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Focusing on women in business in celebration of International Women’s Day: Advertising feature

In celebration of International Women’s Day, the Mercury features six prominent businesswomen in the area.

Here are their inspirational stories.

Jen Bahnam has been the friendly and welcoming face at Cloisters Italian Bistro in St Mary’s Street, Stamford, for the last year.

And what a year it’s been - not only has she faced the challenge of running her own business for the first time but in October she also married Dan Bahnam, who she jointly runs the business with, so she had a wedding to plan.

But she wouldn’t change anything.

“It’s definitely been a very busy year,” laughs Jen.

Having made a name for herself working as the food and beverage manager at The William Cecil Hotel in Stamford and then as the house manager at the Bull and Swan, Jen was ready for something new. And when the opportunity to take over Cloisters and finally be their own bosses, Jen and Dan jumped at the chance - with Jen being front of house and her other half tucked away in the kitchen as head chef.

“I’ve always loved being in a customer facing role but now I’ve just got so much more passion for it. I think you appreciate it more when you work for yourself,” Jen said.

In a relatively short time, thanks to Jen’s friendly attitude and Dan’s good food, they’ve built up a firm customer base and made new friends in the process. Their focaccia bread is even stocked at Stamford Deli in the High Street.

Jen added: “It’s a beautiful building on the nicest street in Stamford and we’ve got a great team and lovely customers. We’re very lucky.”

Cloisters is open Tuesday to Saturday. To book a table call 01780 755162.

Scout Recruiting, founded in October 2016 by Stamfordian Jo Rudkin, prides itself on offering a recruitment service whose commitment goes beyond the placement.

Jo has a wealth of experience in the recruitment industry and wanted to launch her own agency to offer a more personal service accessible to all businesses in the local community.

Now she has the freedom and flexibility to deliver recruitment her way, which not only reflects what candidates and clients need but defines her core values as well.

Her social media pages are filled with five-star testimonials from candidates across Stamford, Bourne, Rutland and the Deepings, who have trusted Jo to support them with their career.

Continually striving to deliver excellence, Jo believes the key to her success is that she genuinely cares about what she does, getting the right person the right job for them.

“I work with clients whose values align with mine - integrity, honesty and trust. Because of this, I’ve been able to build up great relationships that see fantastic results.”

“I not only recruit on the skills that the clients are looking for from a candidate but also on a cultural fit. It is vital that the candidate works in a company that reflects their own values and that they work with like minded people. I’ve seen first hand what a positive impact this makes to people’s lives when you take the time to listen to exactly what they want.

“It was a leap of faith to start my own business but I knew I could offer real value to both candidates and clients. I love what I do and I’m seeing fantastic results.

“I’m excited about what the future holds for Scout Recruiting.”

Husband and wife team Sarah and Stephen Devonport decided to set up their own business when Sarah was six months pregnant with their second child.

Although, it was a daunting challenge, the couple haven’t looked back and now Devonports Kitchens and Bathrooms is renowned as the place to go.

With a background in bathroom and kitchen installation, Stephen was determined to start his own business offering customers something truly special so the couple took a “leap of faith” and the firm started in January 2004.

Just two years later, with Sarah taking care of all the administration, they opened their first showroom. They moved to their current home in Summer 2009 and now they occupy three units in Bridge Street, Deeping St James.

“We’ve never looked back and we have just gone from strength to strength,” Sarah said.

Together with two showroom staff and six fitters, the couple are at the forefront of the business helping customers to design their kitchen and bathrooms and Sarah also dealing with accounts.

Asked if she’s just as integral to the business as her other half, Sarah replies: “Without a shadow of doubt. I don’t think I would be able to replicate him if he wasn’t here but equally he wouldn’t find another me.“

The couple and their team are knowledgeable about their products and only offer the very best quality, bringing something extra to the whole kitchen and bathroom buying process.

And such is their service that much of their work comes from recommendation which Sarah says “speaks volumes about what we do”.

Candida Smith and Georgina Teesdale are the women behind Hunters Interiors of Stamford.

Together, they have more than 40 years’ experience and hundreds of clients locally, nationally and globally, so customers can be confident in their expertise and knowledge. They offer a seamless interior design service for every part of the house including make-up and installation.

The pair took over the business four years ago and have since focussed on growing its reputation as the place to go for interiors.

Working to reflect customers’ individual taste while maximising the home’s space and character, Candida and Georgie’s focus is on making your home the best it can be - for you.

Candida said: “We love working for ourselves and we work well together. We love doing what we do.”

Using brands such as Zoffany, Colefax and Fowler, Osbourne and Little, Alternative Flooring and John Sankey, you are always assured of high quality. And whether you prefer florals or stripes, traditional or contemporary, bold or subdued, you can choose from the widest range of wallpapers and material in the area.

And as well as using Hunters’ trusted team of professionals to meet your needs, including decorating, flooring, curtain and blind making and fitting, new furniture, re-upholstering, lighting, you are welcome to drop into the showroom at Copthill Farm, Uffington, where you can browse the full range of products available.

To find out more about Hunters Interiors drop into the showroom or visit www.huntersinteriorsofstamford.co.uk, where there is also an online shop.

Wiggles and Giggles Day Nursery has been providing a happy backdrop to the first days of children’s lives for close to a year.

Liz Wigglesworth and her husband James have been running a nursery in Broad Street, Stamford, since June 2016, first with a franchise.

But last year, Liz took the plunge and decided to disassociate with the franchise, with the “brilliant support” of Lincolnshire County Council and her team of 14 - all women - including manager Christine Ambrose.

The nursery was renamed Wiggles and Giggles, reflecting both Liz’s surname and the happy atmosphere children find themselves in.

And although Liz admits it’s been a learning curve, the future is looking bright for the nursery which is registered for 81 children.

The nursery has two rooms for each age group - children aged three months to two years are in the jungle room; two to three-year-olds are in the woodlands room and three plus are in the grasslands room.

In addition, there’s a dressing-up room, soft-play area, outdoor adventure playground and a walled garden which is currently being revamped with forest school activities taking place soon.

The positive relationships staff make with parents are what’s unique about the nursery, Liz says.

“All the parents have been so supportive and we have had many children through from word of mouth. It’s a very positive time for us.”

The owner of one of the most well-established women’s clothes shops in the area says running the store has made her “rich with friends”.

Eileen Bradford-Fawson has owned Private Kollection in Market Deeping for many years and when it first started, it was one of the first independent boutique-style shops in the area.

And despite more shops opening since and the rising popularity of shopping online, Private Kollection still attracts shoppers from far and wide.

And Eileen believes this sets her apart from her competitors.

She said: “The shop may not have made me rich with money but it has made me rich with friends.

“I’m incredibly proud of what I have built up here. Private Kollection is very well-known.”

The shop is renowned for offering individual and high-quality women’s clothes and accessories for the more discerning lady.

And the fact that shoppers return time and time again is testament to both the popularity of the shop and the advice that Eileen gives.

“I’ve had customers that have been with me since the very beginning and now I’ve got two generations coming to me from the same family. It’s lovely to see but equally it’s nice to welcome new customers through the doors.”

To find out more about Private Kollection, just pop into the shop in High Street, Market Deeping, open from Tuesday to Saturday, or call 01778 346226.


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