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Essex Business Woman’s unique business As Seen On TV!

As you may know we pride ourselves on being as passionate about your success as you and we aim to prove that to as many women in business as possible. Our Insiders are a small group of 90 business women that work together 24/7 when and how they want to grow their businesses and learn new skills to top up what they get from our face to face networking events and business growth events. Here we hear from Amanda Rutland from Gorgeous Gourds, a more unique business you may struggle to find!

What made you set up your business?

I loved my hobby & friends & family liked what I did & as my house was being overrun with gourds…..

How many years have you been in business?

Officially 1 year but I’ve been gradually growing & making for about 4 years now.

What do you love most about running your own business?

Doing something I love with a passion & selling to people who love what I do.

What do you hate most about running your own business?

Paperwork and trying to get my name out there to the people who would buy my art.

What benefits do you get from networking?

Still very new to this so not sure.

What would you say your greatest skill is? (Be honest you have lots!)

Difficult one this…. maybe my imagination & the fact there is so many aspects to creating a lamp, I can do most of them!

 Gorgeous gourds 
Essex business woman as seen on TV
As seen on TV – Kirsty’s Homemade Christmas!

What was the reason that you decided to be a member at The BWN?

To meet other ladies who share the same struggles & share what we do.

What do you see the future holding for your business?

My ultimate goal would be for my partner & I to give up our jobs & do the gourds full time.

Who would it be good to for you to know?

Interior designers, anyone who would appreciate & afford my work!

Amanda Rutland essex business woman on why she networks with the business womans network
Original art work for your home

We love Amanda’s honest answers. And will do all we can to help you make them a reality Amanda.

To learn more about Amanda’s products, buy for yourself or your loved ones, share with interior designers you know, connect with Amanda on social media before our next networking event visit her website Gorgeous Gourds here.

Did you know we helped members buy their first house, buy their first premises, take on their first staff and even quit their day job!

What could we help you to achieve?

Bring us your big ambitions and we will do all we can to ensure you get to meet the right experts to help you achieve your business dreams.

If you would like to feature in this interview that is promoted across our social media and in our newsletters, get in touch. We just ask that you have a Golden Ticket, sponsor the BWN website or are an Insider. We would love to write about you too!

  • December 17, 2019

Meet Essex Business Woman Raphaelle Cox & Her Business Passions

Meet our new member Raphaelle Cox who will be attending our Marks Tey Hotel events in Colchester Essex. Check out Raphaelle’s love for her business and how Raphaelle feels the BWN could be good for her business, thanks for sharing Raphaelle

What made you set up your business?

I set up my business because I am really passionate about empowering women to feel confident in who they are and what they do. I love design and authentic soulful branding, balanced alongside a healthy approach to the work/life balance. It is too easy in the modern western world to feel overwhelmed, over commit and lack self esteem. With an authentic brand style that truly reflects you and your business, increased energy and vibrant health, you can feel so empowered and confident. There are so many amazing women out they with great stories to share and I feel blessed to be able to support them to be seen and heard whilst living a healthy life along the way.

How many years have you been in business?

I have been in business 16 years.

What do you love most about running your own business?

I love watching the transformation when a woman reaches that point where she starts to trust & believe in herself again.

What do you hate most about running your own business?

The part of being in my business that I like the least is when you realise that you have not see or heard from anyone all day. In an office there are always people wondering around, but working from home can be lonely at times, there is no one to bounce an idea off, share a success, or talk about a challenge.

What would you say your greatest skill is? (Be honest you have lots!)

My greatest skill is I am a great listener, I am empathetic to the modern business womens’ challenges because I live through them too. I am unwavering in my honesty and I have an ability to seek out the root cause of the imbalance as it presents itself. I work on a very intuitive soulful level.

What was the reason that you decided to be a member at The BWN?

When I arrived at the BWN I felt really welcome, there was a strong energy of support before anything else, they really want to help you be the best you can be. Mandie is a great leader in sharing her genuine interest in your journey as a business women. It was more of a family rather than a group.

What do you see the future holding for your business?

I see my business being a platform for awakening, helping women remember how amazing they are. By stepping out from behind the shadows of out dated beliefs. To stand confidently remembering their true essence, no longer a projection of what they believe the world wants them to be.




  • February 7, 2016

Meet Essex Business Woman Michelle Taylor with an unusual goal…

Meet Michelle Taylor, Essex Marks Tey Hotel member. Michelle has changed careers and you could never guess her career choice! And we do hope Michelle gets her big wish. You can meet Michelle at our Essex events, and get to know her now and hear her big ambitions! WHAT MADE YOU SET UP YOUR BUSINESS? My husband Kev, is a retired Essex Police Sgt and when he first retired he was thumb twiddling for some time, not knowing what to do with himself…He all but fell into Wedding Photography 7 years ago and is now making great inroads into the business locally. Not wanting to be in the same position when I retired from the police, I started to think about what I wanted to do post retirement, it was still over 5 years away at the time, but I knew I did not want to be one of those retired officers that took up a Civvy post just to stay employed or focused. Kev suggested I picked up a camera and followed in his footsteps, I could not think of Essex Celebrant Michelle Tayloranything worse….Just like my cake decorating skills , I could picture in my minds eye a fantastic finished product, but lacked the skills to create said product from scratch…..I said ‘Id rather marry people’……So began my  research. I had heard of Humanists, but I believe in something rather than nothing so ruled them out of my equation…I stumbled by chance across the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants a small but upcoming organization, the cost of training was reasonable, so I took the plunge. I completed my Wedding and Family Celebrancy training in July 2011 and have not looked back since. I love spreading the love and joy that abounds at any family celebration and I was finally able to put my skills and creativity to good use, I can write a good story and what better story to tell of how two people met, fell in love and decided to get married. As well as Weddings I also write and conduct, Naming Ceremonies, Vow Renewals, Commitment Ceremonies and have (on one occasion only, I hasten to add) conducted a Doggy Wedding as a publicity stunt for the dogs owners. WHAT WAS THE REASON THAT YOU DECIDED TO BE A MEMBER OF THE BWN? In a word…… NETWORKING!!! I know someone who had attended a couple of meetings at the beginning of 2015Michelle Taylor - Essex Celebrant and she told me that the BWN was a great way to get myself  ‘out there’ …Meet likeminded business women and to pick up some tips and contacts along the way. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR YOUR BUSINESS? GROWTH & MORE GROWTH! I retired from the day job in October 2015 after a very hectic year, all of my spare time that year had been spent writing and conducting ceremonies. I always knew 2015 was going to be a tough year, two jobs and NO spare time, but it has been worth it. In my 1st 12 months I conducted just one ceremony, last year I did 16, this year I already have 20 booked in! I don’t want to be flat out like I was last year, I want to grow but at my pace, allowing me more time for family and friends, socializing etc, something that is very hard as a shift worker. I think I will find my work/ life balance…Finally…. As a self employed and very fulfilled Wedding Celebrant. I want to spread the word about Celebrants, not many have heard of us, I want the whole of Essex and beyond to learn that there is more to a good wedding than just the party after the ceremony. The ceremony itself should reflect each couple, their unique quirks and should be fun and laughter filled, not JUST a formality so we can say ‘We’re married’. I have had some cracking venues over the past few years, with more to come this year. I have worked and will be working with some awesome couples and families, and there is nothing the puts a cheesy grin on my face like saying  at the end of a wedding ceremony, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen please make some noise and be upstanding as I introduce to you Mr and Mrs………’ WHAT WOULD BE GOOD FOR YOU TO KNOW? ‘HOW, WHY, WHAT, WHEN, WHO’ We all need a helping hand to get our businesses seen and I want to learn it all….OK that may be a bit unrealistic, but each meeting is about learning

HOW to expand your business WHY you should do certain things to make your business grow WHAT you need to know to make a success of your business WHEN is the best time to do it……NOW !! WHO’S going to do it….ME!!

I’m always on the lookout for couples who want to step outside of the ‘normal’ box . I want venues to realise the worth of a Celebrant and I want to know how best to promote myself in this expanding industry… I want to be a cut above the rest and being a member of the BWN helps me to achieve all of the above. I’m up for any challenge, and the one I’ve set for this year? …Well, that’s to find a couple as mad as me who really, really want a Harry Potter themed ceremony… I have the wand, the cape and even some props…..I just need the couple now.

The BWN is a brand of excellence as far as I am concerned, and being a member shows to the outside world that I am wanting to expand my horizons, mix with some awesome women and LEARN.

Wow! Thanks Michelle, we are so pleased to hear of the benefits you get from our events and we hope you get your dream wedding!

  • January 25, 2016

Maldon Soap Company – Ethos, passion, goals & networking.

Our blog is always packed with great ideas, our business women and their ideas and now we introduce The Interview. Here Sue McKenna, tells us why she joined the BWN after just one event, why Sue is so passionate about her business and the ethos behind Maldon Soap Company ;

What made you set up Maldon Soap Company?

I have always been interested in health and beauty.  I was doing some research into cosmetic ingredients, what they do and why they are in our cosmetics.  I discovered that the soaps and cosmetics I was using from a popular ‘natural’ beauty company were not as pure and natural as they claimed so I decided that I just didn’t want to subject my skin to those chemicals any more.  I couldn’t find anything that was suitable for my incredibly sensitive skin that was affordable so I decided to have a go at making my own.

I started with lip balms and then created a hand cream – which is my best selling product today!  I wanted to make soap the traditional way without any additives or added foaming agents so in January 2013 I made my first batch of cold process soap and never looked back!

At first I made things for friends and family but when demand began to outstrip supply I realized that I might be able to create a little business out of it and I did! 🙂

How many years have you been in business?

I began making soap in January 2013 and started selling it properly (once I’d had all my safety assessments done) in June 2013 so I’m coming up for my second anniversary.

What do you love most about running your own business?

I love the fact that I am doing something I love and that people seem to love what I do.  I love the freedom I have to make my own decisions and that what I do is fun and exciting.  I love helping people choose the right products for their skin and it’s a wonderful feeling when they come back to buy more, saying that my products work perfectly without the need for any nasty additives.  I love that I use local ingredients that have not had to travel far and that, by buying locally, I can give money to the local community which benefits everyone locally. I also love that my products are affordable to all, they’re not elitist and they and don’t price anyone out of the market, so everyone can have natural, paraben and additive free products that help their skin.  And of course nothing is tested on animals.

What do you hate most about running your own business?

I hate the fact that I don’t have enough hours in the day to do everything that I need to do.  I still work part time which I have to do to pay the bills but, until I give that up, I can’t devote myself full time to the soap business and make it make money.  Catch 22 situation.

What benefits do you get from networking?

It’s great to meet with other women who have businesses because it makes me realize I’m not alone! I like the diversity of situations that the members are in, some are struggling like me (I’m not alone) and some are doing really well (something to aspire to).

What was the reason that you decided to be a member at The BWN?

I attended a meeting by invitation and felt comfortable straight away.  I have been to networking meetings where I have felt like a fish out of water but it wasn’t the case at BWN. Everyone is very friendly and interesting to talk to.

What do you see the future holding for Maldon Soap Company?

Well I’m not looking to take over the world! I would like to have more outlets to sell the products and eventually expand enough to be able to afford a shop on Maldon High Street and maybe expand the local aspect of the business to source and grow more local ingredients.  I’d like to be able to afford to pay for some help within the company to make things easier for me and I definitely want to give up my part time job.

We love Sue’s honesty and passion for her business and the future and want to be a part of making the big dreams happen. To learn more about Sue you can meet Sue at our Essex events and say Hi and “great interview” on Sue’s social media here;

Facebook Link:  https://www.facebook.com/maldonsoap.co.uk

Website Link: http://www.maldonsoap.co.uk/

Twitter Link: https://twitter.com/MaldonSoap

Sign up form for Maldon Soap Company monthly newsletter mailing list: http://eepurl.com/bkju3n



  • June 16, 2015

Michelle Taylor Speaks About The BIG Transition

After being a Police Officer for nearly 30 years (As I write this I have 194 days left to go!!!) The time came for me to start thinking of life outside of the ‘job’…It’s all I’ve ever known, I joined the cadets as a fresh faced 16 year old and the regulars at 18…My life thus far dedicated to trying to help others and make a small part of the world a safer place. I am only 48, too young to retire, but I wanted to find something that would take me on the next part of my life journey.

My husband retired from the police in 2009 and spent the first 18 months, recovering from 31 years of shifts and twiddling his thumbs before he followed his passion for photography and became a qualified Wedding Photographer….’Come and work with me’ he said…..’No chance’ I replied, ‘I’d cut heads and feet off…I’d rather marry people…..’

So the old cogs started whirring and I stumbled across the Fellowship of  Professional Celebrants, the organisation I trained with in 2011…My 5 year pre retirement plan was in place….

I am now a Wedding and Family Celebrant.

What is one of those I hear a lot of people ask……No I’m not a celibate…(although I am an old married woman so that probably goes with the territory!)

What I do, is wonderful and fulfilling, creating a ceremony that is truly reflective of the couples and families that I now have the pleasure of working with.

It’s a role I can combine with the day job and it gives me so much pleasure I don’t see it as a job…..People actually WANT to invite me into their home to discuss the biggest day of their lives and to tell me their life story.

I write and deliver bespoke Weddings, Vow Renewals, Naming and Adoption Ceremonies….In fact if you can think of an excuse to have a family celebration I can write a ceremony to reflect the love and feelings we humans can have for each other (and even the pets).

A Celebrant led wedding can be held anywhere, it does not require a licensed venue. It can include anything you wish from the secular to the spiritual.

I’ve conducted Weddings at a Zoo, In a Stately home, back gardens and Jimmy’s Farm.

The have ranged from fairly formal and traditional to Pagan and Steam Punk.

Your imagination really is your only limitation!

Everyone is different, everyone has a unique story to tell, I get to hear those stories, write a script and deliver them with warmth and humour. AND I can honestly say that all of the feedback I have thus far received has been amazing.

So as my retirement from my day job rapidly looms, I feel as ready as I can be for the transition, into a new career. A job that is so different but I think equally rewarding.

I can’t end without a shout out to Mandie and the BWN. I’m so glad that I have found her and her organisation.

I’ve learnt so much from the meetings I’ve attended so far this year…My Linkedin profile is generating contacts and views I never thought possible from just a few suggested tweaks, and the networking opportunities at the meetings have been second to none. I can’t wait until the end of the year when I can commit to attending the meetings properly…..That darn day job interfering again!

So……..What will your story be?

P.S. ….DESPERATELY looking for someone to book me for a Harry Potter themed wedding…I have the wand and the cloak….Just need the excuse……

(It’s great to have you on board Michelle and wish you every success with your new job, and will the Harry Potter wedding have a Hagrid and Dementors? We can’t wait to find out!)


  • May 22, 2015

Essex Business Woman Helping Change Lives In Africa

It is great to be a member of The BWN and its great to be back at all the events. I work for FSB and I look forward to telling you more about how it could be good for your business and save you money on the every day business essential but for now I want to say “I’m off to South Africa!”

No, not another holiday (courtesy of Half Moon Travel!) I’m afraid. I have invested both time and money in order to take part in a charity expedition in May with the Wilderness Foundation. The charity focuses on protecting the world’s last remaining wild areas and it’s wildlife, whilst making a difference to local communities

As part of the Wild Swans project I will be working with a community in Sedgefield supporting and engaging with young women in order to explore aspirations, build confidence, education and skills and ways to deal with the negative influences they face – We will also be helping with the development of their website, social media, and helping them produce marketing materials so they can encourage support.

The next part of the expedition will be backpacking and spending time with the anti-poaching White Rhino project to save this iconic species which is near to extinction…so an amazing, humbling and challenging experience all round!

I have funded the expedition expenses myself though I’m reaching out  to see if people would kindly sponsor me for taking part as I have pledged to raise £2000 of which 100% of monies received will go to the Wilderness Foundation and helping the Community project too.

If you would like to find out more about the expedition I’ve set up a Virgin Money Giving page; http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/AngelaLock2

I of course will also be at The Essex BWN events, so I look forward to seeing you there!

  • March 30, 2015

Super Star For The Day – Get That Business Womans Signature!

BWN Member by Day – Movie Star by Night Well not quite….but it’s been an exciting week for a small corner of Colchester!

For those who know Nicky Goodchild she is known for wearing an eye catching jacket and promoting her business as a https://old.thebusinesswomansnetwork.co.uk/?attachment_id=2446Personal Wellness Coach and Herbalife Distributor, but now Nicky would like to share what is going on in another exciting area of her life…..get ready with your autograph books!

“You might like to know about what’s been going on in my life as an actor recently.

This Monday 3rd March my first feature film was released on DVD, and other ‘platforms’, as they say. I play one of the leads in this ‘Beautifully British Steam punk Ghost Story’, which has won several awards at International Film Festivals.

In a fortuitous moment of good timing, it was released the day after The Oscars, so I managed to secure a high profile interview, which you can see here…Enjoy! here  

Available via Amazon, Fopp, Morrisons, HMV to buy the DVD and Amazon Prime & Blink Box to stream 


Nb. Don’t be put off by the UK DVD cover. It was the UK distributor’s idea. It DOESN’T do exactly what it says on the tin! Follow @DeathTheMovie and me @GoodchildByName and please SHARE the love. #WhatMarketingBudget?”

Congratulations Nicky on your new role and can we get your signature while its still in our price range? We know an opportunity when we see one!

(Images courtesy of Jayne Lloyd Photography)



  • March 6, 2014