When Breakfast Meets Soap

Guest article by Sally Dhillon of Career Mums

The early risers at last week’s Balsall Business Club were in for a treat as Emma Heathcote-James, founder of Little Soap Company, told her spellbinding story of shifting from completing her philosophy doctorate at Birmingham University, then building her media career to start producing organic, home-made soap in her Cotwold cottage kitchen.

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Inspired by the non-drying, natural soap that her Grandma used, she started making soap from a children’s crafting kit, and after unsuccessful trial and error, bought some soap recipes from a local producer.

Within 6 weeks, she achieved her ambition of selling her bars to her local Waitrose store – amazing given that this was a hobby business for Emma. She has subsequently gone on to grow the business and her organic soap ranges are available through many national chains including Tescos, Sainsburys and Boots.

Emma’s inspirational talk took us through many snapshot moments in which she made significant decisions that have lead to creating today’s hugely successful business. Many of these snapshots were critical times when the business could have easily folded or turned in quite different directions. Emma seeps tenacity, go-getting ambition and courage built on by overcoming each of these milestones. She now employs a small team in her Broadway-based factory, office and shop and she has won many awards for her product range and enterprising skills. This base also houses The Little Soap School which is teaching people how to produce ethical and organic soap products and is having a global reach.

The most striking messages from Emma were:
The importance and influence of her family in creating her business
How she has learned and grown the most when the stakes have been against her.

Along with my business partner, Nishi Mehta, our business has equally been strongly influenced by our family situations – just like Emma’s. I am continually curious as to how and why people get into the professions and jobs that they find themselves in – so it was lovely to hear her story.

As a partner in Career-Mums, we are a local business that helps parents to return to work after a career break and supports employers to make the most of this amazing pool of talent. We run inspirational and confidence-boosting workshops and/or individual sessions for people who want to relaunch their career – perhaps starting their own business, securing a job that fits around family life or retraining for a new career.

If you have a desire to turn a hobby into a business, need the motivation and nudge to try something new or want to explore potential work avenues, we’re here to help you. www.career-mums.co.uk/returners/

The next Balsall Business Club meeting is on Friday 18 November. Find out more and sign up on their website.

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Christmas at Oakes Farm Shop

Oakes Farm Shop is gearing up for Christmas. This Saturday they are hosting a turkey tasting session with Adlington Ltd.

Everyone is welcome to come along to ‘try before you buy’ between 10.30am and 2pm on Saturday 28 November. The producers themselves will also be on hand to offer cooking tips and answer any questions that you may have.

Adlington Ltd are just one of three local businesses supplying meat to Oakes Farm customers this Christmas. So if you’d like to support them find out more on Oakes Farm Christmas webpage.

Christmas orders are now being taken for collection on 22, 23 or 24 December.

Oakes Farm Shop are also producing a range of Christmas hampers for the first time this year.

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Boost your Business

More than 60 local businesses have now been to a Balsall Business Club networking meeting.

Members range from sole traders working from home in the village to representatives of larger firms based in the area.

The next meeting will be on Friday 20 November at 7.30am. The guest speaker will be Jill Bowman of On Target Training. Ahead of December’s speed networking session, Jill will help us to create a perfect elevator pitch, ideal for explaining our businesses in one minute or less. Please, please sign up via this link so we can order enough breakfast.

The group usually meets on the third Friday of each month for breakfast at the British Legion. Each attendee gets to introduce themselves to the group and there is a guest speaker. Members offer discounts to other members and have really helped each other’s businesses grow and develop by providing advice, information, support, and referrals.

December’s meeting will follow a slightly different format. It will be an evening meeting, again at the British Legion, with speed networking and mince pies and mulled wine. It will be a great opportunity to meet other local business people.

Please arrive around 6.45pm. The speed networking session will start at 7.15pm, once it’s is underway latecomers won’t be able to join in, although you can still have your mince pie and mulled wine! The cost is £5 payable on the night, again please sign up if you’d like to come along.

If you’d like to know more about attending or joining please contact Claire Turner on 07999 696131 or email

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Dental team take war on sugar into the community

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The health conscious team at Balsall Common Dental Practice have gone all Jamie Oliver on us by taking their war on sugar into the community. Their schools engagement programme forms part of this effort and includes sessions such as their recent ‘Meet the Parents’ session at Meriden Primary School in September.

 

“These sessions are a great opportunity to educate parents about the risks of not only tooth decay, but also diabetes, heart disease and obesity” explains Clinical Manager Rebecca Swalwell.

 

“We have been visiting Meriden Primary School for a number of years now and were delighted when Kaylee and I were invited to return to the school again this year to meet some of the new parents.”

 

“Everyone was shocked at how much sugar is hidden in food and drinks marketed as a healthy alternatives.
Within the practice we have always had the philosophy that prevention is better than cure. Educating parents and children is key to helping the next generation. Our approach has dramatically reduced the amount of decay we see in our regular patients!”

Sugar Swaps

Kaylee with her Sugar Swaps game.
Kaylee with her Sugar Swaps game.

Kaylee introduces Sugar Swaps, the educational game designed to raise awareness about the incredible amount of sugar found lurking in every day food and drinks. One of the team’s favourite examples is the 9 cubes of sugar lurking in some bottles of flavoured water, more than a can of coke!

 

To learn more about preventative care for children at Balsall Common Dental Practice visit their dedicated web page:

 

Children’s Dentistry