Yorkshire women in business: arts and leisure

Women in Business

Women in Business - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

8 Yorshire women in business who ensure you - or a special friend - have a smile on your face

Elaine Lilley

Elaine Lilley - Credit: Archant


Business Owner and Director, Kendall's Jewellers

What's special about your business?

A 'Yes' mentality is our primary objective, irrespective of the job in hand everyone is treated as a priority, no job is too big or too small, understated or opulent. Our team's joint ethos is reassuringly united in that our service to the customer is exceptional in every facet, fostering a reputation for quality, assurance and trust.The enjoyment of the process for the clients is also a corner stone of our business.

What do you love about your job?

I most enjoy the bespoke side of the business, helping someone's vision become a reality and seeing the pleasure they get from creating something completely unique to them, especially where something may have developed from a family heirloom or inherited stones that are sentimental to the customer and have previously sat in a drawer or locked away.

Most Read

How do you unwind?

I like to hang out with my 4 year old golden doodle, Thelma. Any opportunity to get outside into the fresh Yorkshire air is a luxury. She can sometimes be seen in store and will greet you with a smile. I also love to play Tennis particularly in the summer months, it is a great way to clear my mind, unwind and meet new people.

27 High Street, Wetherby LS22 6LR 01937 581656 kendallsjewellers.co.uk

Mandy Morris

Mandy Morris - Credit: Archant


Designer and co-owner, Werk by TCJ Designs

A good day at work for me means...

Starting with a great commute to work (sun shining, birds singing and arriving early!). I would have responded to all enquiries and emails promptly. It's always a good day when someone is either collecting a bespoke piece and its better than they could ever have imagined, or someone to have taken delight in a design or piece of jewellery. It's a great day when my staff are happy, and we all leave work creatively fulfilled, knowing we have designed or crafted something beautiful that day.

Proudest moment?

My proudest moment was receiving a gold award for my jewellery design at the goldsmith craftmanship and design awards in London with my mum in attendance. Having parents who support you when you choose a creative path is greatly appreciated and I am so pleased my mum was there to share in my achievement.

Work life balance - how do you do it?

This is tricky one and I've yet to meet anyone who feels they have the perfect balance! My job is my passion so it is hard to stick to 9-5 hours however, to create a work life balance I try to work more productively in a fixed time frame. I schedule my work daily with realistic goals and try most days to switch off my laptop at 6pm and leave my phone in the kitchen at 7.30pm so I can be present with my family. Having interests outside of work is key, as is making time for physical exercise. it's so important to have self-care and taking time off in quieter period sand as a creative person it's important to have time to dream.

16 Stonegate, York YO1 8AS 01904 611366 jewellersinyork.co.uk

Kate Bramley

Kate Bramley - Credit: Archant


Artistic Director, Badapple Theatre Company

What's special about your business?

Our unique approach to touring means this year we celebrate our 21st birthday despite never having been fully funded by an external organisation - something quite rare in the arts andculture sector. I'm hugely proud that in that time we have collaborated with and toured to many theatre's, toured directly to isolated communities with our 'Theatre On Your Doorstep' programme and run a successful youth theatre.

If you could go back and tell your 13 year-old self something, what would it be?

Play-writing and directing (my dream career) is absolutely an option, but you need some business acumen too! The business side is so important and sometimes there's a tendency to put people in 'boxes' early on in life. Someone who is creative might not be encouraged to develop business skills, for example. This needs to change if we want a thriving cultural industry.

What keeps you focused?

The feedback from audiences. We've had strong partnerships with some of the same venues for 21 years now!. Over 50% of our company finance is self-funded - from box office success, if you likeand the rest is sought from Arts Council and other charitable funding or business sponsors. That means there are a lot of different people to please but ultimately if we can continue to entertain and move audiences we will always be successful.

PO Box 57, York, YO26 8WQ 01423 339168 badappletheatre.com

Rachel Marshall

Rachel Marshall - Credit: Archant


Business Owner, Uniquely Local

What's special about your business?

Uniquely Local was started by Ema and I because we were frustrated about the choice of gift experiences on the big experience sites. We knew that there were loads of fabulous, independent experience providers that you could find if you trawled through Google but that weren't listed all in one place. We wanted to offer a range of handpicked gifts that made the buyer feel like they were choosing a thoughtful gift and that they could be confident that the recipient would have a quality experience. We also wanted to promote all the fantastic small businesses that exist here in Yorkshire and all the brilliant adventures you can have right on your doorstep. We're really proud of all the great experiences we've curated.

What's your best piece of business advice?

I have a poster on the wall of my office which says 'Work Hard & Be Nice To People' and I think if you do both of those things, mostly, everything will work out fine.

What do you love about your job?

Discovering new things to do in Yorkshire! Also, meeting all the hard working, passionate people behind the businesses we work with. I've been really inspired by lots of the women, in particular, that have created successful businesses from very humble beginnings.

0800 7720825 uniquelylocal.co.uk

Liz Hall

Liz Hall - Credit: Archant


Managing Director, African Pride

A good day at work means

Receiving feedback from a client about their fantastic holiday. It is always lovely to hear them so excited to share their experiences, what they have seen and what they enjoyed most of all... mostly it means a lot that they have fallen for Africa - a truly special thing to share. It is also important that the African Pride team are happy at work. We are blessed with a great tribe, it can be a pressured job but I love it when there is a positive buzz about the office.

Work life balance - how do you do it?

I am grateful for at least one day a week when I can really focus on having some down time for myself. This usually involves a long dog walk, sharing good food and a drink with friends and family and when I am being really well behaved - some exercise!

Three qualities that sum me up

Those nearest and dearest to me tell me that these are compassion, my commitment to whatever it is I am doing and my honesty. I am a true Yorkshire lass and it's my straight talking, no fuss approach I am grateful for!

Box Tree House, Northminster Business Park, York YO26 6QU 01904 619428 african-pride.co.uk

Catherine Hardy

Catherine Hardy - Credit: Archant


General Manager, The Wentbridge House Hotel

What's special about your business?

We offer a very special, luxury experience to our guests, whilst still being friendly. Offering a warm welcome for those who choose to visit our 'home'. The main difference is, we care. This stands out and is often mentioned by our guests.

What's best piece of business advice you have been given?

From a young age, at the very start of my management career, I was advised that your business should run as well without you, as it does with. This piece of advice is so true, enabling me to have built up a team of people with the same ethos as myself. We are a team here at Wentbridge, I couldn't possibly run it on my own, but I do my best to have like-minded people here when I'm not.

What do you love about your job?

The job here is extremely challenging, which in turn is very rewarding. I like to push myself and those around me. Watching our guests enjoying what we do here at Wentbridge, whilst seeing our team grow in confidence and skill makes me very proud.

The Wentbridge House Hotel, Wentbridge, Pontefract WF8 3JJ 01977 620444 wentbridgehouse.co.uk

Cara Willoughby

Cara Willoughby - Credit: Archant


Events Co-ordinator and Family Member, Birdsall House

What's special about your business?

Birdsall is a family run estate and it is a privilege to be a part of this stunning and unique historic setting. My husband and I are passionate about Birdsall and creating a thriving and varied business with a family feel. Birdsall House stands out from other venues, the rooms are so full of history and they lend themselves so well to different uses. The ballroom makes the perfect space for a business meeting but with different styling becomes a breath-taking setting for a wedding ceremony, formal dinner or film set.

What's your best piece of business advice?

Listen. Listen to ideas a potential client has and work with them to create their event, do not shoehorn them into something you think they want. Treat others how you wish to be treated, you never know where your next client will come from. Two invaluable pieces of advice I have been given and try to adhere to.

What do you love about your job?

Birdsall House has been in the Willoughby family for over 300 years but now we're creating the events and wedding business it means I am looking at the history of the estate with new eyes. Filling the house with laughter and creating lasting happy memories for people is a huge privilege.

Birdsall House, Malton YO17 9NR 01944 768206 birdsallhouse.com

Cathy Mason

Cathy Mason - Credit: Archant


Director and co-founder, Masons Yorkshire Gin

What's special about your business?

My husband, Karl and I launched Yorkshire's first gin distillery in 2013 with close to no knowledge about the drinks industry and even less about being a producer. We were able to turn our passion for gin into a business and create a range of gins we love, employing 32 members of fantastic staff and won some highly prestigious awards along the way. We have always created gins for flavour and quality, not price. We make gins that we love using inspiration we take from our wonderful county.

What do you love about your job?

This is a very easy question to answer - it's all about the people. For the first few years, Karl and I spent a lot of time selling our gin at events up and down the country where I have met and talked to some fantastic people. My days are now spent in our distillery surrounded by a very talented and fun group of people that make my days truly enjoyable. I love being at work.

How do you unwind?

Every morning I go for a run with our lovely dog, Mouse and enjoy the glorious countryside we are lucky to be surrounded by. On an evening, we do enjoy a gin and tonic - naturally! I also love to cook, experimenting with new flavours and getting inspired by new recipes I find.

Masons Distillery, Trinity Place, Conygarth Way, Leeming Bar DL7 9EE 01677 426467 masonsyorkshiregin.com