Interviews with women in business - Kent

Interviews with women in business...

Debbie ThomasDirector, Heat Design Heat Design, 13c Roper Close,Canterbury CT2 7EP01227 457643dthomas@heatdesignkent.netwww.heatdesignkent.comTell us about Heat Design?   We started the business in 1988 as Fireplace Warehouse when there was a huge surge in the popularity of original period cast-iron fireplaces. A lot of our work was the refurbishment of antique fireplaces and the market has gradually changed over the years to where we are now.

How has it changed over the last year?  Last year we changed our name to Heat Design to reflect our evolving product choice. The past year has seen us developing our new showroom, increasing our displays and expanding our range-cooker showroom area with cookery demonstrations and a cookware shop. We have developed the heating side of our business where customers want to link their cooker and/or woodstove to the central heating and can also incorporate solar energy.

Your business philosophy?To be the best we possibly can.We aim to treat all our customers the way we would like to be treated ourselves and realise that our reputation is our future.

Heat Design’s special qualities?Everyone here is really enthusiastic about what they do, they enjoy dealing with customers and have a broad depth of knowledge, with several specialists within our  team. We acknowledge that we are only human and even when things don’t go according to plan, we put 110 per cent into making it right.

Any advice for newcomers?Get lots of experience in retail, interacting with customers and make sure you have a passion for what you do and always be open to your customers’ opinions and feedback.

Where do you see yourself in five years?  With a strong company that we have managed to direct through these economically challenging times, building on our service and commitment to do our very best.

Sarah MayhewOwner, Sarah Mayhew Hair & Beauty Spa167 High StreetTonbridge TN9 1BX01732 368720 or 01732

Tell us a bit abour your background?I have always dreamt of owning and running my own hair salon. I worked in a London salon for about 10 years and was trained there to cut and style properly – ‘the Vidal Sassoon way.’In 2005 my dream became a reality when I opened Sarah Mayhew Hairstylists in Tonbridge. Two years later I made the decision to buy a beauty business on the High Street and refurbished the salon and renamed it Beauty by Sarah Mayhew. Befire that I owned and ran Beauty by Sarah Mayhew at 167 High Street, Tonbridge for nearly three years. 

Why did you open your new salon?I started to think about putting my two businesses together and an opportunity arose when I saw a new retail premises on the High Street. When I began the thought process with regard to combining the two businesses it seemed so straightforward to put them under one roof: little did I know what the next year would bring! Read the full story at in the ‘About us’ section. However, on 24 November 2010 Sarah Mayhew Hair & Beauty Spa finally opened. We have put so much time and effort into trying to address every possible requirement and I truly believe in my new Spa.

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What are the salon’s special qualities?It is a wonderful place, luxurious and calming all at the same time. I am so pleased with the result – you can really see and feel all the thought, care and effort that has been put into making my Spa a haven where clients can relax and be pampered. I would love to welcome you to my Hair & Beauty Spa and for you to enjoy it too.

Carol LynchChief Executive Kent Community FoundationKent Community Foundation, Office 23, Evegate Park Barn, Evegate,Ashford TN25 6SX01303 814

Tell us about yourself?I started out as a civil engineer, moving into charities in the 1990s. This is my dream job; it can be a juggle with family life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! 

Tell us about KCF?  KCF was created in 2001 to encourage private individuals, businesses and families to give something back to their communities. We help philanthropists identify local charities, projects and causes working in the areas they care most about.  

Your business philosophy?To encourage those with the means to reach out to others and make a long-lasting difference to people in Kent. 

KCF’s special qualities?Everyone involved cares deeply about local people and communities. We are very lucky to have the support of high-profile people who are passionate about Kent, like our Patron, the Lord Lieutenant, Allan Willett. 

And looking ahead five years?I certainly hope I will still be here at Kent Community Foundation with all the energy and passion I have now. I want KCF to continue to develop as a catalyst for change, at the forefront of innovative solutions to long-standing social issues such as childhood poverty, disaffection, isolation, social exclusion.