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Trio of Wiltshire-based entrepreneurs see businesses expand through Covid

29 January 2021
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Three entrepreneurs who jumped to support each other when the pandemic struck have all gone on to grow their enterprises.

Yola O’Hara, of Visually Explained, Pam Jones, of Eight Interactive, and Reshma Field, who runs separate will writing and personal styling businesses, all banded together in March last year and vowed to help one another through the first lockdown.

The moral support, encouragement and business advice they gave each other meant all three were able to push their organisations forward.

All based in Wiltshire, the businesswomen moved services online and even each launched a new website.

Visually Explained, based in Royal Wootton Bassett, which specialises in social media for business – had a rebrand and unveiled new services, including corporate consultancy.

Eight Interactive in Swindon, which creates video and digital content for businesses, also developed a new website, and took video training online. Reshma, also based in Swindon, has a new website for her styling business, Ishbel’s Wardrobe, and now offers her services – colour analysis, styling and personal shopping – online.

Yola said: “When we went into the first lockdown in March, my first feelings were that this was not going to break me. I was determined to stay positive and embrace the change and then I decided to do extensive networking.

We went into lockdown on Friday, I started networking extensively on the Monday and within two weeks had a client from it.”

Coupled with the online networking, Yola said the support she received from Pam and Reshma was invaluable.

“We were friends anyway so we set up a What’s App group, meeting on Zoom on a regular basis so we could all talk through how were feeling – and have a good moan if we wanted to – as well as support and advise each other on our businesses,” said Yola.

“For me, it made me feel less isolated. The three of us getting together, having a similar outlook, facing the same issues, and helping pick each other up, was so important.”

They already used one another’s services. Yola and Pam have been styled by Reshma; Yola has taken Pam’s video training course; and Pam has used Yola’s social media library creation service. In fact, Yola has just appointed another member of the Visually Explained team – Reshma’s daughter Sofia!

Not only that, Yola has set up a new enterprise. She’s collaborating with David Lattimer, of Redro, to stage an online expo – 5554 Virtual Expo – planned for February 25.

Pam agreed that the support has helped keep her focused.

“When lockdown first kicked off it was all a bit ‘OMG, what’s happening’ so the three of us, as we are friends, decided to have a regular catchup and it has grown from there,” she said. “We wanted to support each other and keep in touch. We talk about business stuff, family stuff, how we are coping – just having that place to talk to someone other than the people that you live with, in a safe, confidential environment, and knowing there are others in the same boat.”

Reshma added: “We are all very similar, so when one person says something the other two know exactly what she means. And we know that any solution one of us uses, will work for all of us. We’re all very driven and self-motivated, and we’re really in tune with one another.”

To register for 5554 Virtual Expo, visit https://www.accelevents.com/e/5554Expo


Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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