International Women’s Day is an annual opportunity to step back and applaud inspirational women from every walk of life. Here at Handepay, we want to shine a light on two of the inspirational female business owners within our network of independent business owners.
This year, we have picked out Kim Fox, owner of Mockbeggar Farm Shop in Kent, and Kerry Docherty, founder of the Wild Flowers florist in Wigan. Here, they share some advice to others thinking of starting their own business, as well as insight into how they adapted to survive the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mockbeggar Farm Shop, Rochester
Kim Fox owns Mockbeggar Farm Shop. She made a radical career shift, having previously worked as a Chief Operating Officer for a major insurance company, to set up an independent business specialising in fresh, local produce. Kim has gone the extra mile in the last year by setting up a delivery service for elderly and vulnerable people, as well as ensuring the highest levels of health and safety for customers visiting the shop.
On her advice to women interested in starting their own businesses, Kim says: “Don’t be afraid to do it. Look into it, research it, get advice, ask questions, but ultimately do it. My experience has been a bit of a whirlwind! 2020 was only our second year so we’re still learning and adapting. In the festive period, we even turned the tea room into a Christmas shop.
“We’re very much an all women team! That was another adjustment that I had to make. I came from an industry which was very male dominated and it was very hard for women to get senior roles. There’s much better gender balance in the farming industry.”
Wild Flowers, Wigan
Kerry Docherty has been running Wild Flowers since 2010. After a career in banking where a company car, travel and other benefits came as standard, Kerry traded it all to pursue her passion in floristry and run her own enterprise. She has used the last year as an opportunity to experiment with new approaches.
Kerry says: “We launched an idea called Flower Six Friday – which has been very successful. Our staff pick seasonal flowers every Friday and deliver them to local customers. We’ve also used the power of social media to amplify our products and grow an online presence, while also looking at new styles and new ideas for the store.
“I am hoping that people come back to the high street and continue to support independent stores once restrictions allow. More people shopping locally is key to a thriving and positive community for female business owners everywhere.”