The 2019 leading ladies of Hampshire


- Credit: Archant

Hampshire women mean business! Here, we turn the spotlight on some of our county’s most successful - and discover what it is that makes them tick

Rachel Brooks - Partner, Thrings Solicitors

Rachel Brooks is a partner and Head of the Succession and Tax team at Thrings solicitors’ Hampshire office in Romsey.

Tell us about your business?

As Head of the Succession and Tax team at Thrings solicitors, I enable clients to look after their assets, ensuring that they manage them, grow them and preserve them so as to share them with whom they wish in the future. Some clients have extensive landed estates with interesting history and others have complicated family arrangements; whatever the circumstances, my job always demands technical skill, empathy and discretion. Every day is different and varied; I cannot imagine ever getting tired of this role and the contact I have with my clients.

Any top tips for a successful working relationship?

We all know that people who get on well with each other are more likely to work well together. Trust, communication and respect are all essential for a successful working relationship but humour is also important. As our team is dealing with complex client issues that require dedication and discretion, it is important for us to allow ourselves to let off steam sometimes. The culture at Thrings is one where we laugh together and enjoy each other’s company - this makes for a great work ethos.

How do you spend your free time?

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Living in Hampshire, my husband and I are lucky to have a variety of beautiful places to walk. Whether it is strolling along one of the many beaches or walking through the New Forest, we love spending time with our two Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Henry and Polly. There is nothing quite like walking dogs in the fresh air to relax from the working week. I am sometimes guilty of thinking about work when I have free time but this is often when I come up with my best ideas of how to bring innovation and creativity to my role.

Stuart Court, Salisbury Road, Romsey, S051 6DJ; 023 8093 0315

Laura Hasson - Neat-House Interiors

Neat-House Interiors is based in Otterboume on the outskirts of Winchester. Even though the business has been established for over 20 years we are still a little secret to our local community.

Tell us about your family life?

I have been happily married to my husband for just over 6 years now and we have a 5 year old little boy who likes to keep us busy. We live on the outskirts of Longparish Village which is close to Andover and we feel very lucky to live in such a beautiful part of Hampshire. Our weekends usually consist of muddy walks in the countryside with our 8 year old German Shepherd and baking.

Tell us about your business?

Neat-House Interiors has been established for over 20 years with my business partner, Wes, taking over the main role 4 years ago and myself joining the business 2 years ago. We run a bespoke curtain and soft furnishing workroom with 4 highly skilled seamstresses along with our newly refurbished Design Studio where Wes and I work together to create beautiful schemes for our clients. This can be from helping to select the perfect fabric for a pair of curtains through to pulling a whole scheme together from curtains to furniture.

What does your average day look like?

Each day varies so much, with a mix of consultations in the Design Studio, site visits and fittings to designing bespoke furniture. We are very hands on which our clients like along with being able to visit our Design Studio and then see through to the workroom where our seamstresses are busy creating our bespoke orders under one roof is a rare find.

Longmoor Farm Buildings, Cranbury Park, Otterbourne, Winchester S021 2RH; 023 8027 3414

Tracy Jarvis - Founder CEO, Community Matters Partnership Project (CMPP)

Tracy is a first generation graduate and a social entrepreneur who was born in Aldershot. Throughout her career she has endeavoured to create businesses that tackle important social issues. Tracy is married and balances running both businesses with a six year old daughter and ten year old cocker spaniel.

Tell us about your business?

The Looking Glass is a network bringing together leading women from across Hampshire to connect and grow. The network provides inspiring speakers alongside intelligent conversation for like-minded women. CMPP is a social enterprise that helps companies to deliver a Social Responsibility through a variety of activities including corporate-volunteering, business networking and employee engagement activities.

Any tips for a successful working relationship?

Listen first - you cannot sell effectively unless you understand what it is that the client wants; what are their needs and what problems can you solve for them. Once you understand this, you will start to look at effective ways to work together. Build trust and always look for collaboration over competition, people buy people and trusted brands.

Share your secret to success?

To be successful you have to take risks and be prepared to fail. Perseverance in your beliefs is key. Be passionate about what it is you want to achieve, nothing sells like passion and good ideas. Most of all have a lot of integrity; you are your brand, do what you say you will do and do it brilliantly!

Farnborough, Hants. GU14 8JX 01252 688257

Gina Peters - Partner, Dutton Gregory

Gina Peters is a Partner at Dutton Gregory, a multi-disciplinary law firm with offices across Hampshire and Dorset. Gina has over 20 years’ experience as a litigator with a wealth of expertise and knowledge in residential landlord and tenant issues.

Tell us about your business?

I grew up in Hampshire and I have spent my whole working life as a solicitor here. It is a great place to grow a business, being so accessible and within a stone’s throw of London.

As Partner at Dutton Gregory, I specialise in private residential housing law, a real growth area with so many of us letting and renting property. The lettings industry has been bombarded by regulatory change to improve housing standards and to eliminate ‘rogue’ landlords and agents operating in this sector.

My team operate an esteemed telephone helpline for agents which keeps us on top of legislative changes to ensure everyone understands the numerous laws that govern their businesses. I enjoy my work and the people I work with both in my team and firm wide.

How do you spend your free time?

Despite a busy job, family comes first. To switch off, I practice yoga and attend pilates classes weekly. Long walks with our dog at weekends and a half hour meditation each working day morning allow me to be a calming influence. In addition, I’ve been a School Governor for some 14 years.

What’s your motto in life?

To be healthy inside and out, as health is central to everything we do, and to always be thankful for even the smallest of things - two mottos!

Concept House, 6 Stoneycroft, Chandler’s Ford, Eastleigh S053 3LD; 023 8022 1344

Elizabeth Gimler - Dr Xavier G Medi-Spa Clinic

With extensive clinic experience in the USA and on Grand Cayman Island, Elizabeth works at Dr Xavier G Medi-Spa Clinic in Southampton alongside Dr Xavier, as the clinic’s skin laser specialist.

Tell us about your business?

As the expression goes, “your eyes are the window to your soul” and in my profession “your skin reflects your inner health and overall wellbeing”. My passion is helping women (and of course men too!) to feel the best they can be. I love that my skills and experience can be combined in a doctor-led environment and that together we can offer so many treatments and therapies under one roof. This includes for skin ageing, skin health, hormones, weight loss & inner wellness as well as for hair-regrowth and intravenous vitamin infusions.

Share your secret to success?

When I came to the UK I wanted to work in a multi-disciplinary clinical team because it is important to consider a number of factors when helping someone with their skin health and appearance. It is easy to just offer a cream or a treatment but to me that is like just applying a ‘band-aid’, it doesn’t help get to the root cause. Working in a doctor-led clinic I love that we can combine the 4 modalities of medical treatments (injectable & laser), nutrition, bio-identical hormones and effective skincare. The secret to success lies therefore in teamwork and bringing all these services together seamlessly.

Who or what inspires you?

Actually, many of my clients inspire me on a daily basis. It never ceases to amaze me the challenges that people overcome and that they share with me. I help people of every skin type and every body-shape and from many different cultures and backgrounds - so I continue to be amazed and inspired daily!

25 Queen’s Terrace, Southampton, S014 3BQ; 023 806 37638

Vicky Eagle - Southampton Airport

I love the travel and tourism industry and am the Marketing Manager at Southampton Airport.

Tell us about your business

Southampton Airport is a great place to work. We fly people for business and holidays throughout the year and have some really exciting expansion plans coming up. We have some great locations from Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow for business or regional France and Spain for your summer holiday. The best part of Southampton Airport is its location, with excellent links to roads and the rail station it’s just so easy to get to. Our passengers quite often joke about landing from their trip and being back home for a cup of tea within 20 minutes. If you are looking for a stress free airport then Southampton is definitely the one for you.

Any top tips for a successful working relationship?

Communication and teamwork! I believe that the key is to develop a really positive relationship with the people you work with to ensure you make your job

more enjoyable and successful. I have to be really creative in my role and working with the wider team can often help me maximise the results I get. I work in a close team of absolute legends so being a really dependable team player is crucial.

Why Hampshire?

What makes the area so right for your line of work? I went to university in Birmingham and came home to do a work placement at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Since then I loved travel and tourism and after university moved to Hertfordshire to work for a large hotel chain. After a few years I couldn’t wait to move back to Hampshire. It has everything for me. From a career point of view it has a raft of amazing places that I would love to work for including hotels, tourist attractions, national parks, amazing cities and locations and so much more. From a personal point of view I love that you have the sea so close but also the beautiful South Downs and New Forest. I really can’t think of a better place to live right now.

Wide Lane, Southampton, S018 2NL; 0344 481 7777

Jane Prescott - Headmistress, Portsmouth High School, Girls’ Day School Trust

Jane became Headmistress in September 2011 and has spent much of her career in girls’ schools, She believes in educating the whole person and developing in children an intellectual curiosity that inspires a lifelong love of learning. Jane sees that a teacher’s role should ensure that pupils become confident, happy and well-equipped to take advantage of every opportunity.

What does your average day look like?

My day starts with meeting senior staff followed twice weekly by a whole school assembly. Assemblies are varied with many being taken by girls, staff and outside speakers and they are always informative and entertaining. The joy of being a teacher comes from interaction with children and as a head teacher I ensure I stay in touch by seeing our students as often as I can and it is a complete pleasure to end my day watching a concert, play or match.

Who or what inspires you?

The people I meet on a daily basis inspire me. Our pupils never cease to amaze with their talent and abilities. They rise to challenges and demonstrate their curiosity for learning which makes helping educate them a true delight. Furthermore, our alumna reflect the school ethos; they are excellent role models for the younger generation. I am fortunate to work alongside teachers and support staff who are so committed and dedicated to their work.

Share your secret to success?

Success only comes before work in the dictionary. Everything requires effort and time in order to turn out well, in balance with a healthy lifestyle. I am a great advocate of being organised - not to the point of such extremism that change cannot be coped with but by using regular planning to prevent a life always in crisis management. There are times when safety must come first but in the classroom, we want to encourage students to take a chance on ideas and opinions.

25 Kent Road, Southsea, Hampshire P05 3E0; 023 9282 6714

Lis Valenzia - Haydown Kitchens

Haydown Kitchens is owned and run by Lis Valenzia and her husband Chris. They sell stunning made to order Nolte German kitchens from their boutique kitchen showroom. In addition they do all the design, fitting and any associated building work.

Tell us about your business?

We started our business in 2011. Back then Chris made bespoke kitchens and pieces of fitted furniture. As our business developed, we took the decision to concentrate on kitchens and became a supplier of the wonderful Nolte kitchen brand. Today we have a boutique showroom in the hamlet of East Cholderton and business couldn’t be better! We work all over Hampshire, as well as in Dorset, Wiltshire, Berkshire and London.

What does your average day look like?

My average day is somewhat eclectic! Mornings can be spent meeting potential clients at our showroom, doing admin or seeing a supplier. Afternoons can be spent helping out on site, taking photos for our portfolio, or thoroughly cleaning a completed kitchen before it’s handed to our client. I could be in the builder’s merchant one minute and the next using my rusty German with our Nolte delivery driver. I’m always on the go and wearing lots of different hats, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Share your secret to success?

We start with a great product and add in experience, creativity and service. Our overriding ingredient is respecting our client and listening to what they want. Having a new kitchen is an important investment into a home and it comes with an enormous amount of decision making. Our goal is to make that whole experience easy. Most of our work comes from client recommendation, so I think we must be getting something right.

Unit 3, Haydown Mushroom Farm, East Cholderton SP11 8LR; 01264 333123

Sara Fildes - Verisona Law

Sara Fildes is an Associate Director and Head of Family Law at Verisona Law. She qualified as a Solicitor in 2000 and deals with all aspects of relationship breakdown including divorce, financial matters ancillary to divorce, children issues and cohabitation disputes. She is a collaborative lawyer, family law mediator and founder of the Chichester Collaborative Law Pod. Sara also headed the campaign to try to save Chichester Combined Court in her previous capacity as president of Chichester Law Society.

What is the secret of your success?

I have a strong determination to help people resolve disputes and have built up skills to help deal with a variety of problems. As a family law mediator and collaborative lawyer I aim to deal with matters in a practical way and work hard to resolve disputes as quickly and cost effectively as possible. Working with a highly dedicated team always helps.

How do you achieve a work/life balance?

Achieving a work like life balance isn’t always easy but I have a number of outside work interests which include running and gardening. I enjoy being a member of Chichester Athletics Club as I find running helps me to keep fit and maintain mindfulness. I have 13 year old twins with my partner, Edward, and we are lucky to have had huge support from my mother who moved to be near us shortly before our twins were born.

Who inspires you most, either in work or home?

I am regularly inspired by the people that I meet every day. On a daily basis I meet people that are dealing with or have had to overcome great obstacles and it acts as a reminder that everyone is on a journey. The person who inspired me the most is my Mum. She taught me to believe in myself, to learn something new every day, to go out and meet people and to stand up for myself but most of all to help others and be kind.

Wellesley House, 202 London Road, Waterlooville, Portsmouth P07 7AN; 023 9298 1000

Julie-Ann Harris - Partner Coffin Mew

Julie-Ann Harris is a partner at law firm Coffin Mew UP She joined in early 2018 working across the Southern region and is proud to head up the dynamic family team at this bold and entrepreneurial firm.

Tell us about your business?

We adapt our service to fit our clients, who are as unique as we are, by providing a personal approach in every case. Our expertise spans across four key sectors - Technology, Real Estate, Care & Protection, and Agricultural & Rural Business. We are a premium regional practice offering the very best legal solutions to our clients.

Who or what inspires you?

Lady Hale, who is the Supreme court’s first female president, is a real inspiration. She is a fierce campaigner for women in law and in October 2018 she sat on a case with the first ever female majority in 600 years. She understands the pressure of being a working mum and has acknowledged how difficult it is to balance work and family commitments.

Share your secret to success?

I think the key to success is to work hard, be open and honest, embrace change and not be afraid to ask questions. I never lose sight of the human element in each case, I love my role and would not do anything different. I’ve had the honour to work with a number of great clients over the years, some of whom I am now privileged to call my friends. I am also a great believer in building a good work/life balance. I enjoy walking my dog in the New Forest, taking dance lessons to keep fit and enjoy a busy social life with my wonderful circle of family and friends.

1000 Lakeside North Harbour, Portsmouth P06 3EN; 02392 388021

Edyta Swiecka - Delicious Dining

A qualified Criminal Lawyer, Edy Swiecka had planned to enter the Polish Diplomatic Service, but a year’s stay in Southampton studying English gave rise to a new career in the hospitality sector and 15 years on, she is General Manager of the sumptuous Grand Café in Southampton.

Tell us about your business?

Grand Café is a restaurant with beautiful decor and historic surroundings. Our unique venue hosts various functions from weddings, charity events, cabaret nights to special celebrations. We cater for anything from small networking events to large banquets, quick lunchtime snacks to fine dining. Our Afternoon Tea and Sunday Roasts are also highly regarded.

Average day?

Every day is different dealing with varied enquires from a table for two to a function for 200. With a busy bar and restaurant organization is key. I spend a lot of time in the office doing administration, meeting with prospective clients, maintaining a personable relationship with customers and ensuring an efficient and smooth service to make every guests experience special.

Any top tips for a successful working relationship?

I believe it is important to lead by example, I would not ask a member of my team to do a job that I was not prepared to do myself. I create a good balance between being a boss and a friend - hospitality is a fun industry to work in, but it requires hard work and commitment. We are not just a team, but a second family in this competitive business.

South Western House, Terminus Terrace, Southampton S014 3AS; 023 8033 9303

Claire Long - Sherborne Windows

I enjoy my job in marketing especially when see the transformation of client’s homes. It’s like watching Grand Designs each week.

Tell us about your business?

Claire Long started Sherborne Windows with her husband Chris in the early 90’s, opening their first showroom in Farnborough, Hampshire which displays windows and doors. A second showroom in Windlesham followed dedicated to glazed extensions. The business has grown organically and with regular innovation and new products it’s seen the business flourish. Claire has been instrumental in recent years undertaking the marketing activities of the business. A third showroom in Hartley Wintney is dedicated to a range of Timber Windows and doors. Many properties in Hampshire are situated within conservation areas. The range offers a perfect solution to some of the obstacles homeowners face when wanting to replace windows and doors in period properties.

Any top tips for a successful working relationship?

Claire and Chris have worked together for many years and it can be quite demanding. People often ask ‘how do you do it?’ - Claire says ‘we recognise each other’s strengths and appreciate it’s a team effort’. I enjoy my job especially when I see the transformation of client’s homes. So many products have evolved and I firmly believe we can never stop learning and aspiring to be better. Even a front door can make a real statement.

Tell us about your family life?

Claire is also mum to 3 children Molly, Alex & Daisy and lives near to Hartley Wintney and with upcoming A levels and GCSE’s it’s a busy household for everyone. I like to make time to unwind and it’s important with busy lives to stop and breath, that’s why I love my family dog walks with new puppy, Dotty. With some many fantastic places in Hampshire there’s always somewhere new to explore.

135 Lynchford Road, Farnborough GU14 6HD 01252 370917

Fiona Fox - Godwins Solicitors LLP

Godwins Solicitors LIP is a leading Winchester-based law firm. Fiona has been with the firm for 6 years and specialises in Wills, probate, trusts, tax planning, powers of attorney and the affairs of the elderly and advises farming clients.

Share your secret to success?

I love my job. It’s that easy. I thrive off meeting different people, listening to their requirements and formulating a plan distinct to that client to achieve their goals. I work hard with my clients to ensure I deliver what I have promised efficiently and effectively. I have fantastic support both in the office and at home and appreciate that success is about teamwork and playing to people’s strengths, while at the same time encouraging others (and myself) to continue to learn and develop.

Any top tips for a successful working relationship?

Listening. Listening to clients, colleagues and other professional contacts is key to achieving and maintaining successful relationships. I take a genuine interest in others and hope that, as a result, I am considered approachable.

How do you achieve a work/life balance?

My husband and I enjoy life in the countryside just outside Winchester with our two young children. We are all busy with work, school, family and social commitments during the week, but encourage a strict policy of ‘family time’ at the weekends. It works well for us and ensures a strong, close family unit, while allowing each of us to maintain our independence.

12 St Thomas St, Winchester S023 9HF 01962 841484

Casey Carnall - BDS Bridgeways Dental

I am a dedicated smile make-over artist with a passion to providing unparalleled care to all of the patients that trust me with their smile dreams. I graduated in 2010 from Bristol Dental School and run my own dental clinic in Southampton.

Tell us about your business?

I acquired Bridgeways Dental at the end of 2016 and have invested the last two years transforming it into the practice where patients are comfortable, understood, and have the highest level of treatment possible. We offer family general dental care, alongside advanced cosmetic treatments and dental implants. I am a certified Invisalign provider alongside which I am studying for an MSc in Orthodontics. I have undertaken further post-graduate training in aesthetic dentistry, composite bonding, and facial aesthetics, skills which I incorporate into my practice daily to achieve the best results for my patients.

Why Hampshire?

What makes the area so right for your line of work? Being a southern girl, there is nowhere I would rather be than Hampshire, with unrivalled work-life balance. The people of Hampshire care about their wellbeing and with the spotlight on healthy living, dental health is more important than ever. We are ideally located in the small town of Totton, right on the edge of Southampton and the New Forest with fantastic transport links so more people can visit us.

What are your goals for the future?

I aim to turn my clinic into the “go-to” dental and aesthetic practice for Hampshire. We are continuously investing in technology and training to provide leading dental care. I am excited about what the future of dentistry has to offer and can’t wait to share that with more happy patients of Hampshire.

61 Rumbridge St, Totton, Southampton SO40 9DT; 023 8086 8833

Rebecca Lyons-Smith - Headmistress, St Swithun’s Prep School

Becky is the headmistress of St Swithun’s Prep School in Winchester, which educates girls aged 4-11 with a co-ed nursery. The school’s next open day is Saturday 15 June 2019.

Any top tips for a successful working relationship?

Communicate, communicate, communicate - no one ever gets this right all of the time, but we have to all start with the customer in mind and the end in clear sight. Our end goal is amazing young women striding confidently into the world to make a difference - let that guide everything and relationships will work.

What does your average day look like?

A typical school day for me always starts with the 8am meet and greet. I will then do a variety of things depending on the day such as visiting our Nursery, having a staff meeting about our outdoor play project, watching sports matches, meeting with parents and taking in an evening concert when our students are performing. The days are always busy, varied and entertaining.

What’s your motto in life?

“If not you, who? If not now, when?” This is very much the attitude we try to instil at St Swithun’s. We talk a lot about our 3G’s (Grit, Gratitude and Generosity) which are the guiding principles of our prep school, and we encourage all of our students to have fun, take risks, and most of all get stuck in to all that life has to offer.

St Swithun’s Prep School Alresford Road, Winchester S021 1HA; 01962 835750

Wendy Martin-Green - Peter Green Furnishers

Nine years ago, running a furniture business in the UK was the furthest thing from my mind because 1 was living in New York and I still do! Despite the distance have been able to manage this massive furniture and flooring store using modem technology and an excellent management team.

What makes the area so right for your line of work?

Started by my Father in1956 Peter Green, has been described as an iconic brand. We are both retail and contract furnishers and are especially busy today because of all the new building that is happening in this area. We take pride in transforming Hampshire’s houses into wonderful homes and to bringing the best in design and comfort to the county’s work spaces. Our company is trusted and respected by the community it ‘grew up’ in, and although we have a modern approach to business and style we still stand by our originator’s principles service, quality and affordability.

What does your average day look like?

There is no average day when you live in one country and work in another. My days in America revolve around emails, phone calls, Skype meetings and interviews. My days in England are more creative, centring around display, marketing and buying furniture and flooring. I have become involved with a number of local community projects and I am a member of Eastleigh Rotary Club. I enjoy it all!

How do you spend your free time?

I love to be with my three children, the two boys Rowan and Quillian come home frequently for long visits and the eldest, Azalea, works with me in the family business and is soon to have a baby. I also hike, paint abstract landscapes, enjoy time with my friends and I am a good way to finishing my first novel.

School Lane, Chandlers Ford S053 4DG; 023 8098 3622

Hilary Nossiter - Forest Foot & Health Clinic

Hilary Nossiter is the Director of The Forest Foot and Health Clinic in Cadnam, which has recently won the New Forest Business Partnership Award for Outstanding Customer Care and also Business of the Year 2018-19.

Tell us about your business?

Hilary began her working life in cancer research at Southampton University, and after taking ten years off to have her three children, she returned to studies, took a second degree in podiatric medicine, and started a whole new career as a self-employed Podiatrist. From those early days, with the support of her husband, Peter, Hilary balanced her family life with a growing private practice. Starting from no patients, The Forest Foot and Health Clinic in Cadnam now has nearly nine thousand patients and after 23 years, has become a well-established part of the local community in the New Forest National Park. She is still balancing work life with her family and now has eight grandchildren!

What does your average week look like?

In a typical working week, around 150 patients attend the clinic for Podiatry, Physiotherapy, Osteopathy or Sports Massage. We have a general practice, with many varied problems presenting to our clinic, from foot, muscle and joint pain to routine footcare, ingrown toenails, fungal nails, verruca or care of diabetic foot problems. For some of our patients, their problem can be solved in a few visits; some, however, need us to keep their feet in good working order, so they attend on a regular basis and we have all become friends over the years, which brings a wonderful feeling of community to the clinic.

Share your secret to success?

Hilary says her secret to success is to have loved her job, accepting the long hours, and to have paid attention to detail, both of the patients and their supporters, and of her workplace & colleagues.

1 The Parade, Southampton Rd, Southampton SO40 2NG; 023 8081 4903

Tiggy Bradshaw - Access Care Management Ltd

Running ‘Access Care’ and now ‘The Owl & the Pussycat’ is a crazy, exciting, fast-paced journey which certainly keeps me busy.

Tell us about your family life?

It’s a complete juggle between the two businesses, a home-educated teen, another teen away at school, a hubby, and Chloe our Cavalier KCS! My to-do list is as long as my arm every day, but without it I literally fall apart.

Tell us about your business?

I have two. Access Care, now in its 25th year, arranges professional, qualified Carers to ‘Live-in’ people’s own homes. The other is new! A boutique in Stockbridge called ‘The Owl & the Pussycat.’ Just opened after a complete renovation, we sell ladies jewellery, scarves & capsule clothing lines, baby & children’s wear 0-8 years, toys and gifts.

How do you spend your free time?

Not sure I know what that is at the moment. But my New Year’s resolution was to try hard to find more ‘time’ for every Not sure I know what that is at the moment. But my New Year’s resolution was to try hard to find more ‘time’ for every aspect of my life. Time to be a Mum. Time to be a couple and have a date night occasionally. Time to spend with my parents & tab friends. Time to focus on the businesses, to walk Chloe, to exercise (I used to be great at this and would love to get there again) & time to breathe!

32 Orion House, Caxton Close, Andover SP10 3FG 0800 980 3958

Kathryn Rafferty - Solicitor, Bramsdon & Childs Solicitors

Kathryn joined Bramsdon and Childs as a trainee solicitor in 2014 and qualified as a solicitor in 2016. Now, at the age of twenty eight, Kathryn is not only a Partner of the firm and Head of the Probate department but is also obtaining additional qualifications and is currently an associate member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (‘STEP’).

Tell us about your business?

Bramsdon & Childs is an established law firm which has been based in the Portsmouth area since 1878. My firm still retains the traditional value of the family solicitor but with a modern touch. My firm believes that each individual client should have a fully qualified and dedicated lawyer handling their case. We have recently opened a new office in Bishop’s Waltham and I believe the firms’ long history and experienced solicitors means we are well placed to be able to provide a very wide range of legal services to both the residents and businesses of Bishops Waltham.

What are your goals for the future?

The firm has recently opened a new branch office in Bishops Waltham. My goal is for this office to become as an integral part of Bishop’s Waltham Village and experience the same longevity as the firm has in Portsmouth. I have also been undertaking the STEP exams to gain further specialist knowledge in respect of trusts and estates. I hope to complete the final exams and become a full member of STEP.

How do you spend your free time?

I enjoy the mindfulness and strength training of yoga and attend weekly sessions. I also enjoy walking my Chihuahua and watching ‘arty’ films!’

4 Basing Mews, Lower Basingwell Street, Bishops Waltham S032 1PA; 01489 888240

Mitch Lloyd - Petra Jewellery

I’m a 44 year-old engineer turned jewellery designer, juggling running a busy independent jewellery business, called Petra Jewellery, with being a mum, wife and doing as much sport as I can.

Tell us about your business?

My mum, Petra (72), started our business in 1979 and I joined her 12 years ago. We have a gorgeous contemporary shop called The Cottage at the Viables Craft Centre in Basingstoke.

Share your secret to success?

We have been voted the Most Loved Jewellers in the UK for three years running. Part of our success is that we are really good at understanding what our customers want and what suits their lifestyle. People love being part of the whole design and manufacture journey, they can meet our onsite goldsmith and even have a go themselves - it’s a completely different experience to buying something mass produced.

Who or what inspires you?

I believe the other ‘secret’ to success is our #SharingtheSparkle culture; our shop feels like a home, children and dogs can run around, we celebrate engagements and anniversaries with a bottle of bubbly and there’s always a box of tissues ready- it can be quite emotional for all of us!

It’s a privilege being part of people’s important life moments: designing individual engagement, wedding and eternity rings or remodeling customer’s old gold; creating something they are going to cherish forever. It’s the smiles that inspire me.

19 The Cottage, Viables Craft Centre, The Harrow Way, Basingstoke RG22 4BJ; 01256 355945

Amanda Redwin - Olive and Ted Interiors

Amanda Redwin is a former HR professional turned fabric designer and maker. Olive and Ted is named after her paternal Grandparents and sells Amanda’s unique brand of fabrics and soft furnishings.

Share your secret to success?

Having a varied skill set and being able to adapt to meet customer needs and a changing environment. Coming from corporate background has been really valuable. I have gone from selling upcycled furniture to making bespoke soft furnishings with other designers’ fabrics, to designing my own fabric range and learning to use Photoshop along the way. If a customer needs something specific in terms of design and colour then I will work out a way to give it to them.

What does your average day look like?

I come in early to cut fabric and prep for the day. I am in the shop all day so I can engage with as many customers and potential customers as possible and give a very personal and bespoke service. The shop is set up for me to sew during quieter times or do paper and design work. Most of my designs come about from very quick sketches which I can fit in around customers. At the end of the day I spend a couple of hours sewing or making lampshades.

What are your goals for the future?

To keep designing and making for my own customers and develop a fabric collection which will be available to the trade. I also plan to design a range of mix and match ceramic tableware and have my designs printed on other items for the home. Ultimately I would love to have a successful business to pass onto my own Grandchildren.

3 Brook Court, Brook Street, Bishop’s Waltham S032 1AX; 01489 891325

Amy Matthews - Owner, Swit Swoo Beauty

Swit Swoo Beauty are Winchester’s go-to destination for specialist hair removal treatments, offering world renowned waxing and laser hair removal services and a range of top branded beauty treatments.

Tell us about your business?

Swit Swoo Beauty has become famed for its highly skilled waxing specialists and pain-free hot wax experience. Our award winning Soprano Ice Platinum Laser Hair Removal System is recognised world-wide as the gold standard in laser hair removal and is FDA approved on the widest range of skin tones and hair colours. Our therapists also offer a range of top branded beauty treatments, including microblading, nail services, lash and brow treatments and Vita Liberata spray tanning.

Share your secret to success?

Our success, I believe, has been due to identifying what the local beauty market was lacking and delivering in these areas. Having previously worked as a clinical negligence solicitor and now being a busy working mum, I struggled to find a one stop shop for all my beauty treatments that I could trust to provide only the very best services at a convenient time to fit around my busy schedule. Our ethos therefore grew on two core concepts, luxury and convenience. We offer only the most innovative, on trend and high end treatments by highly skilled therapists who are experts in their field and passionate about what they do. We offer late night and weekend openings with private parking to make our client’s lives as easy as possible. We believe this is our recipe to success!

What is your motto in life?

I would rather die of passion than of boredom - Vincent Van Gogh.

Shawford, Winchester 07718 902985

Natalie Buck - The Priory Hair Lounge

Priory Hair Lounge is based in Olivers battery in Winchester, after working in the salon for 9 years I finally took over the business and it’s the best decision I have made.

Tell us about your business?

The Priory Hair Lounge is a light modern salon in Winchester. Whether you need a quick trim, a complete re-style, a colour correction or a modern gent’s cut; our talented team will have you walking out of the salon with a smile. We aim to make your experience in the salon a relaxed one - there’s free parking right outside and you can enjoy a coffee and read a magazine while we work our magic.

What’s the secret of your success?

Were in a constantly changing world and our team work hard to keep abreast of new techniques and skills and hair trends. I’m certified as a Wella Master Colour Expert, and the salon is one of the few in the UK to have an MCE in-house. I believe that a commitment to personal growth and development, both for myself and my team is what keep us one step ahead.

What’s your motto in life?

My motto just has to be - “Life isn’t perfect, but your hair can be.”

93 - 95 Olivers Battery Road South, Winchester S022 4J0; 01962 852525

Liz Raffles - Liz & Fitz

Liz and Fitz is an independent boutique in the heart of Winchester, featuring exclusive British brands for both men and women. With an interesting and original collection of beautifully made clothing, accessories and gifts, many of which have been sourced from local designers.

What’s the secret to my success?

A lot of hard work and determination, despite some very challenging situations! I have a wonderful support network of friends and fellow business owners which has been a massive help too. Lastly, listening to my customers and evolving my business to meet their needs has been crucial to how I’ve developed the different ranges.

What are you inspired by?

My brand was inspired by the two main characters in Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice - Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. There are many similarities between them and my customers. Elizabeth is strong, independent and playful. Darcy is intelligent and a romantic at heart, although he doesn’t always know how to show it!

My average day?

Keeping on top of social media and online orders is a daily task. I’m constantly looking out for new and interesting brands that I can bring in and Instagram is a great resource for this. I like to think that the shop is a bit of a retreat for clients to enjoy and take the experience away with them. Customers often pop in for a mooch whilst they enjoy a coffee and a natter with me and a cuddle with Poppy the dog!

71 Parchment Street, Winchester S023 8AT; 01962 867777;

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