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.

In 2007 I decided to return to Wales and 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. I had lots of fun taking her headshots.

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/

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Commercial photo shoot

When Sharon from Sharon Mckinley Designs asked me to photograph her upcoming collections in a commercial photo shoot I was very excited!

Her edgy handmade jewellery is gorgeous and I knew we'd be doing something a little bit different in the studio. We had loads of fun planning the session and even more on the day with all the different jewellery sets and clothes we had to play with.

Here's just a few of the images taken during the session. If you like what you see, head on over to her website and get yourself a treat!

See more of my work in my portfolio. Get in touch to book your shoot! For the latest news - follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Gem x

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Ugly House Shoot with George Clarke

On set with Channel Four's expert architect George Clarke, filming his new series 'Ugly House to Lovely House'.

Channel 4 says; "The series will champion the power of great architecture to transform undervalued and unloved British housing stock into exciting spaces in which to live. In each programme, innovative and awarding-winning architects will grapple with an "ugly" house and remodel it into a home that works and excites the owners. The results will be surprising, inspiring, and challenge our ideas about how we live in the 21st century."

George and his team visited South Wales to film this fantastic transformation using local building firm NKG Construction. I joined them during the build to document the changes. Below you can see the before, during and after images of this project. What a brilliant job! The house looks fabulous inside and out.

If you need commercial business images for your South Wales business - drop me a line to find out more.

See more of my business photography on my blog.

Gem

 


Documentary school photography

St David's Primary School in Colwinston asked me to create a black & white collage of documentary school photography for display in their reception area.

I know most of the children at the school, as my children also attend there. So, it's always fun to go in and photograph them at work and play.

Here are a few of the images of the children in action.  And yes, of course I had to sneak my two into the pictures.

See more of my work with children in my portfolio.

Keep up to date with all my latest shoots by following me on Instagram and Facebook.

Gem x