Meet the Business: A Good Yarn

Today we meet Kate from local business A Good Yarn. Based on Oole Road in Cleethorpes Kate tells us all abour how her business was born from a passion for creating and how she has grown A Good Yarn into more than “just a wool shop”.

Tell me a bit about your business
A Good Yarn is more than “just a wool shop”. Customers get a very positive experience, with a wide selection of yarns and accessories, expert advice or tuition, and a friendly ear. Quality is at the core of what we do with both products and services.

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What made you decide to start your business?
Several years ago, I began knitting again, something I hadn’t done since being a teenager. Unfortunately, there was nowhere local to me to buy the types of yarns and projects I wanted to knit, and certainly nowhere to attend workshops or classes.

Having had to travel all over the country for workshops and to source beautiful, quality yarns; I decided the only solution was to open my own shop in Cleethorpes. I had a very clear vision of what I wanted this to be – I wanted customers to have a really positive experience and a sense of community.

Over the past 5 years, we have built up an excellent customer base. Many of whom are now friends and who attend our groups, classes, events and workshops on a weekly basis.

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What do you love most about owning your own business
I love the freedom my business gives me to make my own decisions and choices. I like the independence of being my own boss. I have an amazing team in the shop with me who I wouldn’t manage without, but ultimately I have the final say.

There are not many days in the past 8 years I’ve not wanted to go to work, and on the days I am “not quite feeling it” walking into my shop feels like a big hug.

What do you least like about owning your own business?
I think really the only downside to owning my own business is the lack of freedom. I do have people who will cover for me if neccessary but it’s hard to go away and leave the business. It consumes me 24/7.

If I am not physically working on samples or other ideas, my head is spinning with new ideas. If I want to have a break, or even an extra day off it takes a lot of organising.

What do you have planned for your business in the future?
It’s tough in the yarn industry now; crafts are notorious for being faddy. Although knitting and crochet are more versitile than a lot of other crafts, we still need to be constantly looking for new ideas.

I find events, groups and classes are always in demand, so I am looking at growing the business by providing more sessions when people can come and work on new skills with other like-minded people.

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What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business? 
I think one of the best bit of advice I got was “know your market”. Work out who your customer is and put your energy into meeting their needs. You can’t be all things to everyone, and you will wear yourself out trying. Stick to what you know and build on it. This information will determine where you need to focus your energy  – be it on the high street or online.

Your branding and image need to appeal to your ideal customer and your surroundings need to be a comfortable environment for them, whether it’s bricks and mortar premises or a website.

What are you most proud of when it comes to your business?
I am so proud of the reputation I have built up with my customers. I constantly get feedback from customers about the products, services or events we offer.

I often come across comments on social media in places other than on my pages like this one on a local group

“Well A Good Yarn is more than a wool shop, it is a second home for a lot of people where you are made so welcome. Also lots of workshops to join in with as well which is great”.

They event quote my strapline!

Do you think businesses are well supported in NEL? 
I think business support is there if you are in the loop. I have been contacted several times by E-Factor and have attended a couple of events, which have been very useful. I haven’t had any other personal support as I’ve not needed it.

Totally Locally NEL is a brilliant local support with some fantastic local businesses leading it. I would love to be more involved but seem to get bogged down with day-to-day business, but I need to make more of an effort to get involved.

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How do you feel the business culture has changed in NEL?
I think there is a move to support smaller independent businesses, again I think the local team driving the Totally Locally initiative has a lot to do with that. There are a lot of small business owners who are social media savvy – getting the word out there and we need to be very thankful for them. I find my customers are wanting a good experience over convenience, if we can continue to provide tthat we’ll be happy.

Where can people find you both online and in “real life”? 
You can find us on the A Good Yarn website via email kate@agoodyarn.co.uk. Our Instagram is @agoodyarnclee and we also have a Facebook Page.

Our address is A Good Yarn, Oole Road, Cleethorpes, DN35 8LR.

Thank you Kate for that lovely insight into your business.

G x 

 

 

Meet the Local: Andy Rouse

Today we meet Andy Rouse. Andy is an entrepreneur who was born in NEL but has lived and worked across the world. Let’s hear why Andy loves NEL.

Tell me a little bit about yourself?
I am a North East Lincolnshire entrepreneur who is the CEO of Fusion Interactive Corporation based in the USA also CEO of Pinnacle which is a UK business accelerator and now Chief Strategy Officer  for OneHE which is an online global community for teachers in higher education. I’m also a mentor for Pitch at Palace which is a global program to help business growth from The Duke of York and I also sit on the board for Young Enterprise in NE Lincs.

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Have you always lived in North East Lincs?
I was born in NE Lincs but have lived in Africa and London etc but they are places I have lived, NE Lincs is home and I am back here for the near future at least.

What is your favourite thing to do in the area?
My favourite thing to do in this area is spend time on our fantastic seafront as there are so many things to do, or just take time to reflect by the sea!

Where are your favourite places to shop?
My favourite place to shop locally is Turners butchers on Cleethorpes High St, they have the best sausages in the country!

Where is your favourite place to eat?
Favourite place to eat would be Steels Fish and Chips!

Tell me what a perfect North East Lincolnshire day would look like to you?
My perfect day would be, breakfast / brunch at the Buzz Cafe, then time on the beach with Ebb and Flo followed by dinner at Havana Cabana then drinks with friends in Arthurs House on Sea View St

If someone was new to the area what would be the first thing you’d tell them to do / check out?
Tell them to check out the Cleethorpes sea front and all the amazing things down there, inc paddle boarding etc with Ebb and Flo.

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If you could chane one thing about North East Lincs what would it be?
The thing I would change is the communication to any negative comments from people living here, as I don’t think some people realise how lucky we are here, to have a fabulous beach and then the Lincolnshire Wolds a 15 min drive away is worth shouting about!

Do you have a “go to” place to chill out, relax and unwind?
Yes the beach! Even in winter sat in the car watching the waves crash at the end of the north prom is great!

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What is the best thing about living in North East Lincs?
The best thing about living in North East Lincs is the people for sure, people are so genuine here with a great sense of humour and pride!

Thanks Andy! It was great to get a little insight into the things you love!

G x

Meet the Business: Janey Kay Photography

Let’s meet Janey from Janey Kay Photography.

Tell me a little bit about you and your business?
Janey Kay Photography is an established, self-taught photographer based in Humberston, North East Lincolnshire in the UK, and I’m a passionate photographer and a true believer in romance, ‘sass and class’ specialising predominantly in Women’s Photography, Portraiture & Boudoir Makeover Sessions, Bridal Boudoir and Styled photoshoots.

What made you decide to start your business?
My aim since starting my business was to capture natural & romantic photographs, full of emotion, and most importantly to enable my clients to view their beauty. With a background of 25 years as a nurse, I wanted to use my skills to bring health and wellbeing photoshoots to raise confidence and self-esteem for local people.

What do you love most about owning your own business?
What I love about having my own business is the ability to change lives sometimes in a subtle way, but often in quite a dramatic way, and the look on the faces of my clients after their experience. I love the freedom to be creative with my ideas, to utilise my surroundings in the stunning Lincolnshire countryside, and along the Lincolnshire Coast, and to embrace a whole new venture.

What do you least like about owning your own business? 
What do I like least? Well, that’s a tough one because I no longer have that Monday morning feeling, I have the ability to make a difference without the constraints of an organisation, and I meet lots of wonderful people who smile! So I guess the only thing I would say I like least is the pressure of the certainty of self-employment, but again that’s down to what you put in and I have amazing support locally not just from friends and family, but also clients who continually grow the network to spread the word about self esteem building.

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What do you have planned for your business in the future?
There are some fantastic things waiting in the wings here at Janey Kay Photography which will be coming this year. My team has grown since opening a few years ago and I now have a cracking set of professionals working alongside me known as The Glam Squad. They provide my makeovers for shoots and these too are superb local businesses working freelance to bring the local people a bit of sass and class! This new concept helps me tailor-make my makeovers to fit for clients and gives more options on choice and flexibility to expand. I aim to work alongside other local businesses too with some of these developments to bring something a little unique and different to the area.

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business?
What advice would I give? Well from a complete novice who spent her adult working life as a nurse, I would say, go with it, embrace it, learn from your mistakes, and don’t be fearful of what others may be doing, thinking or saying. Be true to what you want to achieve and those who support you will be along for the journey. Never stop learning and always stand back and take in the view so to speak. Research well, know your market and most of all be you, be kind, compassionate and never lose the face of your business.

What are you most proud of when it comes to your business?
What am I most proud of? Well, I think starting my own business and it having the impact it has clearly had on the locality and my clients. Maybe if I am honest I perhaps needed to be less nurse and more business, but then again, its my unique approach and kindness that has also got me to where I am and recognised in things like Take a Break for my work on Body Image with a local group of ladies around Breast Cancer, and it enabled me the pleasure of shooting at the Gok Show last year when they heard about my work here in Lincolnshire and my approach to enabling ladies, in particular, to view themselves in a positive way. So would I have changed that? I’m not sure I perhaps would.  I’m confident that kindness is key. I hit the ground running with my business and it all happened so quickly and without planning that I’ve very much had to think on my feet, especially in the first year or so and to achieve so much in such a short time makes me very proud. I’m also extremely proud to be part of my clients’ journies, especially if health-related, and I thank each and every one for their honesty and trust in me to show them their beauty and for telling their stories so that others can relate to similar experiences and in turn embrace a similar journey.

Do you think local businesses are well supported in NEL? 
In NEL I think most businesses support each other well. I’m a bit of a stand-alone business with a more unique USP, but I do work alongside many small businesses and often I’m involved in commercial shooting and I think from talking to others that sometimes especially when premises are involved and the high street, that it must be quite difficult to compete with the internet.

How do you feel the business culture has changed in NEL?
This leads into business culture changing which is inevitable of course and should be seen as progress. Although we fear the internet and its effect on local business, its also our friend and allows us a far-reaching audience.  I’m hoping though that by pulling together locally we can marry it all up and bring back a bit of nostalgia, and enable our lovely little town of Cleethorpes and the adjoining areas to be as vibrant and thriving as they were when I was a little girl living in Humberston.

Where can people find you both online and in “real life”? 
You will find Janey Kay Photography in Humberston down Church Lane. I’m based in a little white cottage ( yes with roses round the door) and I live there with my 3 ginger pussycats and my husband who has been a great support to me starting my own business. I have an online presence and do all my business through social networking and word of mouth locally. I can be found at https://www.facebook.com/JaneyKayPhotography/ and https://www.instagram.com/janeykayphotography/

Thank you Janey!

G x

Review: Hampton by Hilton / Touchdown Bar & Grill

For those of you who didn’t know it was my birthday in October and what better way to end my birthday week than a lovely stay at Hampton by Hilton and meal at Touchdown Bar & Grill based in Kirmington with John.

After a busy day of shopping we arrived at the hotel around 5:30pm first impressions of the hotel were modern with a twist of sophistication. The staff on reception were very welcoming and had us checked in in no time whilst advising us on elements of our stay.

We were really excited to see our room and it didn’t disappoint. Both of us were really impressed, a really cosy and modern room with lovely small touches such as the picture of Cleethorpes Pier above the bed which I loved.

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One thing I was excited about and this may sound a little silly was the mirror above the desk! Small detail but I can’t even remember how many times I have had to sit on the floor in a hotel to do my hair and make up! I am sure there will be lots of ladies that agree with me on this one 🙂

After freshening up we headed down to the hotel’s restaurant, Touchdown Bar & Grill for dinner. The restaurant is gorgeous, it has a really retro and fun feel to it with lovely finishing touches and nods towards nearby Humberside Airport.

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From the start the staff were really friendly, they seated us at our table and we ordered our drinks. We’d already had a little study of the menu in the room so had an idea of what we wanted to order. To start we ordered the BBQ Glazed Chicken Wings and the Halloumi Sticks to share, they really tasted as good as they looked. I am not usually a massive BBQ sauce fan but this was perfect and the Halloumi sticks so tasty with the sweet chilli dip that accompanied them.

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Next the mains. I went with the 8oz Rump Steak cooked rare with chips and John of course, went for the Touchdown Burger. We were not dissapointed, both arrived beautifully presented and tasted amazing,

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Then came the dessert. We were both a little full but we just couldn’t resist, especially afer speaking with our waitress who definitely helped sway our decision. The Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream for me and the Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce and Custard for John. I am so pleased we found the extra room as the puddings were devine! Melt in your mouth brownie and the butterscotch sauce on John’s was gorgeous.

Once our bellies were full we went back up to the room and in true Gemma & John style found a horror movie to watch whilst relaxing in our room on the big, comfy bed!

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After a restful nights sleep we woke early (ish) and went down for breakfast. Having over indulged the night before we had said we were going to have a light breakfast, but that was before we saw the gorgeous spread that was laid on. A help yourself style buffet, there was so much to choose including a traditional english breakfast, pastries, meats, cereal, fruit, the list goes on. We both settled on a traditional english breakfast with juice and coffee to set us up for the day.

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The whole experience at both the hotel and the restaurant were amazing, we had a really lovely time, although we were only 25 minutes from home it felt like a little break away from our day to day busy lives. We felt refreshed, relaxed, full of beautiful food when we left.

The staff at both the hotel and restaurant could not have done enough for us, all so friendly and helpful, even staff walking past would say a hello which was a pleasant touch.

Hampton by Hilton and Touchdown Bar & Grill are great for a number of different people. Not only is it is somewhere you can start enjoying your holiday early if you’re getting a flight from the airport. It has a top class restaurtant where you can enjoy good food and if you want to keep enjoying your evening, book a room and enjoy a delicious breakfast in the morning. It’s also a perfect location for people who want to visit places in Lincolnshire with easy access to the motorway.

G x

 

 

Local Salon, The Makeover Fairy Scoops Awards in 2019

I love seeing local businesses do well and what a year it’s been for Natalie George AKA The Makeover Fairy.

Finalist at the English Hair and Beauty Awards for Hair Salon of the Year 2019, then winning the Best Hair & Make Up Artist Lincolnshire 2019 at the SME Awards and topping it off with winning the British Hair & Beauty Awards Hair & Beauty Salon of the Year 2019.


Natalie is delighted with the awards

“I am so proud of what I’ve done, and so happy where I am. Earlier this year my confidence had been knocked, but these gave me that boost I needed, and reminded me “I am doing great”. Being a winner is not just about the work I do, it’s the looking after my clients, giving them the best treatment I can give, pamper, laughs, advice, miracle worker! I love what I do, and I do what I love”.

With over 25 years experience in the industry Natalie started her career when she was just 16 years old in a small local salon. She has owned her own business now for 14 years. Based in her beautiful studio cabin at home she also works freelance for weddings, events and photography sessions.

Natalie not only runs her salon she also has an eCommerce shop on her website where people can buy beauty products and jewellery online.

I’m really excited to see The Makeover Fairy continue to grow in 2020 and beyond, there’s a lot more to come and I am sure there will be many more awards along the way.

You can find out more about Natalie and The Makeover Fairy here:

Website: https://themakeoverfairy.co.uk/
Instagram: @nataliegeorgethemakeoverfairy
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/themakeoverfairynatgeorge/

G x

My Month: September 2019

Well what a month September has been! Crazy busy and really exciting.

Firstly we had two important birthdays. John’s little girls turned 11 and 6 this month. Plenty of presents and cake all round. We also took them to Doncaster Dome, which was so much fun and really reasonable in terms of cost (around £21 for five of us). It was such a fun afternoon, I’d definitely recommend it for kids (and big kids). We also went to Frankie and Benny’s for dinner which was yummy! Not quite in North East Lincs but not too far away and we had a really great day out!

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As you all know GI Media asked me to be one of their contributors to their website which I am THRILLED about. The news seems to always be about the bad things that happen and I wanted Girl Up North to really highlight the amazing area that we live in. GI Media Group have a fantastic following and I can’t wait to bring Girl Up North to their readers!

Lots of other exciting things in the pipeline for the blog can’t wait to share them all with you! Going to be writing about more local businesses and collaborations which is awesome! I’ve really been thinking about how I can get more involved with the local community and promoting our wonderful town! So watch this space.

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I love this time of year when the leaves start to change colour on the trees, the weather turns a little colder and the nights a little darker. My friends used to joke that I start to hibernate and I think I really do! We have been on a real movie marathon this month, watching all the Friday the 13th Movies (I’d never seen them, shock horror). John is a real avid movie fan (especially horror). I think you could name any movie to him and he’d know at least one fact about it haha! I keep telling him to start his own blog! We’ve set ourselves a 1x horror movie a night in October in aid of Halloween. I’ll get the list on here and let you know how it goes!


I got to spend some more time out at Green Futures this month which was fantastic, I love the work they are doing there and even got to try their yummy homegrown apples! They do deliver fruit and veg boxes so if you want to try some locally grown produce check them out!

I went to the Burlington Hotel’s MacMillan Coffee Morning, had a tour of the hotel (it’s lovely) and met some really lovely guests who come over to Cleethorpes every year from Berlin! The cakes were delicious and it was amazing to see how they incorporate introducing local businesses to their guest when they stay over, we love a bit of local promotion here at Girl Up North. Well done Jane and the team for a fab morning!

John and I also got some time to FINALLY go and see the driftwood benches, he’d told me about this so many times and I’ve never seen it so we donned our wellies and headed out for a walk on the beach. Started off all romantic and then we got a bit stuck and had to wade through a load of water to get back to the seafront. Fortunately I was with John who knows the tides well but can see how people can get stranded so it’s so important to be careful when we’re spending time out on the beach!


All in all a very productive and exciting September. I can’t wait to see what October brings!

Have a fab month!

G x

Links:

The Burlington Hotel: @theburlingtonhotelcleethorpes
Green Futures: @greenfuturesgy

Girl Up North Recommends: Business After Hours Podcast

I love a podcast, I listen to them in the morning whilst getting ready and on the drive to work as I try to use this time to be productive and get some inspiration.

I stumbled upon Business After Hours after following it’s presenter Liam O’Leary on Instagram and I am so glad I did.

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Liam is the owner of Digital Agency, Laser Red who are based in North East Lincs and has worked with some fantastic local companies. I think it’s brilliant he’s using this platform to interview and promote local businesses and business owners via the podcast.

Business After Hours is a series of podcasts in which Liam speaks to local business owners about their journeys in the world of business.

Liam’s interview technique is fantastic the interview really flows and is very much a chat in which as a listener you feel part of the conversation. It’s not technical or dull which I love, the tips and advice can be used whether you work for someone else, are a budding entrepreneur or you already run your own business.

I have thoroughly enjoyed each episode. All very different, but all with one thing in common they are people who are proud to be from North East Lincolnshire.

I really could fan girl about all of them but I just wanted to highlight a couple of my favourites, I am sure you will have your own and I’d love to hear which ones you loved!

Charlotte Hay’s podcast was the first in the series and what a start! Charlotte is Managing Director of Healing Manor and although I don’t have any official qualifications in marketing it’s an area I love and was fascinated to hear how Charlotte navigates this area of business. It was a really great conversation and I am now really looking forward to meeting Charlotte and talking all things social!

Listening to Andy Rouse talk about his journey was fascinating, Andy and I have met before but I learnt so much more about his background and including his involvement with Live Aid. I won’t spoil it but what a story!

Last but not least, Richard Askham, to be honest I could listen to Richard talk all day about any subject. When I have seen Richard talk in the past it’s been about particular events we’ve been at, or the goings on in North East Lincs so it was really great to hear about his upbringing and transition from the wine business to being a public speaker.

Massive well done to Liam and the team for creating such an interesting and engaging podcast.

Definitely gets the Girl Up North thumbs up for anyone who is interested in learning more about our local area, the people and businesses in it!

G x