In our ‘Inspiring small businesses’ series, we share and celebrate great stories from fellow small business owners who started and run their own business. By bringing you closer to these inspiring businesses we hope that you find motivation, tips and ideas for building yours.
What is it that you do?
Anaphase Store stock our own designs and slogans printed onto Clothing ranging from newborn to 5XL; including friends themed designs, homeware where we make our own candles in big jars and bath bombs full of lots of different scents, cosmetics, accessories, make up brushes and holiday items for the upcoming seasons.
Anaphase has won 4 business awards and has been shortlisted for their 5th. We have 8 reps around the country selling items on behalf of our business.
What’s the story behind your business?
I left school at 15 with some GCSE’s but being dyslexic I was told I probably wouldn’t amount to much anyway so why bother. I got a job and I started at College for 3 years, which I did both full-time. I did hair and beauty for the first year and art and design for the last two. I wanted to become a fashion designer that was my calling in life, my room was always piled high with art books and designs, I was always making things and I just never knew what to do with them. I did all this while I became a manager at my job.
I continued working for a total of 6 years but I started to lose interest; so left to change my career. From that moment on I never really stuck to a job, I bounced around every 6 months to a new job.
I eventually became a mobile carer for the elderly, which I did kind of enjoy because I was always on the move and not stuck in the same place. I then lost my grandad and felt I needed to live my life, so I quit my job, packed my things and I moved up to Cardiff in 2013.
I met one of my friends soon after moving here and we did talk about my business ideas but I didn’t know where or how to go about it, we had completely different businesses so he could only help me so far. So I carried on with my day job, until one day I woke up and really wanted to pursue my dream. I bit the bullet and quit my job, I thought if I don’t do it now I won’t ever do it, so googled ‘how to start a business’, and one of the first results that popped up was The Princes Trust, so I called in and explained I wanted to start a business and asked if they could help me.
They advised they had a course called the Enterprise programme that I could go on and that’ll get me started. So I accepted, what did I have to lose?
What inspired you to start your own business?
I wasn’t expecting much from the course, but was pleasantly taken aback and surprised at how much information I didn’t know I needed to know to run a business; the depth of the course was amazing. I came out with a new lease of life and excitement for my new journey. I worked with Gemma to do my business plan and had weekly meetups to go through all my information to make sure I had everything I needed before I went to launch group – I passed – which is like dragons den and so scary. My adventure began and Anaphase Clothing was born.
I was given a mentor for 2 years to help me all the way with any problems and advice and I have networked a lot doing their courses. For the few years, The Princes Trust Cymru have held a pop up shop in St David’s 2 on Mother’s Day weekend, which I have attended for 3 years and speaking to people that have been through the same journey really helped me.
My business was slow to start off with which did dishearten me a little, especially as I thought I’d be a millionaire by the first month. But I wasn’t ready to give up – so I got a full-time job to help with the costs and kept my business going on the side; it has picked up a lot and has been a bumpy ride but I still see potential in myself.
The trust was always there for me for whatever I needed – willing to put me in contact with other mentors who would help me if mine couldn’t.
In 2017, I changed the business name to Anaphase Store as I wasn’t just selling clothing now so it made sense to have store to cover the ranges I have. I have developed an online following on my social media accounts, I have my website that gets a lot of attention, I am verified on Facebook, The Tomorrow store that is run by The Prince’s Trust also stocks my items on their online platform.
I’ve also collaborated with 4 other businesses that went through the enterprise programme and currently have a fully funded office in Caerphilly thanks to the Welsh government. I have been growing my brand to attract all different types of customers so I can create a bigger collection.
I was a young ambassador for The Princes Trust, so I would attend events and do speeches on how the trust has helped me; I am now a volunteer and business mentor.
What is the most difficult aspect of running your own business?
I found it hard to run the business at first because it was so lonely, I didn’t have ideas to bounce around with people so I would use my sister. After 2 years of running the business, I hired my sister for social media and to be in it with me, from there I have hired reps and another staff member and it just helps the inspirational stuff flow with having people around and getting involved.
What is the best thing about running your own business?
Along the way I have met Paul Mercer, he used to play for Portsmouth Football team, which my dad is a huge fan of, I asked him for an autograph which he was okay about until the whole room saw, rushed over and formed a line. He was stuck there for about 30 minutes, not sure if I left as his friend, I’ve also met Dan Bigger and Kelly Hoppen.
Kelly loved my ‘Don’t touch my hair’ sweatshirts and posted it on her Instagram along with Giovanna Fletcher who posted one of my candles on her Instagram story, which in turn sent a lot of people my way. I have done an interview on BBC Radio Wales along with Radio Cardiff, Heat, Kiss, Kerrang, Planet Rock and Magic.
I met prince Charles in December 2017 as Celtic manor in Newport, Wales. He wanted to meet some young people he had helped with his charity and I was lucky enough to get the chance to meet him, he was really nice and chatty, he spoke to every individual person there and took an interest in what they had to say. He asked me about my business, how I make the candles, and told me a certain little boy he knew would love the ‘don’t touch my hair’ jumper. Plus he told me he loves eBay. I had my picture taken with him mid-conversation which I treasure, a few weeks later I received a Christmas card from Prince Charles and I was personally invited to Buckingham Palace to celebrate his 70th birthday.
My business has also been shortlisted for 15 different business awards, we’ve won 6 of them, 3 in one day, an award being the enterprise award with the Prince’s Trust Awards – we became a multi award winning business all in one day. I have been listed as one of the 35 under 35 top businesswomen in Wales 2018 and 2019, I have been mentioned in 63 newspapers and magazines articles through my journey and it’s lovely to hear that people still find me just as inspiring, I now also have 2 paid staff members, 3 interns and 8 reps around the country working for Anaphase Store – I feel extremely lucky to have achieved what I have in such a small amount of time.