at ease, creating a relaxed and friendly environment in order to capture your best side!" Sian

 

Business Headshots by Gemma Griffiths PhotographyMeet Sian, aka Cowbridge Moos. If you are local and haven't heard about her, then you must have been living under a rock! Sian has created a fantastic online local community (commoonity) to celebrate Cowbridge and the Vale.

Tell us about your new business venture?

Well, after updating my skills portfolio over the last six months through a fully CPD accredited course I have graduated as a Social Media Manager. 
 My new skills enable me to collaborate with businesses to increase their brand’s presence on social media platforms, through engagement with key influencers and targeting an audience who are interested in that company’s product or service. A mistake companies often make is to assume that the more followers you have the more successful you will be - this is incorrect: it’s about engaging with  a targeted audience, that way influencers and brand advocates are more likely to share your content and talk about your product or service.

Why did you decide to start the business?

After a career break of 8 years during which I was full-time mum to my two boys, I decided I needed to get back in to the workplace, yes to earn some money, but also to rediscover the confident, professional business woman I once was but who had, before the course, disappeared under a rock! Being a full-time mum is enormously rewarding and I have been extremely fortunate to have been able to be at home for my children - I’ve loved every minute of being there for them. However, for me, the down-side was I lost all my self-confidence as a professional, hardly recognising that previous life/ go-getter. So, after years at home with the kids, through my learning experience I have finally found the confidence to regain my own identity and to find rewarding freelance work that fits in around family life on my terms.

What were you doing before you started your business?

I had a successful career as a retail clothing buyer. This involved lots of international travel for long periods of time, early starts and late finishes at the office, big targets to beat and loads of stress. Don’t get me wrong, before the boys came along I thrived in this environment - it was a very exciting time for the budget retail market and growth was fast in our sector, so we enjoyed masses of success. But, it wasn’t the right career for me with a young family as I hated leaving them and would only really see them at bedtime.

How do you juggle being a mother and working at the same time?

Having just graduated, I am looking for opportunities as they say! 
 In terms of how I will juggle both, the beauty of social media is it never sleeps, plus my work is freelance and can be done on the move from my mobile device wherever I happen to be.

What do you love most about being a mother?

I love everything about being a mum - before they came along I couldn’t imagine my life with them and now they are here, I cannot imagine my life without them.

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to start their own business?

Someone once gave me a great piece of advice - she said you have to have ‘fake confidence’, even if every bone in your body is telling you to run, don’t, face a new challenge head-on, tell yourself you can do this! You will have loads of wobbles on the way but just stick at it!

If you would like to increase your brand profile on social media and you’d like to know more, Sian would love to hear from you  - get in touch via Facebook or Twitter.

 Have a look at Sian's work by visiting the platforms below:

https://twitter.com/cowbridgemoos

https://www.facebook.com/cowbridgemoos/

https://www.instagram.com/cowbridgemoos/Business Headshots by Gemma Griffiths PhotographyBusiness Headshots by Gemma Griffiths PhotographyBusiness Headshots by Gemma Griffiths PhotographyBusiness Headshots by Gemma Griffiths PhotographyBusiness Headshots by Gemma Griffiths Photography


Business Headshots with Nicola Wilkes

"Thank you so much also for the lovely images. I loved every minute of it and am recommending you already!" Nicola

 

Tell us about your business?

It's a wonderful myriad of all things interiors, design and architecture...One day I might be writing about a beautiful house for a magazine such as Ideal Home or Grand Designs, another might involve being up at 5am to shoot an amazing building as the sun rises. Other days I could be designing a room scheme for someone's home; writing a piece for my blog, 'Settled', or working with one of my specialist design clients on their business strategy. No two days are the same which I love!

Why did you decided to start the business?

Having worked in the interiors industry for the last 15 years I'm always fully immersed in design so to be able to combine all the things I love - writing, editing, producing and coaching - all under one business umbrella works for me. Interior design is in my DNA as my parents were interiors enthusiasts and were always re-decorating or trailing us around Habitat as children, completely involving us all the time. So I grew up being very aware of my surroundings. With some unsuccessful stints working for various companies, I quickly realised that working for myself was key to my success and I've never looked back.

What were you doing before you started your business?

I've always worked in sales and retail - predominantly in the beauty industry when I was much younger, then for a fantastic furniture business called Momentum in Cardiff which gave me the most amazing introduction to the world of commercial interior design that I could have hoped for! I've also studied magazine journalist to PhD level and continue to work towards getting my formal qualification.

How do you juggle being a mother and working at the same time?

I think any working mum would admit that there is no winning formula. But I have learnt the hard way that you can't have it all. I've made some huge changes in the last year to my business structure, deciding to sell one part of it to focus on the area I love the most. This has meant I have got lots more 'me time' back, as well as better quality of family life such as being there to pick the children up from school, walk the dog and enjoy going to a yoga glass. My mindset now works around the basis that if I look after myself I can look after everyone else better!

What do you love most about being a mother?

My children constantly inspire me. I love seeing things through their eyes and I'm always wondering what lovely young people they will grow up to be; anticipating the things that will drive them forward on their individual paths! I love seeing them each develop their individual personalities, hopes and dreams. I especially love travelling with them, opening up new horizons and experiences.

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to start their own business?

Find what you love to do and do it! The best thing about being self-employed is that there are no limits. I was driven to start my own business as a single mother at 24. I knew if I was to go to work and leave a little bundle of joy I had to love every minute and 15 years and three children later, I am still as enthusiastic as I was on day one, if not, more so! Just be prepared for hard work, grit, an enormous amount of strength, good days and bad days. But at the end of it, the most satisfying and empowering rewards that you've created a business and life you love.

Social media handles:

instagram @mysettledhome

www.thesettledhome.com

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