Thursday 30 June 2016

2inspire Inspirational Woman: Claire Robinson, Co-Founder INGA Wellbeing

Claire Robinson co-founder of INGA Wellbeing started the business because she wanted to reduce the stigma and stress of ill health. Herself and her partners believe in the importance of empowering patients and making medical treatment less intimidating and believe our clothing solutions help with this. Read her inspirational interview below.

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
I’ve started a business along with two other 40-something women creating truly attractive, comfortable day- and nightwear for patients to help them keep their dignity, independence and confidence. Inspired by our own experiences of ill health and working closely with medical staff and patients, we have created stylish men’s and women’s designs that look entirely ‘normal’ and yet have discreet openings for IV lines, monitors and drains, enable patients to dress themselves even when hooked up to medical equipment and ensures they can stay covered for routine examinations. Our company is called INGA Wellbeing and I am so proud of it.  
Since the three founders are all women with young children to raise, a typical days is…well.. typically quite frantic. After getting the children ready and off to school, we head to our computers back at home or head to meetings.  We all work from home and do most things by email and text, but  we meet twice a week as a team to be sure we’re keeping on track.  Many days also involve visiting hospitals, patient groups, laundries or our manufacturers to progress our project.
At the end of the day we collect the children from school, prepare the family meal, get the children to bed and inevitably get back to a little work.  It is frantic, but our business is a real passion of ours, so we aren’t complaining.

What made you start the business and how did you get started?
The idea was inspired by my business partner, Nikla’s mother Inga and my mother Di’s  experiences during their battles with ovarian and breast cancer respectively. Having to wear the hospital gown or ill-fitting and awkward home clothes, they struggled to find clothes that enabled them to keep their dignity, independence and sense of self. Nikla and I committed ourselves to ensuring that patients had clothing that they want to wear, that they feel good wearing and that is fit-for-purpose in a medical setting. 
Our determination to find a solution was made possible by the skills of talented fashion designer and co-founder, Fiona.  Having had her own experience of ill-health in the form of chronic depression, and the wisdom and understanding that came with that experience, Fiona wanted to use her talents to help people feel better about themselves. She knew that feeling good on the outside can help you feel stronger on the inside, and so help you face life challenges with greater courage.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
Just last week we were really proud to discover that INGA Wellbeing was this year's winner of the international PRoF University of Ghent Chair Award, a €10,000 prize  awarded to an early-stage project/innovation in healthcare. 
Dressed in prototype back-opening (night) dresses and a cowl-neck top, we received the large cheque and golden gnome (!) after having presented our patient clothing designs to the jury. The award, which is given for the project that most embodies the values of comfort, privacy, respect and flexibility, has given us a welcome boost ahead of the our first test sale this month!  It’s an important moment as we have our first stock --  the women's back-opening nightdress and men's pyjamas and long-sleeved top – and are going to test demand, price and our selling method.  Patients or their loved ones can buy the garments on our e-shop or via several partner specialist retailers in Belgium. As I move back home to the UK in July we will also be selling via  UK specialist retailers.  

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
Having a great idea is all very well and good, but making it happen is a huge challenge. Each design was challenging as we tried to balance functionality with beauty. But maybe our greatest challenge is changing the way patients and the medical world think about patient clothing – getting them to see that something other than the status quo is possible!

This is a real communications challenge! Once people see the clothes and try them on, they become real advocates, but right now, people don’t really know that anything else is possible other than the hospital gown or a great deal of nakedness and awkward clothing struggles! We need to get the word out to patients via their various support groups that they not only deserve to be able to dress ‘well’, but can now actually do so.  Having brought our concept to the brink of going to market we now have a big communications challenge ahead of us! But, I think that once we get going and a few people are wearing our clothes on the wards or as out-patients, then our biggest ally will be word of mouth/personal recommendation!

What are your future plans for the business?
To de-stigmatise ill-health and patients.  To turn the notion of ‘patient clothing’ from that of the unisex, shapeless, institutional hospital gown into a realisation that patients can look ‘normal’ albeit wearing clothing discreetly adapted to their needs!

In addition, working with European consortium SmartPro, we hope to create patient clothing with integrated sensors to measure the body’s parameters, as well as a localiser to help care for dementia patients given to wandering. We believe that by integrating such technology we can further de-stigmatise ill-health.

We also intend to create clothes for children, infants and teenagers to ensure that they too can dress ‘normally’, and feel confident and comfortable whilst undergoing medical treatment.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Iterate, iterate, iterate. Don't expect to be perfect. Start. And then learn from mistakes and triumphs and get better next time. Perfectionism puts the break on entrepreneurship!  If I had to start all over again, I would learn that lesson sooner.

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
I once saw a TED talk that highlighted how women are brought up to be cautious, careful, and boys are raised to take risks.  I think that certainly is the case but hopefully less so, with time.   It is so important that women have the courage to take the leap of faith and start the business they feel passionate about.  There have been many times we have felt like it might be a step too far to continue, but luckily we have been able to encourage each other forward, and the rewards for reaching our dream, fulfilling our passion – it is beyond words.   

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Ask for help! Surround yourself with a network of well-informed, enthusiastic and energetic experts.  Whilst we are the founders of the business, we are where we are today thanks to the advice and support of a great number of people that have helped us.  That, and figure out how to clone yourself!!  Especially if you also have children, as we all do, and you must somehow simultaneously be an accountant, lawyer, designer, copy writer, marketer, web designer & analyst, and a Mum! Starting up on your own is a complex, hectic but incredibly rewarding challenge: Good Luck!!

What or who inspires you in business and why?
That’s easy – those people that inspired us to start in the first place.  Friends, mothers, daughters that struggled to see themselves or be seen as more than a patient; a person.  Our business is driven by a very personal passion to change the status quo and improve things for current and future patients.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  Our business was inspired by the worst of times, but has resulted in something beautiful. 

Contact details:
Website –
Twitter - @ingawellbeing

Tuesday 28 June 2016

7 Key Ways To Grow Your Tribe For Business Success

Kaya Springer

With over 40 years of experience, Kaya Singer, business owner, entrepreneur, mentor and author of the book Wiser & Wilder, says that success comes to those who focus on being authentic, in the right circle of people, in a balanced and actualized way, with a strong voice. It also means being willing to face the unhealed parts of yourself that hold you back. Kaya helps women to build businesses that feeds their souls by finding their tribes. Every one of us has a purpose and a mission. Building a business requires you to walk your soulful path and manifest your vision. Her new book is for is designed to help people who not only know their purpose and mission, but are ready to walk a soulful path and that manifests their vision with the right people.

“Finding your tribe is perhaps one of the most important steps to focus on in business,” she says. In this piece Kaya provides The 2Inspire Network some key ways to grow a tribe that everyone can put into action immediately.

Your tribe is made up of all the people who love your business, products, 
services, and you. It's your fans, current and potential customers and clients, and your colleagues. They enjoy hearing what you're up to, and they spread the word to others about your business. it's just as true now as it has been down through the ages: women thrive in circles with other women (Think quilting bees, knitting circles, etc., and now through businesses.)

To grow your tribe, increase your fan base, and continue to build your business, you need to connect with others. This may seem obvious, but not everyone does this strategically.

Here are seven important key ways to grow your tribe:

Search for Women’s Networking Groups and Business Clubs in your Local Area. 

You can do a Google search by typing in "women's networking groups" along with the name of your city or town, and see what comes up. Providing you get some results, scroll through them and see what and who might be appropriate for you to reach out to. Then plan to attend their next networking meeting, which is often free for first timers. When you attend, remember to be a good networker. This means be curious and learn about others and their businesses before you share all about yours. When you're a good listener, others want to learn about you.

Do online searches through the social media channels.

For example, open up Facebook and inside the search bar at the top, type in the same words as in the example above. "Women's networking groups" and the name of your city or town. Notice what comes up here? Then, to get even more specific responses, look at the top of that page and click on the link that says "groups". The results should be good opportunities for you. If you don't get any responses, try changing the key words in your search until the information you want comes up.

Tap in and take advantage of your own networks. 
Who can you ask for suggestions or referrals? Make a list of people you think could be helpful, and then ask them if there are there any groups they know of that you should be a part of? Or do they know any individuals that they think you should get to know. Not only are you tapping into the wisdom of your own networks, but you are also allowing others to help you, and they will feel good about that. Ask them if they'd be willing to introduce you so that it is a "warm" connection. Be sure and return the favor when you find someone or an event that they would likely benefit from. This is called building social capital and it's networking at its best.

Set up coffee or tea dates with women you meet and feel a connection toward.
When you're together, look for ways you can collaborate with one another through your businesses. You may come up with some great ideas, and if not, you've at least made a new friend. Magic happens when you show up, but first you have to ask. Make a list: Who would you like to get to know better? And then reach out and ask.

Start your own Meet Up group and invite people to come. 
Think about the kind of group you would like to be a part of, and the kind of women you want to attract. What are your interests? What are you values? Make a list and imagine the kinds of people you like to know. Go to meetups in your local area. Experiment with the best key words to use, and when others search using those words, your event will come up. Don't stop there though. Invite people on your email list, or in your address book, and be sure and post it on your favorite social media channels too. Creating a group is one of the best ways to be seen as a leader and an expert in your field.

Go to a local tea shop or cafe with your lap top and work from there. 
You may not know anyone personally, but just being out with other people can make it feel like you're a part of a larger community. Eventually you will see the same faces and you'll start to get to know others. Be open to others; You never know who you're meeting until you talk to them and get to know them. You just may find your next partner or best friend.

Build a community on social media. 
Your tribe members are not limited by geography. Through the Internet, your tribe can be anywhere in the world! It's important to do a little research and find out the platform that your clients and tribe are more likely to be on. Simply ask them through an email, or as you're meeting people, find out which platform they are on the most. Track the top places where your tribe likes to hang out. Then, you'll need to make some decision. You will likely not have the time or energy to focus on every platform your tribe mentions. It's better to pick one or two social media channels, and do a deeper dive with them. You can have a presence on more, but really get to know and understand just one or two of the channels, preferably the top two where most of your tribe hangs out.

Join groups on social media. 
This is so you can meet more people and they can also get to know you. A good place to begin is Facebook groups because so many people are using the platform. In the Facebook search bar at the top, type in the topic or focus that interests you. Join a group and get involved by making comments, posting and liking other people's comments. Notice who stands out to you and why and then reach out to them. You can comment on their posts, or send an invitation to connect outside the group. This is another good way to get to know others. You can also start your own FB group and invite others to join you. It is easy to do. Simply go to what looks like an upside down triangle at the top, right side of your screen, and click on "help". Type in, "How do I start my own Facebook group?" and you will get a step-by-step guide. Once you set up your group you can invite all your FB friends or select certain individuals. Beyond being seen as a leader and expert in your topic area, a side-benefit of Facebook groups is that it's very easy to build real relationships without reading tons of posts you don’t enjoy.

Start Your own small Mastermind Group. 
A Mastermind Group is a fabulous way to offer and receive support from others. Many women want this, but they wait for a group to drop in their lap rather than initiating one themselves. Don't fall into that trap. If there isn't a group for you to join, create the kind of group you want. Be selective and choose 3-4 people who are at a similar level as you are and are also looking for support. These might be colleagues you have met a local groups or even met online. A group can be local or you can meet on phone or Skype. Begin by writing out an intention with your own culture and values and then you will attract women who want something similar.

Look for ways you can promote others. 
This key is huge and may be the most important one of all. Building good relationships means being there for other people and sharing help and resources when you can. Refer people to an awesome massage therapist or tell people about a web designer who is good. Promoting is giving in the highest way for entrepreneurs as it helps them to build their tribe. Gifting to others builds positive energy and expands your community too, so It is a win-win.

Connecting with supportive people not only helps build your business, but it builds real community, plus it helps you to grow personally as an individual; this is particularly helpful if you tend to be more introverted.

Kaya Singer’s book, Wiser & Wilder, goes beyond the usual how-to business advice and instead places its focus on HOW TO BE. It contains over 150 pages of heart-centered personal stories, purposeful activities, and inspiring wisdom to encourage women entrepreneurs to invest in themselves so they can become who they are meant to be in this world. Included are illustrative drawings that are creative and engaging. The book encourages readers to access guidance from their soul level in order to come out of hiding and overcome obstacles that are holding them back. With over 40 years of experience, Kaya has seen again and again how creating clarity and confidence around life purpose empowers women to manifest the prosperity they need to carry their visions far and wide.

For more information, visit

About Kaya Singer

Kaya Singer is a Wise Woman entrepreneur, mentor, artist, and writer. Having never fit into a traditional business box, Kaya’s been self-employed for over 40 years, beginning with her first business selling pottery on orange crates.

Her wisdom touches thousands of women through mentoring, women’s gatherings and personal growth retreats, in both the United States and New Zealand, where she lived for 12 years. She has a BFA in Fine Arts from Ohio State University and an MS in counseling from the University of Oregon. Kaya’s mission is to support visionary women to wake up, stop hiding and invest in themselves so they can reach their true potential and make a bigger difference in the world. She knows that it’s time for women to show up!

Now growing into her Crone wisdom years, she’s come full circle and is has integrated her art and coaching business into one. When not working with clients, she paints in the studio she shares with her husband Wayne, plays with clay, dances to 60s music or spends time out in the forest or at the ocean in Oregon. She loves pure nature and this is where her Wild Woman thrives and reconnects to Mother Earth.

She lives in Portland, Oregon, USA.

Thursday 23 June 2016

2Inspire Inspirational Woman: Elaine Atherton, Sales Director of LiV for Beautiful Things

In this interview we meet Elaine Atherton who has recently launched a new concept called LiV for Beautiful Things, a party plan business based on beautiful homeware by British craftspeople and designers.  She is a two-time winner of the prestigious Direct Selling Association’s ‘Best Seller and Recruiter’, but the interesting thing is that she only joined Body Shop because she left her career in banking, in order to bring up her family.  She fit her party plan work around her family commitments, but made a massive success of it, being a top salesperson for the company and winning numerous prizes and rewards. Read her interview and be inspired!

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
This is one of the things I love about my job is that it is so varied!  A typical day can include many things such as registering new LiV Consultants, supporting our existing consultants in their LiV journey and helping them achieve their financial goals.  I am also constantly looking for those new designers out there in the UK that could be part of LiV in the future. I am also out and about sharing the LiV at events around the country, and sharing our beautiful products with others.
Starter Kit
What made you start the business and how did you get started?
I started with LiV for Beautiful Things Pre-launch in March 2015, when we were still in the planning stages and pulling all the range together. What drew me to LiV was the beautiful range of products we sell, and the fact we are focusing on British designers and manufacturers.  Part of my role was to write the training and our commissions plan.  I very much wanted this to be a ‘modern day world’ direct selling business, and everything has been done with that in mind. People like to have choices with regard to how they sell our products, and we will support our Consultants in however they choose to do that.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
From a personal point of view, it was falling into the direct selling world as a stay-at-home mum 24 years ago, and 9 years later having a business that had a turnover of £4million in a year.  Despite this success, I had still been there for all the school events along the way.  Direct selling has been life-changing for me and my family.  At a professional level, my greatest accomplishment has been being recognised by the Direct Selling Association twice as the top person in my field, which is a huge accolade.

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?

Tough question! I think it’s accepting that some things are not within your control, and you can’t do everything yourself!

What are your future plans for the business?

As we are still in our first year of business we have a fantastic future ahead of us. We have a great team who are working on making our business a household name and ‘sharing the LiV’ as we like to say! As we grow our business across the country, I am always looking for the next person who loves to surround themselves amidst beautiful things, whether that be as a customer, a host, or selling the products to earn some extra money, and receive a discount on their own purchases.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

Great question!  No – one of my motto is ‘we don’t make mistakes, we just have lots of learning curves’. Sometimes you only know what will or won’t work once you have tried it.

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?

I was fortunate enough to be encouraged to follow my dreams!  I guess I have always been a bit of a dreamer, as one of my teachers told my parents that ‘Elaine appears to daydream on occasions during my lesson.’ There are so many opportunities now for women to carve their own path, and with great guidance anything is possible.  I only came into Direct Selling after 14 years in banking, so it was a complete career change for me, at a time when I wanted something to fit around my children.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?

If you are looking to join the industry as a Consultant to earn some extra money, then I believe you should choose something you feel passionate about and you love selling! Support and training is also massively important and feeling part of a team is key.

What or who inspires you in business and why?

The late Anita Roddick was my greatest inspiration, and I was fortunate to meet her on many occasions. Her attitude to life and business taught me so much. Passion, enthusiasm and a love for what you do becomes infectious, and surrounding yourself with positive people is a must!

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
‘In the end we only regret the chances we did not take!’

Elaine Atherton
FB - LiV for beautiful things

Twitter @livfbt 

Thursday 16 June 2016

2Inspire Inspirational Woman: Rosie Davies, Founder of The London Fashion Agency

Rosie Davies is the founder of The London Fashion Agency. She started the PR and marketing firm in 2013 with no loans or investments and has grown the business organically. To date Rosie and the LFA team has worked with more than 80 brands and has received coverage for those brands in over 200 publications. Rosie started The London Fashion Agency to help independent fashion brands get coverage in mainstream and independent publications. Read this inspirational interview with Rosie and know that anything and everything is possible! 

What is a typical business day like for you?
On a usual day I wake up at about 6:30 and I’m usually at my desk by 7:10. I’m in no way a morning person but London traffic is so bad after 7am that early starts are best. I have breakfast at the office while posting our first Instagram posts of the day, and respond to any new business requests that have come in overnight. We have flexi office hours, so the rest of the LFA team usually arrive between 9am and 10am.
We usually all sit down together and go through the work for that week. We get requests for a lot of tailored publication lists so we talk about the brand, their product, their price point and their customer before putting it all together. 
In the afternoon, I either focus on client work or business development, with some LFA social media thrown in there too. We usually finish around 6. Some evenings I go to gymnastics training, as it’s refreshing to put 100% focus into something else.

What made you start the business and how did you get started?
I always wanted to start a business from a young age. I wasn’t great at school, but I was very creative and passionate about fashion and textiles. After freelancing for a few years, I realised how much I loved the thrill of working with independent brands. Feeling like a part of their team and making a difference was something I couldn’t create doing anything else. I created LFA to offer affordable PR resources to hundreds of brands.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
Winning an award at the Great British Entrepreneur of the Year awards was a very special moment - it solidified that other people think that LFA is a viable business.
It’s also a huge accomplishment every time we see one of our clients in a magazine. We still get very excited for them and high five each other in the office. Our independent brands are competing against big fashion houses, corporations and massive PR budgets so when they are featured in Stylist Magazine or Sunday Times Style I feel so happy for them.

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
My personal challenge is my dyslexia. In the early years it was difficult as team LFA was just me, so I had no one there to spell check. Now the team check through work and then double check, which gives me piece of mind.
In terms of business, people doubt you all the time until you ‘make it’. We’re still ‘making it’ but if I had listened to the ‘this can’t be done’ or ‘are you sure you’re going to start your own business?’ we wouldn’t have got this far.   

What are your future plans for the business?
There are lots more resources we have planned to release this year to support brands with their PR and marketing. In a year’s time I would love for LFA to be the go-to agency for independent brands.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I would have given brands we have worked with a better insight into how PR works and what they needed to ensure that their products were received warmly by the press. At the start I wanted to have good working relationships with our brands so I didn’t want to rock the boat by telling them that their imagery or social media weren’t quite up to scratch. Nowadays we are honest with everyone who approaches us. If we feel that they could work on something to help increase their chances, we’ll tell them.

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
Because any woman can do this! I came from a very normal background, with average GCSEs and no A-Levels. I worked hard for something I believed in and made LFA a reality. I had no previous experience but I learnt along the way. I took no funding - instead I worked in a pub and as a nanny to fund the business.

It’s so important to inspire women, not just in showing them what can be achieved but also how those people got there.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Use the Internet!! There’s nothing we can’t learn from the Internet these days. We did everything ourselves from building our office to building our website, just by using YouTube.

Never turn anyone down for a coffee - you never know who they might know. We’ve had clients come from meetings that I never thought would come to anything. It really pays to be nice to people!

Work hard. It doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve worked five years with very few holidays or days off. I’ve missed friends’ events and birthdays. I’ve slept on the sofa at the office more times that I can count on two hands but I wouldn’t change any of it. I love LFA. I love our brands and what we offer people. When someone emails saying “what LFA offers is so refreshing”, it makes everything worthwhile.

What or who inspires you in business and why? 
Phoebe Gormley of Gormley & Gamble. She’s 22 and the first female tailor on Saville Row. She’s got more tenacity and passion than anyone I know. When I feel a bit lost in business, I look at what Phoebe is doing and she gets me back on track. It’s great to have another young female entrepreneur to rely on. She’s got my back and I’m proud to call her my friend. 

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
“Being all things to all people is a recipe for mediocrity”

Twitter: @LdnFashionAgcy

Thursday 9 June 2016

2inspire Inspirational Woman: Pamela Sommers, Founder of SommerSparkle

Pamela Sommers is the founder of SommerSparkle which is a family-run online boutique, providing beautiful jewellery & accessories for every special occasion. Read her interview and dare to shine brightly with your own success!

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
It is important to preserve a strong mind in business, in order to do this you have to train it, just like you would your body. I start the day with prayer and affirmations as I am a Christian. I then meditate to keep me calm and grounded and I do a visualisation to focus on success.  I exercise afterwards, which helps to keep me motivated and helps me to cope with stress. I think it is important to keep centred and remember why you are doing what you do when you start your day, this helps to put me in a positive frame of mind, ready start my work.
I try to schedule checking emails and social media at certain times of the day, this way it doesn’t get too distracting. I do a list of what needs to be done and organise a slot for creating content, managing social media, product management, photo shoots. I have also started writing a book about life lessons for younger people, so I organise a slot for that too. I tick off what I do as I go along but I am also flexible enough to allow for surprises. At the end of the day I go through what I have achieved that day, I find it helps with productivity as a sense of accomplishment always feels so rewarding.

What made you start the business and how did you get started?
I had an accident, which meant that I was unable to use my right hand for a long time. I couldn’t even do basic things like washing my hair and eating and cooking, things we often take for granted. After a long and frustrating period of physio I managed to gain limited use of my right hand. Unfortunately, this meant I was no longer able to work at the school, which I enjoyed. I bought a bracelet to cheer me up and it was very sparkly. I received many compliments for it, which helped me to feel good about myself again. Later that evening I started thinking of how I would love to help others feel this good and this inspired me to start selling jewellery and as I wanted to help people feel really special I focused on selling jewellery and accessories for special occasions.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
My greatest accomplishment so far is achieving the Couple’s Choice award for 2015 and 2016 from WeddingWire, which means we are recognised for our excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionals, all of which are values we have placed at the heart of our business.

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
My biggest challenge is keeping on top of the technology side of things. It is certainly a learning curve and takes time and patience to learn, test and implement changes. Technology is always evolving, which is great as it means you are constantly learning and implementing changes and achieving progress

What are your future plans for the business?
I would like to continue to offer the best possible service for our customers and this may also involve featuring guest bloggers to offer advice on specific areas, for instance from hair stylists, make-up artists, photographers, fashion stylists and wedding boutiques. This will add value to our customers and provide expert knowledge that can help them.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I would try not to take opinions too heart, especially from those closest, who you assume will support your new venture. I would stop trying to change their perspective and just realise that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If I realised this sooner I wouldn’t have wasted my time and energy and simply focused on moving forward with my business. You can’t change people’s perspective.  

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
I believe it is important for young women to have instilled in them, the knowledge that they can do anything they put their hearts and mind to. Having self-belief goes hand in hand with self-esteem. They need to know that, yes they are worthy, they are good enough, no matter what others say. They shouldn’t compare themselves to others. We are all unique and have a message to share. It’s important that young women have the confidence to share their own message and to let their light shine.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
I would say remind yourself why you are doing this regularly, this will help you to carry on when you are feeling disheartened. Keep focused on your vision, regardless how it looks in the beginning. Everyone has to start from somewhere. Be your own cheerleader and always celebrate your wins, this is so important. I would also like to say be true to yourself, don’t compare yourself to others, just be you.

What or who inspires you in business and why?

Denise Duffield-Thomas has inspired me so much. She is down to earth and has taught me to just get on with it and don’t wait until you are ready. As I am naturally a self-conscious person this has really changed my perspective. So now I try not to wait until the nerves set in and put it off, I just get on with it.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
‘Don’t die with your music still inside you’ by Wayne Dyer

Monday 6 June 2016

Hazel Chawapiwa Founder of The 2Inspire Network Nominated For STAR Award

Hazel Chawapiwa has been nominated for a STAR Award for her work with women and teens across London. The ethos of the STAR Awards is to recognise how women across the world are using their gifts to make the world a better place. The Awards are a global recognition amongst 100 women making an impact in their communities internationally and locally, awarded to those individuals that have made a real difference by helping others become great.
Hazel Chawapiwa was born in the UK in the mid-70s but originates from Zimbabwe. She is a passionate business woman who started her first business in 1999 whilst studying at University. Hazel often says the financial strains of being a young single mother and a student was the motivation for her to start her own business. A redundancy and the need to raise a deposit to get on the property ladder led to her becoming involved in a number of business ventures one of them being an events company which she started with an old time friend. It was a successful venture and it was during this period that she realised that working full-time was suppressing her entrepreneurial spirit. It is an honour, therefore to have her hard work recognised by The STAR Award Committee.

Hazel launched The 2inspire network in May of 2012, “Empowering individuals and helping them to realise their potential is something that I am passionate about. I believe that women should work together and support each other on their journeys, this belief is the foundation of the network, an organisation that provides forums and platforms that help to empower, promote and inspire women” says Founder Hazel Chawapiwa. In 2013 Hazel also launched the social enterprise The 2Inspire Academy; a personal development and life-skills programme for young people aged 16-21. The 2Inspire academy has been established to help young people focus on what's important for them now and in the future, to learn the mindset and life-skills for success, and to help them set and achieve personal targets.

The STAR Awards will take place during The Extraordinary Lady Speaks Conference on Saturday 18th June 2016 hosted by LiftEffects.

Thursday 2 June 2016

2inspire Inspirational Woman: Patti Clark, Author of This Way Up

In this interview we meet Patti Clark who is an accomplished speaker and workshop leader dedicated to helping people through various life transitions on their journey to an extraordinary life. For more than 30 years, and over several continents, Patti has been sharing her knowledge and wisdom with others. Her new book, This Way Up: Seven Tools for Unleashing Your Creative Self and Transforming Your Life, is her latest endeavour. She is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area,  has a B.A. in Social Sciences from UC Berkeley and an M.A. in Education. She has taught English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and at Oregon State University. Patti spends part of her time in the United States, and part of her time in New Zealand. She and her husband and their two sons live near the beach on the Coromandel Peninsula. Read her inspirational interview and be ready to unleash your best creative life! 

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
I usually wake up at 6 AM, no alarm, just boing! For some reason my internal clock thinks that is when it needs to be awake.  I drink warm lemon juice first thing in the morning, have been doing that for years now, I absolutely believe in it’s health benefits.  I then get a cup of tea and go back to bed to journal.
I don’t have a ‘typical’ day after that.  I’m a writer and a workshop facilitator, so it depends on my schedule.  My workshops are usually in the morning, and I try to write daily in the afternoon. 
I try to walk on the beach near my house daily.  Walking on the beach is one of my favorite things to do.
And in the evening I love to read.  I’m a book junkie.

What made you start writing and how did you get started?
I started writing my book, This Way Up: Seven Tools for Unleashing Your Creative Self and Transforming Your Life ten years ago.  I had been facilitating workshops in personal development for women for many years and had been an avid Positive Psychology follower for years as well.
The process actually began at a bookstore in 2006, while I sat with my son Lukas, having coffee and leafing through a stack of self-help books. He asked why I hadn’t written my own book. He said that I had been telling him the stuff in those books for years, and that I shouldn’t be reading other people’s work, but writing my own.
I knew immediately he was right. If I didn’t start writing, I felt like my own sons would doubt what I had been saying for years: “Follow your dreams! You can do it!” Not to mention it would be a kind of betrayal to myself.
Many of the participants in my workshops had asked if there was a workbook to use as a follow up once the workshop itself concluded. I have those women and my sons to thank for ultimately inspiring me to write This Way Up.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
I have had several people tell me that my book has been transformational for them, that the 12 week journaling workbook helped them through a really tough time.  And that just makes my heart sing.
One of the things that was very fun was that my high school English teacher (from over 40 years ago!) read the book and loved it and said wonderful things about it.  That was very cool!

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
Doing everything that is required to market my book.  I thought “Phew! Now I’m done.” Once the book was finished and went to the publisher; but oh my that is when the real work began.  Marketing one’s own material is challenging and requires a lot of tenacity.

What are your future plans for the business? 
I am launching an Online Workshop Series, based on my book.  The workshop runs for 12 weeks and follows the format of the workbook.  It’s online so there will be women from all over the world participating.  I’m really excited about it.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently? 
Start the whole marketing process a lot earlier.  Everything needs to be set and already moving well before the book is published.  I feel like I’ve been running to catch up to myself for months.

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
Great Question!  One of the things that we do in our workshops here in NZ is ask women what they wish they could have told their younger selves way back when.  And the answers are all so moving. 
We are so hard on ourselves and the messages from social media in particular are harsh!  We need to be gentler to ourselves and be our own best friends. 
Young women are the future of this world, they need to be nurtured and inspired!

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Don’t give up! No matter what!  Writing and publishing requires such tenacity and perseverance. It is not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. Believe in yourself, be your own cheer leader.

What or who inspires you in business and why?
In my field, I have three favorite authors that inspire me:
Anne Lamott
Julia Cameron
Shakti Gawain

These three women writers are all inspirational to me for different reasons: their honesty, their spirit and their willingness to speak their truth.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?

“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”

- Albert Einstein

For writers:

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.”

- Richard Bach

Patti Clark
Facebook Page:
Patti Clark – This Way Up – Author Page
Linked In:
Patti Clark – Author This Way Up