Wendi was unemployed and much of her time was taken up with caring responsibilities at home where she had also started to craft as a hobby. In 2016 she heard that The Millin Charity was holding a community market and got in touch to see if she could sell the things she’d made. She was helped to take part with some advice on costing, labelling and health and safety, and it proved to be a great starting point.
“It was an absolutely fantastic experience. It felt brilliant to be out there and selling products that I had made.”
Thinking about the future
Wendi soon realised, however, that there was even more the charity could offer her than a market stall. Having been inspired by hearing other women’s stories of being self-employed, and meeting other women with the same aspirations as her, she was motivated to find out more and to think about how she could set up her own business in the future. She then followed the Local Women Local Enterprise Level 1 Accredited Choose Your Future course which helped her to think seriously about her next steps, and the Level 1 Going to Market course which gave her new ideas about selling her homemade crafts as a possible future venture.
Building social capital
Through attending courses, markets and workshops with The Millin Charity, Wendi built up a new network of people in the local community that she hadn’t met before, and gained a huge amount of confidence from the people around her, as well as from the successes she was starting to experience.
“The support from the charity’s team has been amazing. No way could I have come this far without them. It’s definitely made me more confident. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet such a diverse group of likeminded women. It would be far too terrifying to do this on my own (plus I wouldn’t have a clue what to do!)”
A turning point
Wendi’s new found confidence, and her determination to work for herself, led her to enrol on two further Local Women Local Enterprise courses: the Level 1 accredited Plan Your Enterprise course, so she could learn the skills she needed to plan her new business and start to put her plans into action; and the Level 2 Make and Manage Money at Home course, that helped her to realise that although selling her own products was enjoyable, if she was to make enough money to become financially independent, maybe the alternative idea she had tucked to the back of her mind might be a better option …
With her new-found confidence and skills, she brought to life Sqeeky Kleen, a local cleaning business that could fully utilise her skills, energy and enthusiasm, and create an income for herself and her family. When one of her course colleagues introduced her to her first customer, Wendi’s future success was off the starting blocks. 6 weeks later she has already found 10 customers, and is even bringing in part-time help for bigger jobs. Her 5* facebook reviews are coming in thick and fast, and she’s now well on her way to achieving her goal of becoming financially independent, only a year after selling at her first Local Women Local Enterprise market.
Women’s Trading Collective volunteer
Although she now has less time on her hands, Wendi is still a keen volunteer member of our Women’s Trading Collective, and has been central to the making of some wonderful fabric bunting, and has even learnt crocheting to help out with production too.
There’s no doubt that Wendi has gained a huge amount from being involved in both the Local Women Local Enterprise and Women’s Trading Collective projects, but we have also gained a lot as a charity from having her involved – she’s a team player, a meticulous worker and has a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm, qualities that we know will bring her the success she deserves.
If you need a domestic or commercial cleaner within a 10 mile radius of Newcastle Wendi would love to hear from you – get in touch and we’ll ask her to make contact.
It’s definitely made me more confident. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet such a diverse group of likeminded women. It would be far too terrifying to do this on my own (plus I wouldn’t have a clue what to do!)