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WIRE Conference 2011

by Claire Martinsen on Fri 25th Feb 2011 08:41

I’ve been a member of WIRE ever since I set up Breckland Orchard.  I’m a member of the West Suffolk branch – led by the very dynamic Alex Parr.  So I was really delighted to be asked to speak at the 2011 WIRE Conference held at Harper Adams University last week.  The Conference was called ‘A Passion for Rural Business’and the energy in the room was awesome……get a load of women business owners together and you are almost guarenteed to get an amazing amount of passion!

I spoke about how my business had started, and some of the lessons I have learned along the way.  I was followed by the truly awe-inspiring Sarah Gayton – a one woman walking-talking brand in her own right.  I’ll have to do a seperate entry about Sarah, but she was fab!

Caroline Law led a session in branding -and the importance of using all the senses to really engage with consumers.  She also raised the importance of having a clear 5 year vision – covering off elements like lifestyle, staff, premises, reputation as well as the traditional measures such as sales and profit.

Lunch was a time to talk, eat [delicious], shop [I fell under the spell of a new bag] and attend some more seminars.  I attended a session on SALSA to learn more about the quality mark.

Emma Heathcote-James of the Little Soap Company spoke after lunch – it was a really funny speech, punctuated by angels, dogs, lawyers, rusty bikes amongst other things.  You had to be there, but Emma was very entertaining as well as fab at sharing how she came to be running her own soap empire!

The last speakers of the day were Caroline and Kay from Tesco Regional, who spoke about how to supply Tesco and what Tesco look for from their suppliers.  After a lively question and answer session [including the Central TV guys coming in to film] we made our ways back to the various corners of the UK.

Its hard to try and explain the sheer energy, noise and excitment of the conference – genuine friendships formed, information swapped, lightbulb moments flashing in the brain, stimulation and ideas popping.  If I could come up with a new variety of drinks then I could do no better than try and bottle the atmosphere of the conference.

Thank you so much to Fiona and Polly from WIRE HQ for the invite and to Jaia for doing such a great job organising.  Lastly a huge thank you for all the lovely feedback that I got on the day [and via Twitter etc afterwards] – when you are running your own micro-business its sometimes hard to even stop and take breathe, so your feedback was so kind and welcome, and if I can inspire you then I am indeed humbled.  Good luck to you all


Posted in: Speakers/Meetings


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