Category Archives: Women in Business

Meet Your Trainer: Judith Loughlin

Introduce yourself!

Hello! My name is Judith and I’m a seamstress based in Preston. I specialise in manufacturing baby slings for some of the UK’s top brands.

I also provide education and support to families who wish to use slings.

A combination of my passion for textiles, traditional crafts and babywearing led me to growing this business.  I have a busy household, with a partner, four school-age children and two guinea pigs to take care of.

Currently most of our time is spent on planning the renovation of our home, which we bought last year, but there’s always time for a nice cup of tea and a sit down with my knitting.

What inspires you?

The thing that most inspires me is to always be learning and learning from other people. I am the sort of person who constantly seeks out information and great detail about everything I become interested in.

Connecting with others to hear their experiences and knowledge is  what makes me tick. I’m not into ‘small talk’ – I love conversations to be big and exciting and truthful about stuff that really matters!

Making sense of everything I learn and how it fits together is what sparks new ideas and innovation for me.

What made you decide to be a trainer for The Growing Club?

When I did the Growing Club programme, I travelled from Preston up to Lancaster to take part. I fell in love with the GC ethos and way of working. I wanted to bring that supportive community vibe into Preston to make what the GC offers, available here.

Being part of the GC will also give me the opportunity to meet, connect with and learn from the amazing women in Preston who I don’t know yet. That’s the beauty of the non-hierarchical/peer-support element of Growing Club courses. It’s an ongoing cycle of connection, support and learning. 

What are some of the pitfalls for women in business that you’ve experienced?

I think the biggest problem for many women in business is fear. Before joining the GC, I had a pathological fear of asking questions and putting myself out there.

The month spent working on ‘Negative Automatic Thoughts’ really helped me identify unhelpful patterns of belief. I could then challenge them so I could get rid of that baggage and take a more balanced view.

If, like me, you are sensitive to rejection, that fear can be hard to shake, but fears that hold us back need to be faced if we’re to grow. 

How can The Growing Club help women to grow their businesses sustainably?

The reality is that being in business for women is a different experience than it is for men. Social and cultural expectations, stereotypes of women, stories we tell ourselves and the day-to-day practicalities of how we live our lives all impact our ability to grow our businesses. The Growing Club recognises this.  

The year’s programme covers the nuts and bolts essentials of running any business, through business skills workshops. But skills training alone isn’t enough for women when the laundry is piling up, the school run is looming, we need to look in on an elderly relative and cook the tea – growing our business can drop to the bottom of the list no matter how many practical skills we have.

The second element of the course focuses on putting personal and business growth to the top of our agenda: self-care, valuing ourselves and our time, undoing unhelpful patterns of thinking and learning to think BIG! 

The final element is the peer network for support and accountability – you’re not going it alone. With GC, you’re in a cohort of 10 women, with whom you will buddy up with for mutual support in between the monthly sessions. 

If you could offer one time-saving tip to a woman running her own business, what would it be?

My best time saving tip is to avoid double-handling. This is logistics-speak for ‘don’t do the same job twice’. Planning and being pro-active is what helps me to approach things in a logical order. This means that time isn’t wasted clearing up problems later that I’ve created for myself by avoiding tasks or doing half a job in the first place.

Being pro-active saves time and reduces stress – and when we’re stressed, we’re even more prone to making mistakes!

Tell me about your training course in Preston?

The Growth Programme will run in Preston from 15th May 2019 on the third Wednesday of each month for a year.  We will be meeting at the Intact Centre, Whitby Drive, Ingol PR2 3YP.

We meet monthly for workshops on different topics, starting with Goal Setting and taking you through a year of business growth. Throughout the year you will pair up with other members of the group for a monthly ‘buddy session’ for accountability and support.

Anything else?

If you’re a woman running a business in the Central Lancashire area you can join our Facebook group ‘Growing Together – Central Lancashire Women’s Enterprise Network‘ for local networking and support.