Category Archives: hair and beauty

Direct Sales

Happy New Year!!  New Year is traditionally a time when we think about making a new start.  Many Mums start doing some Direct Sales as a way of earning a bit of extra money in a sociable role that they really love.  Direct Sales means getting a group of people together and showing and selling them your products.  It’s a way for a group of friends to have a nice evening in and do a bit of shopping from the comfort of their own home, but with the opportunity to try before they buy.  It’s perfect for Mums as it’s so flexible, you set your own hours and targets.  It’s also great for Mums as becoming a Mum has likely introduced them to a whole new social circle who are likely to be in their target market.

There are so many companies now offering these positions (Pampered Chef, Neal’s Yard Organics, Craft Superstore, Avon, Kleeneze, Usborne Books, Body Shop to name a few), you are bound to find one that sells products that you are passionate about and can enjoy selling.  You can choose to sell at evening parties at a host’s home, daytime groups (playgroups etc), a party in your own home, at events like school fetes, or door-to-door.  With most of these companies you now also get a personal website so you can do some online sales as well, and customers can buy your products again and again without coming to more parties.

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Anita started working as an Usborne organiser in Exeter in 2012. She is a mum of two and already worked part time, but needed to find a way to boost her income. Direct Sales was a good option for her, as it had such flexible hours to fit around her part time work and children. You can even take your kids along with you when you are hosting book parties so this saves on childcare.

“I love their children’s books and also meeting other people so the work is enjoyable. It doesn’t always feel like work because parties can take the form of coffee mornings, playdates or even an evening with wine and nibbles! I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for people trying to get back into employment, especially parents with young children.”

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Caroline is Mum to Jack, 4, and works part time in Customer Services. She became a Pampered Chef consultant in October 2011. Pampered Chef sell high quality kitchenware, and during their parties consultants use the products to cook some goodies for all the guests!

“I was recruited at a Pampered Chef party hosted by a friend. It’s not something I would ever have dreamed of doing but I love it. I love the flexibility, meeting new people, my new cooking skills and newly acquired confidence.”

As well as the social aspect of hosting parties, most of these companies bring their consultants together on a monthly basis, so there are additional networking opportunities. Caroline has met many other Mums at these meetings who have also used Direct Sales as a stepping stone into work after having children:

“Having children seems to lower women’s confidence and it can take a while to build this back up. I can honestly say that the women I meet now are so confident and love what they do.”

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Nicole has two young daughters and works as a Supply Teacher.  She attended a Neal’s Yard Organics Party at a friend’s house and was so impressed with the products that she decided to become a consultant herself.

“I’d thought about different ways of supplementing my income and maybe trying out running my own business, and after investigating yoga for children franchises I decided that the cost of these was completely out of my league and the risk was too great. A friend mentioned that Neal’s Yard did something and it wasn’t expensive so I had a look. There was a special offer on for that month and signing up was half price … only £50, so a bit of a no-brainer! I knew that the company upheld what I believed in and were ethically sound. So I had nothing to lose! And I hadn’t even been to a party! It has been a great way of adding to my income … you get out what you put in. And I have a house full of products for myself and family! I consider myself to be the local ‘tester’ so when people ask me about certain products I can speak with confidence! The training is great; loads of opportunities for face to face and phone training, as well as two conferences per year and endless incentives. It can be hard work but I know that I can boost my income at certain times of year if I need to save for something.”

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Direct Sales could give you the skills and experience you need to improve your employment potential too.

Naomi trained as a Beauty Therapist at college.  She became pregnant when she was 18 so did not have the chance to gain much work experience.  After having her son, she started doing Direct Sales for The Body Shop At Home.  Through this experience she gained lots of new skills and confidence, and when a job opportunity came up with Benefit – one of her favourite cosmetics brands, she leapt at the chance.

“I love my job.  I’d never have had the confidence or experience needed to do it if I hadn’t worked for The Body Shop At Home first.”

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Have you considered Direct Sales? Have you been to any parties like those described above? If you’d like to discuss some of the options for getting started, give us a call on 0800 043 2440.

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Filed under childcare, food, hair and beauty, Inspirational Women, lone parent, retail, self employment, work-life balance

Face Painting

Back in June, we had a team building day where we all learnt to face paint with Cats Whiskers from Bristol.  It was great fun (though unfortunately my boys don’t let me practice on them!) and we now offer this free service to community events.  We hope that free face painting will help to keep the kids smiling at your event, and help to promote your community group as well as promoting our services.  If you’d like us to attend one of your events, call us on 0800 043 2440.

Face Painting Face Painting Face Painting

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Super Mums Club Launch Event

On Monday, we will be offering free face painting, and giving out free copies of our magazine at this event, see you there!

SUPER MUMS CLUB OPENING EVENT MON 2nd DEC 10-12PM at the COURTENAY CENTRE, NEWTON ABBOT

SUPER MUMS CLUB is a place especially for busy MUMS to get pampered, take a workshop or class, get information from local services and advice on things such as parenting & work options. Mums can try & buy local products, or just relax with a cuppa while your under 5’s play with Pandamonium, our cheeky panda mascot in the play areas! We have some childcare time available for you so you can have a little time to yourself to indulge in a mini treatment, enjoy an activity or watch some demonstrations! Come and join us at the new mums playground! Our Mission is to help mums with small children access all the things that mums may need & enjoy. To give mums a little bit of ME time and to motivate, inspire or just relax them, while at the same time helping promote local small businesses, especially those owned by mums too.
We will be opening Super Mums Club in Newton Abbot, Torbay & Exeter in January. For information about what’s on offer at our OPENING EVENT  see our Facebook page. It’s all for you! So come along for a taster of what we will have for you in the new year!
If you have a business that would benefit our Super Mums please get in touch.
£5 per family. Includes a drink & 2 hours Mums & baby/toddlers play. Access to mini treatments/workshops & activities. Discounted shopping & services. Half an hour crèche space for first child. Or 1 hour with a paid workshop/activity. Additional crèche spaces available at £1 extra per child.

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Angel Face

A few years ago, in a previous job, I was looking for voluntary work for a customer and stumbled across some opportunities to volunteer in a Bridal shop.  It wasn’t right for that customer, but it looked like such an amazing opportunity, I stored it away in my memory for the future.  Fast forward a couple of years, and my boyfriend surprised me with a proposal!  I immediately remembered the shop that I’d seen all those years ago, and got on Google to see if they were still there.  I was in luck.  I got in touch with Angel Face and a few days later (and more than a year before the wedding itself) I found myself in there trying on what would become my wedding dress.  (In my haste, I tried that dress on, not in the traditional company of my Mum and bridesmaids, but of my 3 month old son.)

Angel Face is much more than a bridal boutique.  They are a social enterprise.  They provide fantastic, friendly and personal service that makes you feel like the first bride they have ever worked with, and then they invest their profits in young people.  They create training, sponsorship and employment opportunities – helping young people discover their talents – in design, seamstressing, modelling, photography or event planning.  They also showcase young and local designers in their shop.

If you are lucky enough to be looking for a wedding dress, I highly recommend visiting Angel Face’s lovely shop on the river in Buckfastleigh, Devon.  You can also follow them on Facebook.

The Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust

Supporting families since 1853.  The Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust (FTCT) was founded over 150 years ago, to support disadvantaged children, whose parents or carers work in the UK fashion and textile industry.  We provide grants to support all aspects of a child’s well-being including sickness, disability, bereavement, and issues arising from financial hardship.   Here in Devon, thousands of parents are, or have been, employed in retailing in clothing or shoe shops, working in manufacturing or working in our historic Mills. When family crisis strikes or financial hardship takes hold, children are often on the frontline of suffering.  This amazing charity provides essential grants to ensure every affected child can still thrive and achieve their dreams.  Learn more about FTCT here.

The BIG Little Dream Company

This is the non-profit arm of Angel Face devoted to helping children and young people gain self confidence, skills and belief in their talent.   We provide a broad range of skills based programmes to help discover and nurture the best talent in the South West, particularly amongst children, young people and women who have faced significant barriers in their lives.   We believe passionately in the heritage of local communities and reviving skills in industries that have declined here in the UK.   We want to inspire a new generation of designers, craftsmen and women, sales and marketing leaders and young entrepreneurs who embrace the concept of social enterprise.   We link emerging young leaders with experienced industry contacts to provide mentoring and support as they set about turning their dreams into a big reality.  We aim to contribute to the re-generation of vibrant, prosperous local communities here in the South West.  For more information:  01364 644988

 

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Filed under charity, creative, hair and beauty, Inspirational Women, retail, retraining

Face Painting

In June, the Opportunity Plus South West team all got together to do a Face Painting course with Cats Whiskers from Bristol.  We had so much fun turning each other into tigers and pirates and butterflies!  But this was more than a team building day.  Part of our lottery funding is for us to support local community groups.  We thought that offering free face painting at community events would be a great way to get people involved and to help with fundraising.

On the 7th August, Chloe went along to the Mary Rose Community Centre in Buckland, Newton Abbot.  They were holding a celebration event for the Breastfeeding Peer Supporters who have recently completed their training with Healthy Babies UK to volunteer and help new Mums get to grips with breastfeeding.  This was also part of World Breastfeeding Week 2013.

Chloe painted the faces of around 10 of the older children, and it was really popular – some children came back more than once to be turned into something different!!

Do your children like having their faces painted?  What’s their favourite character to be painted as?  So far we have found Spiderman and Butterflies to be the most popular designs.

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I got married!

This weekend I married my super-Steve.  The last year of wedding planning, working, running my own business, training and volunteering as a breastfeeding peer supporter, and of course bringing up my two boys, has been busy to say the least – but it’s all been worth it and we had a great day.  I haven’t got the work-wedding-life balance right all the time, but I have managed to get through the busiest year of my life with a smile on my face – and that’s my main aim in life!  I keep telling myself that things will calm down post-wedding, but I’m sure I’ll be working on my next project soon!

The key to keeping on top of everything for me is LISTS.  My lists are the bane of Steve’s life, there are hundreds of lists all over our house and he hates every last one!  But without them I don’t think I’d be able to keep my head straight.  For me the act of writing out the list is the main thing, once it’s on paper, I can stop repeating it over and over in my head!  But crossing things off once they’re done is a real pleasure too.  I might even be known to put things on my list that I’ve already done, just so I can cross them off straight away!  (But don’t tell Steve that!)

Speaking of lists, over on the Opportunity Plus South West blog, I have written a list of all the great suppliers we used for our wedding.  If you are planning any kind of event, check out some of these great small companies (and let them know where you heard about them!).

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Filed under children, creative, employment, hair and beauty, Inspirational Women, online business, self employment, work-life balance

The Attic

Back in November, on the Opportunity Plus South West blog, we introduced you to Carmen Croxall, letting you know that she was an young entrepreneur to look out for.  Carmen started a small business making cake stands from vintage crockery, which, during 2012, developed into a vintage hire company, hiring out props to weddings and other events.

Photography by Steve Nuth Photography

Photography by Steve Nuth Photography

Last night, we were lucky enough to be invited to the launch party for Carmen’s new shop, The Attic, based on the very desirable Exeter Quay.  The Attic gives Carmen an opportunity to showcase some of the beautiful and unique products she has available for hire, as well as selling some antiques.  It will also be home to Vevi Graphic Design.

Photography by Steve Nuth Photography

Photography by Steve Nuth Photography

She has also teamed up with Beautiful You Makeover Experiences, offering a makeover experience where a group of friends can come and have a makeover, followed by a photoshoot using all of the lovely props available from The Very Vintage Hire Company.

Beautiful You Makeovers-The Attic

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Filed under creative, hair and beauty, Inspirational Women, lone parent, online business, retail