BizMums is a national community of self-employed ladies who inspire and motivate each other through networking and training. It was started by Michelle Childs in Cheshire who, in 2012 was pregnant with her second child, had a full-time office job and a small business. She wanted to leave the office job to grow her own business and spend time with her family. She already knew of the power of networking, especially for small and growing businesses, but she needed one which she could take her children along to - there weren’t any! So she started her own! BizMums is now her business - with 80 BizMums groups across England which now recognises the success of its members through its annual Awards.
Caroline Aitken has been nominated by her fellow members in the ‘Creative Mum of the Year’ category. Caroline attends the Beverley, Anlaby and Kingswood BizMums groups which meet monthly on different mornings (see www.bizmums.biz/meetup-map/ for details). She runs Simply Interiors, making soft furnishings, Roman blinds, curtains and unique Harris Tweed Dog Bandanas but more recently has made a name for herself with her Hull Skyline design which was created with the help of graphic designer Nick Hill to celebrate Hull City of Culture 2017.
Just Beverley met up with Caroline to find out more about her and how BizMums has helped her grow.
She said: “BizMums has opened up new doors for me. It’s given me confidence and I’ve made many new supportive friends. Women can sometimes be hard-nosed, which is why I was initially reticent about joining, but this is a social meeting with babies and toddlers welcome, as well as a business meeting, so it’s very different to your usual networking group! Every meeting includes a guest speaker on a specialist topic, which is suggested by HQ, and then a member ‘show-cases’ their business.
“Last year, there was only 1 nomination for the Awards from East Yorkshire, this year there are 7! My fellow ‘Mum of the Year’ nominees include Nicola King (Network Marketing); Diane Parnham (Host); Jennifer Gilmour (Inspirational); Louise Bell (Online);
Katy Cowell and Claire Raper (both Charity). We find out whether we have won on October 8th at our Conference and Awards Ceremony. Just Beverley will be the first to know if we have won!”
Hull Skyline is a multicoloured design celebrating Hull’s history, culture and heritage. The images in the ‘skyline’ include Hull New Theatre; Amy Johnson’s Statue; The Deep; The Humber Bridge; Hull Minster (Holy Trinity Church); William Wilberforce’s Statue;
KCOM Stadium and The Fish Trail.
Caroline says the intention is to encourage people to look at Hull in a different light and she is hoping that the image itself will become iconic. It is available on several products: as a print on high quality photographic board ready for mounting; on tea-towels; canvass bags; post-cards; keyrings; car stickers; notepads and pens.
Currently, 12 outlets stock Hull Skyline products, including Creative Labs in Flemingate and Tyler & Black in St Mary’s Arcade or they are available through Caroline’s website: www.simply-cushions. co.uk/hull-skyline.aspx. She’s already encouraged by the response, especially as she is donating a percentage from each item sold to Dove House Hospice - her target is £1000 by the end of 2017.
Caroline has a social media presence - on Twitter as @hullskyline; @SimplyCushions and @thedogsgladrags and on Facebook as Caroline Aitken. Do follow her and watch out for her new creations - she has said that a Beverley Skyline could be in the offing - and if you need some new curtains or cushions, you know where to go!