This Lady Loves is a brilliant concept created by Tracey Thomas. It’s a great service for women, that is run by an extraordinary woman who has managed to keep things going despite her office burning down! Read her inspiring story below.
What does your business do?
My business is thisladyloves.com I promote small businesses to my lady members. I hold events using my advertisers and business networking which is attended by both Ladies and Gents in business. I am about to launch my wedding site thisbrideloves.com and very excited about the future.
What made you decide to start your own business?
It happened by mistake really. A girlie night out discussing how small businesses couldn’t afford high marketing costs. I decided to create a website where small businesses could list themselves free. After a while I thought I needed to think of something different, as there are so many free listing sites, and did anyone really look at them? During the recession lots of women made cut backs and were looking for cheaper alternatives without giving up totally on what us ladies love. Ladies will not give up on necessities, so I came up with the idea of getting my advertisers to offer ladies incentives to use them. By creating a membership my ladies would feel special and would get something non members wouldn’t. I bring my ladies to my advertisers by holding events and including the small businesses who advertise with me . My advertisers also gain business from other advertisers and meet regularly at business networking events. I have created a community of people which is growing fast .
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
My biggest challenge was on the 2nd 2010 I woke to the news of a large fire in Chester. After switching on the Tv I was shocked to see images of the building where my office was based burning down. I quickly rushed over to the scene but soon realised I could do nothing. All that remained of the building was the four walls. I stood watching my business burn to the ground and could do nothing. Luckily the website was hosted off site and I had recently done a back up from the computer but everything else was gone.
How did you overcome these challenges?
After I got over the initial shock of losing my office and everything in it, I decided I need to save my business. I had noticed comments on Twitter; people thinking I had closed down, so I needed to tell people I was still trading, while looking for alternative accommodation I would keep sending tweets updating people of every move and future events booked for the new year . I would update our facebook page sending out invitations to events booked for January. I was fighting two battles, setting up the business again and at the same time I couldn’t risk people thinking I had stopped trading . The support I received from my advertisers, and members was over whelming. I really couldn’t have done it without them. People, some even strangers would retweet my tweets, repost my events and blog about me. The local press had picked up on my story and also helped promoting my events. My December events had to be cancelled, but by January I had found and settled in to a temporary office. I was up and running again and back on track, and by February I had so many new advertisers and members with a diary full of events. During this whole experience I remained positive at all times determined to carry on. I was recently runner up for Cheshire Business Woman of the Year and have also been nominated for a Mums in Business award.
What advice or tips would you give to other business owners?
I would advise anyone in business to back up your computer and phone regularly, make sure your insurance covers all events, never leave all your important documents in one place and most of all don’t be afraid to ask for, or accept any help offered to you.
What’s your favourite quote?
My favourite quote is – Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.
Who inspires you?
I was recently asked who inspires me and I only have one person in mind although controversial for some Dame Anita Roddick.
She inspired me because she was a woman in a man’s world and a real fighter for her beliefs which she continued until her death. Anita , was a businesswoman, human rights activist and environmental campaigner best known as the founder of The Body Shop. Her company was one of the first to prohibit the use of ingredients tested on animals and one of the first to promote fair trade with third world countries.
Anita was also involved in activism & campaigning for environmental and social issues including involvement with Greenpeace and The Big Issue. , she also founded Children on the Edge, a charitable organisation which helps disadvantaged children in Eastern Europe and Asia . Anita fought through Controversy regarding the body shop charity donations to receive numerous business awards.
In 2007, she revealed she had been diagnosed with hepatitis C. & said, “I have hepatitis C. It’s a bit of a bummer” and she continued to work hard until she died later that year.