Tuesday 16 July 2013

2Inspire Profile: Zoe Oakley, Founder of CrispWhiteSheets

2inspire interviews Zoe Oakley, an entrepreneur who used motherhood as an opportunity to change her career path. Her determination to succeed can be seen through her daring attitude, read on to see how she achieved her dream.

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
A typical business day for me consists of a lot of travel around the UK visiting hotels to ensure they have the qualities we need to be listed on CrispWhiteSheets.com. We need to experience the service, food and bedrooms in order to make a decision. Also my office time is sourcing new partnerships, hotels, blogging and generally promoting our business.

What made you start the business and how did you get started?
I started the business, as I felt a gap in the market for a UK travel website covering all types of stays, yet keeping it high end. I had look in several different places to find a family break and then a couples retreat, but at CrispWhiteSheets, we have it all and standards are never compromised. 

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
My greatest accomplishment has been making a name for myself and my business in a tough industry and also creating a creative and happy work environment for my staff. I love that my staff love their job and enjoy coming to work each day.

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
My biggest challenge has been growing my business as fast as possible, whilst juggling Motherhood. I could be on the road every day, however I always wanted to have both and so far I am achieving that.

What are your future plans for the business?
I plan to have the best and most trusted collection of hotels listed with CrispWhiteSheets.com and then maybe take things into Europe.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Definitely not. I haven’t done it too fast and borrowed lots of money. I have taken it one step at a time, which seems to have gained the trust of all my customers that we will be around for a long time to come.

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
It is a man’s world out there, however more and more we see women rising to the top. Sometimes women can take on the Mother role, which makes them feel their career is over. I saw that as an opportunity to change direction and make things happen. Entrepreneurs are often the bread winners, which is deemed a man’s role. Running your own business allows flexibility that would never be allowed in a full time 9 – 5. Anything is achievable if you believe in yourself.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
I would say don’t be afraid of the big boys out there. Travel is a fabulous industry with creative and forward thinking people and I would encourage anyone to get involved. I would also say be specialist in order to stand out. 

What or who inspires you in business and why?
My partner James inspires me. He built a business in terrible economic times from zero to a huge multimillion turnover in just 4 years. He drives me every day and advises me when I need to make tough decisions.
What is your favourite inspirational quote?
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. She who dares, wins. Life is short, so make the most of every day.

Contact Details

Zoe Oakley
Snapes Heights Barn
Oakmere Avenue
07775 427538 

Twitter @CrispWhiteSheet

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