May Meeting – The Networking Challenge

Tony Buddin

Perhaps the greatest and most daunting challenges of networking are how to approach a room full of strangers and how to find contacts in there who are able to help you move your business forward.

At our next meeting we’ll see the return of one of our popular speakers Tony Buddin, who will help us overcome this challenge with two facilitated practice sessions.

This presentation was developed by Tony and delivered to over 1,000 people as a warm up to a Lord Digby Jones Lecture at Maidstone TV Studios.
Tony has decades of experience at all levels of business and is a fabulous speaker – many of you will remember him coming to talk to us about pricing strategies and writing copy that sells.  There will also be plenty of time on the evening for formal and informal networking.
  • Evening of Wednesday 7th May
  • The Beacon, Tunbridge Wells



Accounting for small businesses – 2nd April meeting

A very practical and non-technical discussion about money, our relationship with it and how to manage and control it within our businesses. Combined with a no-make-up-selfie-night in aid of the local Pickering Cancer Drop in Centre :-) .

  • one of the biggest mistakes business owners make regarding their finances
  • how to generate the income that you want
  • whether you are charging enough for your product or service
  • controlling and recording your outgoings
  • ensuring that you are not throwing money away through poor systems
  • expenses and what sort of things you can offset
  • come with no make-up and make a £1 donation, if you can’t bear to go without mascara it’s a £5 donation {optional of course, you don’t actually have to}! All proceeds donated to Pickering Cancer Drop-in Centre – payable on the evening.




Following the success of our last swishing evening and after lots of requests to have another, it’s on Wednesday 5th March!

What it is:

  • everyone who comes donates at least one item of “pre-loved” ladies clothing still in VGC, plus accessories, shoes and good quality children’s clothes too
  • after time for wine, nibbles and cupcakes swishing is declared open
  • all donations are available for others to buy at a fixed cost of £3 per item or £1.50 for accessories
  • TW MIB and stylist Lynne Meek of Styling Matters will be on hand to let you know what suits you
  • all proceeds are donated to local charity chYps, which provides hospice and respite care to Kent children within their own home, helping the family stay together

***Click here to book!***




Christmas raffle time!

We’ve developed a bit of a tradition at TW MIBs to have our Fabulous Charity Raffle at our December Christmas drinks.  Our members and other local businesses donate prizes and all the proceeds go to our nominated charity chYps, which provides at-home hospice care for Kent children.  And as we have so many amazingly generous members we usually have ridiculously good odds of winning something!

So, here’s a list of this years prizes, which I’ll update as I receive them…

  1. iPod shuffle (pink!) from Laura of Lilyflair
  2. £100 Styling Matters voucher for Lynne’s time of wardrobe edit or personal shopping
  3. Voucher for acupuncture session worth £40 with Elma of Acupuncture Space
  4. Half a day’s PR work from Cheryl of CLR Communications to be used between January and March 2014.  Cheryl can either help you to identify a news story, write a press release and help with a press list or brainstorm a selection of news stories with you and teach you how to write press releases and the best ways to approach the media.
  5. £50 voucher for a massage or treatment from Victoria at Serenity Therapies
  6. Two hours of ironing AND four hours of babysitting worth £52 (which can be used together or separately) from Charlotte of Marvellous Mums
  7. Three vouchers for Clever Little Cake Kits from Boo
  8. Personalised plaque with vintage maps of your special places worth £55 by Painted with Love from moi
  9. A hand-made children’s dress or shirt of your choice up to the value of £22 from Jane’s collection at Alphabetty Designs
  10. Joint Wills worth £425 plus VAT from Reshma at Buss Murton Solicitors
  11. Six bottles of Prosecco from Hannah at Love Inc.
  12. An hour of gardening advice and/or design ideas in the recipient’s garden anywhere from Sevenoaks to T Wells and the surrounding villages from Alison of Gardening by Design worth £40.
  13. A place on 21 day Fed up to Fab starting 7 January worth £47 from Chloe Stephens
  14. Champagne and chocolates from Nicola of Nicola Whittington Executive PA & Secretarial Services
  15. Cupcake decorating masterclass with Emma of Array of Cakes - spend 2.5 hours in Emma’s kitchen learning how to decorate your own dozen cupcakes which you’ll take home with you
  16. Wash, cut and blow-dry worth £45 from the lovely Ashleigh Richter Hairdressing
  17. 30x30cm personalised canvas with something gorgeous painted on it for your child by Louise of The Creative Decorator with an image of your choice, worth £50.
  18. A one hour clarity coaching session with Hilary of Essence Coaching, worth £55.
  19. Voucher for a relaxing Clarins massage by Tia of Soulbird Psycotherapy.
  20. Virtual office for 3 months including a personalised telephone answering and a mailing / registered address from from Fleur at The Pantiles Chambers.
  21. Champagne from Anita of Anita Hazari Plastic Surgeon
  22. Two personal training sessions worth £60 from Sarah of Fit for a Princess
  23. Lovely Molton Brown treats worth £43 from Bridget of 1nfluence Driver Trainers
  24. Cupcake decorating party for 6 adults or children worth £130 from Tina at Sprinkles & Swirls
  25. Italian designer pendant light and ceiling rose made by Axo Lighting worth £250 from Jo Leevers
  26. Mystery basket of goodies from Louise at chYps
  27. Two prints of your choice from Jo and Lucy of Little Blue Zebra
  28. A full page advert in the spring issue of Playground Magazine worth £300 from Caroline
  29. A craft bag filled with a latch hook rug kit and a Christmas card making kit from Shelley at SewingCafe.
  30. A very beautiful poinsettia currently brightening up my dining table from Karen McClure and Millbrook Nurseries
  31. A natural daytime or glamorous nighttime makeover look for any special occasion, plus a 3-day Arbonne skincare trial from Make Up By Linda worth £60.
  32. An accounting consultation from Ann of ACS

Watch this space for more prizes!  If you’d like to donate one then please get in touch, we’d be really grateful for any support you can give to chYps.

November meeting – Principles of Effective Web Design

with Laura Ellis of Lilyflair

click here to book a place

What determines the success or failure of a website in terms of design? How do you put your user at the heart of the experience you offer online? Focusing on the main principles & approaches for effective web design, we’ll be looking at the following:

  • Design vs. Functionality
  • Identifying your audience
  • How users interact with websites
  • Getting your message across and calls to action
  • Effective communicate and interacting with your audience
  • Using media
  • What Google sees
  • Usability issues

About our speaker

Laura Ellis runs Lilyflair Web, a small web design company based in Crowborough.  She spent many years in the marketing & strategy department of a large multi-national company and headed up their online services division, before starting her own business in 2012.

click here to book a place

Meet a member – Cheryl Randeria of CLR Communications

Cheryl RanderiaName: Cheryl Randeria

Businesses: CLR Communications

Mum to: Tia, who is starting school in September, time has flown by!

What is that you do, and how long have you been in business?  I set up CLR Communications two years ago to help businesses and charities communicate and engage with people. I work with organisations to identify ways that they can reach out to more people through online and offline media. I work in many ways, from an hour brainstorm to something longer term.

What did you do before you started your business and what led you to setting up? After completing a PR Degree I worked for over 12 years in various PR and Communications roles. I have created successful communications and media campaigns for both the private and not-for-profit sectors, ranging from International and National organisations to small businesses.

I set up CLR Communications for two reasons. The first was so that I could help lots of different organisations communicate with people. The second was to get a better balance between work and looking after my little girl. This is my third year in business and so far so good.

When did you start coming to TW MIBs and how do you benefit from it? I came to the summer drinks last year and have attended various meetings since then. It is really nice to meet other business owners in the area and the talks are really good. It is hard to find money for training when you’re self-employed, TW MIBs provides both social and training benefits.

What have been your greatest achievements so far? I have worked with ten different clients, working on a variety of projects from a complete communications review for a Hospice, to helping a nursery celebrate its 25th Birthday and launched an Electric Transport Business. I love the variety and adding real value to the businesses and charities I have worked with.

What have been your biggest challenges and learning curves? I think the biggest challenge is working out the difference between a positive conversation and what is actually going to lead to work. I learnt the hard way last year when I had been speaking to several clients about work, so increased my daughter’s days at nursery and then the work wasn’t confirmed.

And how do you find balancing motherhood and a business? How does it compare to your “previous life”? I currently work 3 – 4 days a week. Cutting the time and cost of a three hour commute into London made a huge difference. I still work a full day, but can spend more quality time with my family when I was commuting.

What are your goals for the next year? The big challenge for this year will be working out how to make my business work around a 9-3pm school day (any advice would be welcome!) as Tia starts in September. I would also like to find a retaining client for a few hours a week to provide more stability to my business.

Where would you like to be in 5 years’ time? I would like to have done such a good job that lots of happy clients are recommending me for other business and I need to turn people away!

Your top tips for other mums considering starting a business?

  1. Plan and budget to work ten months in every twelve
  2. Build a website that you can manage easily. Do not add time sensitive sections if you cannot keep it up to date.
  3. Skype do a very good deal on business telephone number, which is competitive and online so you can take your office anywhere
  4. Remember why you did it – Remember to have quality time with your children
  5. Enjoy it

And finally, tell us something about yourself that we might not know… I once spent 14 hours in a four-seater plane with Pam Ferris (Darling buds of May, Harry Potter fame) dashing down a country with 12 stops to Carers Centres across the country for charity

And a special offer for TW MIB members! Cheryl is offering members of TW MIBs a two-hours-for-the-price-of-one brainstorm session on how you can reach more people. The cost will be £30. Anyone interested can call me on 020 8133 2604 or email .

Find out more about Cheryl and CLR Communications…


Interview date: July 2013

Meet a Member – Jane Osborn of Image Potential / Colour Me Beautiful

Jane Osborn, Image PotentialName:  Jane Osborn

Businesses:  Image Potential/Colour Me Beautiful

Mum to:  Libby (16) studying A Levels at Tunbridge Wells Boys Grammar School and Zak (13) at Cranbrook School

What is that you do, and how long have you been in business?  I’m an Image Consultant.  I work with individuals to ensure the first impression they give is how they wish to be perceived.  I show them how to wear clothes that suit both their colouring and body shape.  I make shopping simple, wardrobes work and confidence soar.

What did you do before you started your business and what led you to setting up  My background is in Finance, I traded Japanese Equity Derivatives for 16 years.  I worked in the City, Japan and New York.  When I left the City I set up and ran a Nanny Agency locally which I sold as a going concern.

My best friend treated me to a Colour Me Beautiful session for my birthday and I loved the difference it made to me so I trained.  I love the confidence it gives women who feel they have lost their way.  I also love giving talks, working with all ages, different professions, men and women.

When did you start coming to TW MIBs and how do you benefit from it?  I started with TW MIB last year and have enjoyed meeting like minded women.  I love the different talks at the monthly meetings.

What have been your greatest achievements so far?  Personally my kids, professionally: I am very proud to say that with the Nanny Agency I was the first agency in the country to be allowed to police check the girls; As an Image Consultant I have written and worked with journalists on articles for local and national press for Colour Me Beautiful and worked at London Fashion Week.

What have been your biggest challenges and learning curves?  Honestly, explaining what I do…. People want a makeover but they are only good for press and TV.  What I do is show people how it all works taking into account their personality and ensure it is appropriate to their environment.  I give them the tools to make their own decisions.  I can work as a stylist, and often do, but as an Image Consultant it is much more in depth.  We also deal with body language, presentation skills etc.

And how do you find balancing motherhood and a business? How does it compare to your “previous life”?  Things are getting easier for me as my two are both teenagers, however, it seems there are still dramas just different types.  My son is at boarding school so that has helped free up evenings for me too.  When they were little I had full time nannies (perk of having the agency!).

What are your goals for the next year?  I have just set up another company with a partner and we are going to be running workshops for women who want to get back into the workplace, set up their own businesses or change career.  We have women giving workshops on everything from writing a CV to Tax specialists.

Where would you like to be in 5 years’ time?  I would like my Image Potential and Think Success to be keeping me busy full time.  Running the workshops all over the country and continuing to help women.

Your top tips for other mums considering starting a business?  

  1. Love what you do
  2. Believe in yourself
  3. Make sure you take good advice
  4. Network wherever you can
  5. Listen to people around you who have been in similar positions

And finally, tell us something about yourself that we might not know  I have danced with Darren from Strictly…..

And a special offer from Jane!  I am happy to offer 10% discount on Full Colour Consultations in June

Find out more about Jane and Image Potential…

Interview date: June 2013

Meet a Member – Magdalena Jameel of Forever Living Products

Madgalena Jameel of Forever Living ProductsName:  Magdalena Jameel

Businesses:  Forever Living Products

Mum to:  Real character and lovely boy – Mikolaj, age 8

What is that you do, and how long have you been in business? I am working alongside Forever Living Products (2 years now) which is a phenomenal global network marketing company – the world leader in Aloe Vera and beehive products. Business model and its simplicity enabled me to work with great flexibility around my family commitments and look straight forward to the better future.

What did you do before you started your business and what led you to setting up?Before I came to UK I was studying Animal Breeding in Krakow and also working at BP in logistics. When I came to England I worked in High Street restaurants in Tunbridge Wells and as a customer assistant in M&S.  Initially, I recognised that I need to rid myself of some old habits and beliefs – and this is when I started Forever Living.

As I said I wanted to break through stereotypes of having “job” which for me means working to fulfill someone else’s dreams.  As a family we also have dreams– and to achieve them we need to take 100% responsibility for our lives.  Either we can stay where we are or just move forward…..

When did you start coming to TW MIBs and how do you benefit from it?  I started business myself and wanted to be around wise women who might provide me with best motivation available.  My business works when my tongue works so I needed to spread the word about it. With time I have built good relationship with few mums at TW MIBs and it is a place to meet friends – it the same time I can learn some tips and techniques for successful business from other mums in business.

What have been your greatest achievements so far?  With the group and outside – through my business – I learned to leave my comfort zone, which is great achievement each time and enables me to develop myself and break new barriers.

What have been your biggest challenges and learning curves?  For me challenge was coming over to England away from relatives and starting my life here from scratch J – just the three of us.

And how do you find balancing motherhood and a business? How does it compare to your “previous life”?  The type of the business I have, a network marketing company (Forever Living Products) fits very well with motherhood and family life. It is great. I recommend to everyone to look at the options and choose the best one possible in MLM.

What are your goals for the next year?  To establish my business and help others in my team and help those who join my team to achieve their goals.

Where would you like to be in 5 years’ time?  I would like to travel the world with my family and show other cultures and countries to my son.

Your top tips for other mums considering starting a business?  

  1. Put your family on a first place and then plan accordingly to achieve all their needs (and your) and fulfil their (and your) dreams,
  2. Find something or someone e.g. a mentor to motivate you and drive you to do the job even when it’s hard
  3. Be passionate about what you do
  4. Stick to it – NEVER GIVE UP
  5. Have fun!

And finally, tell us something about yourself that we might not know  

I like to listen to loud music which most annoys my husband and …. my son!  Well there is few more odd things but I might share it when I will know you better J

And a special offer from Madgalena!  As TWMiB group we support ChYps and all members who order products directly from me by phone 07525 366 509, email  or face to face – are supportingour Charity by giving 10% to it. For all non-members who claim that they saw the offer here (on TWMiB website) I also offer 10% for them while ordering by phone or email or face to face.

Find out more about Madgalena and Forever Living Products…

Interview date: 7 June 2013

Meet a member – Jane Parker of Alphabetty Designs

Jane Parker of Alphabetty DesignsName:  Jane Parker

Businesses:  My business is Alphabetty Designs

Mum to:  A wonderfully boisterous, cheeky little 3 ½ year old boy.

What is that you do, and how long have you been in business?  I hand appliqué children’s tee’s and bags using felt made from recycled plastic bottles.  I started Alphabetty in June last year after my hobby became an obsession!  All my tee’s and bags are organic or fair-trade cotton and are responsibly sourced, my designs are hand-stitched and are baised on the alphabet

What did you do before you started your business and what led you to setting up?  I was an IT Manager and Software Trainer before my pregnancy and returned to work when my son was 9 months old – I hated leaving him so started to think about starting a home business.

I love appliquéing and when a friend saw one of my son’s tees and asked me if I could make one, thats when I realised I could turn my hobby in to a business.  I run another business too called Talking Tots, which I adore but was not tapping in to my creative side

When did you start coming to TW MIBs and how do you benefit from it?  I have been a member for over a year and the support and encouragement from all the MIB’s is just wonderful!  It’s hard going it alone so to have the opportunity to learn from others is brilliant, the talks are so informative.

What have been your greatest achievements so far?  Getting through my 1st Christmas rush of orders!  Setting up my own website – all on my own, I am ever so proud of my little self.

What have been your biggest challenges and learning curves?  Finding the right suppliers has been the biggest challenge as I wanted to source sustainable and eco-friendly products at the right price

And how do you find balancing motherhood and a business? How does it compare to your “previous life”?  Much easier – I am able to be there to take him to pre-school and to collect him.  I run Talking Tots in the mornings and Alphabetty Designs in the afternoon and after he is in bed.  Its the perfect balance for us!

What are your goals for the next year?  I will be adding to my lines with ‘Alphabetty Reversibles’ this will be a collection of reversible baggys, shorts, skirts and dresses in gorgeous fabrics and appliqué which are fully reversible

Where would you like to be in 5 years’ time?  I would love to have my own shop.

Your top tips for other mums considering starting a business?  

  1. Really research your idea before getting too excited
  2. Always write a business plan
  3. Keep your books up to date (I need to remember this one!)
  4. Learn how to take excellent product photos (I’m still learning this one)
  5. Have fun and enjoy what you do

And finally, tell us something about yourself that we might not know  I left home at 11 years old to go to a ballet/boarding school and loved every minute of it, it wasn’t quite Mallory Towers but we did have lots of fun and midnight feasts.

And a special offer from Alphabetty!  I’m offering 10% off – using code twmib2013 when you order via my website.

Find out more about Jane and Alphabetty Designs…

Interview date: 1 April 2013