Women in business in Sidmouth
- Credit: Archant
Many businesses in Sidmouth have women at the helm so Resident went along to talk to some of them.
When some women were given the right to vote in 1918 it was a landmark moment and the first of many in women’s rights.
Sidmouth had a thriving suffrage and anti-suffrage group at the time, featuring well-known names including Lady Lockyer and Annie Leigh-Browne.
Fast forward a century and the town still has many impressive female figures, and none more so than in the business community.
According to Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce, 45 per cent of businesses are run jointly or solely by women – based on 88 trading members.
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To mark 100 years, we met just some of the many women running businesses around the town to talk about the challenges and rewards they face every day.
Cathy Inglis, 55, swapped life as a professional event rider to become the owner of Taste of Sidmouth three years ago to enable her two children to pursue their own love of riding.
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In 2017, the business won three Taste of the West gold awards for its homemade ice creams and was also named champion in the best ice cream category for its mango yoghurt variety.
Cathy, of West Hill, said: “I had to find something that was flexible, so I had to own my own business and it had to work so I could support them in what they wanted to do. I walked in here [Taste] and just asked if they would like to sell it.
“It was much harder than I thought it was going to be. I think it’s been quite hard doing it on my own, every decision you make is down to you but it has been really, really rewarding and the community support has being absolutely amazing. The community is really proud of the shop and the locals are very supportive.
“I think it’s hard for a woman on her own to run a business and bring up a family on her own, but I think women are really really good at that.”
She also praised Sidmouth’s friendly nature and said that was a reason it attracted women to run their own businesses there. Cathy’s dream would be to open a second Taste shop on Exeter Quay and let her daughter Sophie take more of a management role in the Sidmouth shop.
Family was also the reason Kylie Cramb took over Coles card shop with her husband Colin, after he underwent a kidney transplant.
The mum-of-three proved not only to be the perfect business partner but the perfect match, donating her kidney to her husband.
The couple run the shop together, with Kylie working out the front and Colin in the storeroom at the back.
Kylie, a former teacher, said: “We get on really well and we love working together. I wanted to get out of teaching and Col wanted to get into the workforce. We needed something that he could work in but would avoid contact with any illnesses.”
Sidbury business owner Karen Scott-Boyd started up a wellbeing education and language consultancy three years ago and has recently expanded to take up a room at the Beacon Medical Centre.
She said learning about mindfulness-based well-being had been so ‘transformational’ in her own life that she wanted to share it with others.
The mother-of-two said: “Self-care is essential for the sustainability of you and your business. Many women have been programmed to believe that self-care is selfish. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth.”
Each owner has a different story of how they came to own their business, but they all had the same advice for any budding female entrepreneur, and that is to never give up and to go for it.