Take action!

Good Morning,

Sorry, I have been missing in action, but lack of organisation and in some instances – focus; meant that I neglected this little world I had created, to share all things I love.

However, I am back and aim to stay consistent.  Look out for a new post every Wednesday and Sunday.

This post is dedicated to all of those people who feel marginalised or unheard.  Please be persistent.

I read an article in the Guardian about a blind entrepreneur – Disability is uncomfortable she never saw her self as disabled, until the world pointed it out to her.

However, the world’s discomfort has made her a teacher to us all.  She is teaching us how we can include people with disabilities in our workforce.

I had two conversations yesterday about what is ‘normal’? On whose metrics are we measuring ‘normality’?

We are in exciting times and we need to embrace the changes that lay ahead.  So ask questions?  Investigate the views of others? It may not be correct based on your standards, but it will allow you to gain a perspective of the other person’s viewpoint.

Have a great day!

My name is Nicola and this is my blog!


Hidden Figures/Hidden Talent – Valentina Karellas


Name: Valentina Karellas

Business: Valentina Karellas – Made of London (Womens Knitwear Clothing brand)

Website link: http://valentinakarellas.com


Valentina (a truely hidden and shy figure in business) created a sustainable approach to urban chic. London’s antidote to fast fashion. Where every piece of knitwear is one-of-a-kind. That’s because we use surplus yarn from large factories that would otherwise have gone to waste. Seeing the impact of fashion waste first hand, Valentina has made the main goal and ethos to be sustainable. The collection is made to order, zero waste, this means no overstocking, no discounting, just buying consciously, great quality pieces that look stylish and chic.


Valentina, what is the inspiration behind Valentina Karellas the brand? My original focus was to bring back manufacturing to the UK.  I felt the industry was yearning for good quality knitwear that the UK could have pride in.  However, I then found that finding factories to make my designs were few and far between, therefore, I took the plunge and created my own mini production.  I found by default, (through having the machines and know how), that I was led to observe all the waste produced.  This made me ask myself; if I as one small brand was creating all this very expensive waste, what was the impact globally from the waste the rest of the fashion houses produce?  What responsibility do we have as producers in keeping fashion chic, beautiful, yet sustainable?

What are the key foundations of your business? Essentially, chic, sustainability and quality are my foundations of my business. Keeping the designs and ideas fresh, yet creating long lasting, timeless pieces – meaning you don’t need to follow trends or buy items that will only last a few months.

How has your business grown since you first launched? My business is only 6 months old, still in its early stages, however, since the launch in August 2016, I have had my own solo pop-up store in Clerkenwell, which has gained a whole new clientele for the brand, there has been steady organic brand awareness through referrals and social platforms. I have also been selected by the Department of International Trade (DIT) to showcase my work and brand in Hong Kong to encourage British Brands to export internationally, this is very exciting, as my brand will be seen on the opposite side of the world where they appreciate quality and style from the UK.


What have been your biggest struggles since launching? Being seen and heard, I am definitely plankton in a sea of whales, even though my message is clear and admired, there are far more brands out there with big budgets for marketing to demonstrate their uniqueness, however, this has just meant I have had to work harder and learnt a great deal, which only comes with having your own business.

What have been your greatest achievements? Soon after launching I was selected to be in the directory of Not Just a Label, it may have been small for a lot of brands, but I like the idea that I am up there with all these amazingly talented Designers – my peers, and I am proud to be alongside them. As well as being selected by DIT to showcase my work in Asia, there was a lot of applicants, therefore, I am very pleased they took the risk on me, as it allows the fashion industry insiders to see my work in a Hong Kong, an amazing fashion hub.

What differentiates you from your competitors? The main difference is I don’t think there are many luxury Knitwear brands that also produce in London, there are a couple knitwear companies that produce outside of London. I also feel my designs are not completely traditional in terms of knitwear, I like to play with lines and colours. I also don’t see other brands as my competitors, I see them as my peers where we can learn from each other.

How would you encourage someone who wants to use your service? The bottom line is money.  Will someone spend a significant amount more for a piece of clothing? Well, when people understand the true cost of buying ‘disposable’ clothing, they will think twice about buying a £3 top, but expressing the long lasting look and design, for a piece that can be worn for 30 years and passed down generations, that I would say is a huge saving.

What are your goals for your business over the next few years? To continue as I am going, spreading the word on sustainable fashion and the effects of fast fashion on the environment. I would like to build brand synergies with tech companies, mixing fashion with tech, as well as build international stockists. The end goal is to fundamentally go back to my original idea which is bringing back manufacturing to the UK and hopefully London, train already talented people to make great quality, long lasting clothing.

What is your message to the reader? Don’t be afraid to start your journey, don’t be afraid to be different, step away from the norm and be brave. Think about what you buy, what you wear and the quality it brings to your life and the people around you.

Deep in thought
Deep in thought

Valentina, your story is perfect for my blog and this series.  You exemplify the true meaning of an emerging, sustainable brand, in my eyes.  As you grow and blossom, I wish you so much success and hope you grow from strength the strength.

I love your ethos and what you stand for!

Keep up the good work.

My name is Nicola and this is my blog!

Hidden Figures/Hidden Talent – Natasha Puri



Name: Natasha Puri
Business: emp(a)t(h)y



Natasha Puri is a student studying Global Public Health and Social Entrepreneurship at New York University. Natasha has been an active youth advocate, promoting public health prevention efforts and health policy. Most notably, she is working on a mobile app with other students called, emp(a)t(h)y, an innovation to combat mental health around the world.  On January 31st Natasha presented her vision on how to combat mental health at the Youth Marketplace on Social Innovations for Health & Wellbeing event hosted at the United Nations by Every Women Every Child in partnership with the Office of the President of the General Assembly supported by the SDG Media Zone.


What is the inspiration behind your business and organisation?  As college students in New York City, we have seen at first-hand the prevalence of mental health. Although resources are available for mental health, there are so many barriers that prevent youth from seeking them. In fact, many find them unhelpful as youth often seek for understanding, or empathy. After conducting numerous interviews, we were inspired by the ability for an individual to transform someone else’s life – through meaningful discussion and peer-to-peer connection. Humans have the ability to feel, understand, and relate – a certain consciousness that technology does not have.

What are the key foundations of your business?  Empathy serves to provide the human-to-human connection that is most beneficial when confronting adversity. We understand the value of empathy, and its ability to connect people on the basis of shared experiences. Our goal is to combat mental health by humanizing healthcare.

How has your business grown since you first launched?  Our business is currently in the preliminary phase. Six months in, we’ve developed a scalable and sustainable business model that is fit for a global platform. We initially targeted college campus where students felt a gap in mental health resources. After receiving positive feedback, we thought why not take our local initiative to a global platform? We were operating in an environment that already had resources available and thus decided to take this innovation to locations where resources were little to none

What have been your biggest struggles since launching?  Given the gravity of mental health and the consequences, we want to ensure the app is a safe space where individuals can trust one another. In addition, as we are trying to implement the model in different places, we need to adjust it to fit the respective market. This includes being aware of cultural and social norms.

What have been your greatest achievements?  Youth have truly begun to value our idea and mission – this is a huge achievement. Through our research and marketing efforts, we are developing a strong foundation of individuals who can not only use the app, but also benefit from it. Such support is integral to our innovation and its model.

What differentiates you from your competitors?  We are not a mental health intervention or treatment, but rather a social innovation that provide an alternate outlet for individuals who are experiencing adversities. Our idea of empathy – shared experiences – rather than sympathy is what differentiates us. We are removing the stigma surrounding mental health, and providing an anonymous space for discussion.

How would you encourage someone who wants to use your service?   This service is a great way to engage with someone who has gone through a similar experience! Whether it is anxiety due to a bad boss, or dealing with the loss of a friend – there are some situations that warrant an understanding. Perhaps another individual can give advice that is helpful or some reassurance, which certainly goes along way. Moreover, you have the opportunity to help someone else! For example, parents of children who are battling cancer and wish to share support, advice, and encouragement.

What are your goals for your business over the next few years?  We want to expand our user base and target schools starting in the United States and India. Having these two environments to pilot our app will surely be advantageous to our scalable model. Overall, we want to decrease the burden of mental health illnesses and work towards Sustainable Development Goal #3 – “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being.”

What is your message to the reader?   You are not alone! No feeling or experience is too small or too big to overcome. Mental health needs to be a discussion, and please be part of it. We need your voice, your experiences – you never know whom you can help.

Thank you
Deep in thought
Deep in thought

Natasha, I am so inspired by the care and love you have for those suffering from mental health.  I believe that in a society where empathy can be lacking, it is heartwarming to know, that innovations like yours, created within the mainstream entrepreneurial environment, places people at the CENTRE.

Thank you for sharing your story and please keep us updated on your progress.

I am Nicola and this is my blog.

Hidden Figures/ Hidden Talent – Farah Govani




Name:         Farah Govani

Business:  Govani Coaching Ltd

Website link: www.govanicoaching.com



Farah’s clients say that as a result of their work with her, they are more present, bold, creative and resilient.  All of us have such brilliance inside us.

Farah helps to create the conditions for that brilliance to be unleashed. That may be through 1:1 coaching, or a mindfulness group or through authentic leadership training.

Mindfulness is integral to her life; she stumbled upon it 11 years ago and it has had, and continues to have, such a profound impact on how she lives and works.



Farah, what is the inspiration behind Govani Coaching?  I never dreamt of running my own business; it was never part of any plan of mine. However, one morning in May 2013 during my meditation practice, I was contemplating the questions: “What is my Job on this planet with a capital “J”? and “What am I so passionate about, I would pay to do it?” The answer came resoundingly loud and clear: my purpose is to bring mindfulness into organisations and to introduce as many people as possible to these practices that have had such a life-changing impact for me.

The call was so strong, so compelling that six weeks later I resigned from my HR career and started planning. Govani Coaching was born in February 2014.

What are the key foundations of your business?   I have 5 Principles that guide how I work: Courage, Service, Dignity, True Wealth & Wonderment. I could speak at length on each of those, but instead, I invite the readers of this blog to read each Principle in turn and see how much it resonates with them.

How has your business grown since you first launched?   My company is three years old this month! It has grown mainly through referrals from my ever-growing wonderful network of friends, family, ex-colleagues and new connections. I feel lucky to have a mix of clients. I work with individuals who invest in themselves and with organisations who invest in their people.

What have been your biggest struggles since launching?  Very little has felt like a true struggle. More an ongoing series of learning curves. One early challenge was when no one came to my mindfulness classes. I knew that it was never a personal thing and it simply indicated I had a lot to learn about marketing and messaging.


What have been your greatest achievements?  Last year, in partnership with another training provider, we delivered Authentic Leadership training to 120 leaders from a global luxury brand. It was wonderful to see them open up and explore their biases, both about themselves and others, and over the course of the two-days, each of them crafted their own unique Leadership Philosophy. It was such a privilege to be part of their explorations and development.

This may sound corny or clichéd, but my greatest achievements are when my clients discover their inner resources and take the courageous steps to share their glorious brilliance with the world.

What differentiates you from your competitors?

This is a tricky one to answer. On one hand, it’s the combination of having a committed mindfulness practice and my previous corporate experience as an employee at global companies such as PwC and BlackRock.  My mindfulness practice grounds me, it enables me to listen deeply and it allows for the co-creation of a safe and powerful space in which my clients can explore their fears and dreams without judgement. My corporate experience means that I can understand and relate to the challenges that individuals, teams and organisations are dealing with. In addition, I am in the midst of a Master’s degree in Mindfulness Based Approaches. Mindfulness is definitely a popular thing right now, which means that the number of teachers has exploded. If you’re considering joining a course, you should ask the teacher about their training. The bare minimum should be a well-recognised one-week teacher training course (e.g. from Bangor University). My Master’s degree is five years – clearly this goes a lot deeper than a one-week training course.

On the other hand, when it comes to people connecting more deeply with themselves and others, it’s not actually about choosing me vs a competitor.. So long as you are tuning in, both to yourself and the world around you, if you choose to that with another coach or mindfulness teacher, so be it. We are all interconnected: the more people who are bringing mindfulness into their lives, or who develop a deeper knowing of who they are and how they can make a positive impact on the world, the better. It benefits all of us.

How would you encourage someone who wants to use your service?  Often the first step is the hardest, such as deciding that having a coach could actually be just what you need to support you as you go from good to great. Or the first step might be acknowledging any perceptions you have about meditation being a bit weird but giving it a go anyway as the scientific research shows just how beneficial it is for us, physically, mentally and emotionally. I can’t help you with that first step, but once you’ve made that decision, contact me and we can explore how us working together could potentially change your life.

What are your goals for your business over the next few years?  To do more of what I am already doing. More mindfulness classes, whether that’s for organisations or the general public (in London and Croydon or online.  I want to coach more people – it is such a privilege to work with someone as they explore their own principles and values and make bold changes in their life. And I want to run more Authentic Leadership training, which has coaching and mindfulness at its two supporting pillars. Given the state of “post-truth politics”, authenticity is more important than ever.

What is your message to the reader?  If you’ve never experienced how powerful simply pausing can be, I invite you to listen to this 5-minute meditation. I’d love to hear about your experience.

Thank you

nicola-2Farah, what I love is your courage to stepout of your comfort zone is what many more women need to hear.  I appreciate you participating in the Hidden Figures series.  It takes courage to really let the world know that you are hear to serve.  I thank you.

If like Farah, you want to participate in the series, please contact me on info@marketingwithlove.co.uk

The series officially closes on 17th Feb 2017, when the film Hidden Figures is released in the UK.


Hidden Figures/ Hidden Talent – Laurie Seymour



Name: Laurie Seymour

Business: The Baca Journey

Website link: www.thebacajourney.com


As a mentor/guide, Laurie Seymour, M.A., is a #1 best-selling author, speaker, host of the Wisdom Talk Radio podcast and founder of The Baca Journey. She helps women and men who are in the midst of great change to have a direct experience of their inner wisdom, dissolving self-doubt. Then she teaches them how to sustain their inner connection so that they live the life they know is possible.


Laurie, what is the inspiration behind The Baca Journey?  Well, the Baca Grande is a physical place located in Crestone, Colorado. It is home to many groups of a spiritual nature as well as people who are drawn by its high-desert beauty and provocative energy. It is where a group of inner explorers held gatherings for 20 years, dedicated to learning about our own potential. We had a passion for inner discovery that transcended dogma, religion or mental constructs. We wanted to learn about how energy worked and we wanted that learning to come from within.

We wanted to learn about how energy worked and we wanted that learning to come from within. The Baca Journey was born from this exploration as a place for discovery, for learning, for dialogue, and for exploration.  It represents that place within each one of us, as human beings, that is connected with a greater truth and a desire to discover more about how to live aligned with that truth in everyday life.

What are the key foundations of your business?  Our core operating values are:

  • Conscious participation in life is needed for creative action to take hold.
  • As you trust and take action, a new way of living everyday life unfolds.
  • This new way of living gives rise to answers for life’s challenges.
  • Life has meaning.
  • There is a bigger picture.
  • The journey (life) is exhilarating!

These values underlie everything that we offer, whether that is through one to one sessions, online programs (like Turaya Meditation Live Online and Prospecting Your Inner Jewel), corporate mindfulness programs or live classes such as Turaya Touch.

How has your business grown since you first launched?  I launched The Baca Journey while I was working full-time for a major telecommunications company. At that time (and for several years until I left) it was primarily a vehicle for online writing, building a library of resources for people who were ready to explore and claim a bigger picture of themselves and life’s possibilities. Now it is a full-fledged service company dedicated to unleashing people’s potential and having a life that works. It’s really a business that has been decades in the making, since my first career as a psychotherapist and university instructor.

What have been your biggest struggles since launching?  My struggles happen whenever I forget that I’m part of a bigger mission to remind people of who they really are and what is possible. It’s when I think I’m in this alone.

What have been your greatest achievements?  When someone connects with the big truth inside of themselves and they feel loved from the inside-out. Then when they discover that this is sustainable and that they can make life decisions from within this clear space of mindful presence even in the midst of outer turmoil. Actually, these are really their achievements. I’m kind of like the Sherpa who provides the tools, shows the way and helps carry the load on the journey.

What differentiates you from your competitors?  If we each have our own expression of who we are, and if that expression is represented with love and integrity in what we offer, then none of us can do what another does. I know in the depth of my being that this is true, so I have no competitors. Nor do “they.”

How would you encourage someone who wants to use your service?   More than anything, you want to know that your inner guidance is coming from the deepest, truest part of you. You are ready to create the bigger picture that has been calling to you. You’re ready to trust the answers inside of you even if you aren’t sure how.   I’ll provide the strategies you’ll require to get through the portal to the “other side” and illuminate your next steps. Let’s do this together.

What are your goals for your business over the next few years?  Personally, 2017 will see the completion and publication of my first solo book (I’m a #1 international best-selling author of two collaborative books). I’m expanding my signature online program, Prospecting Your Inner Jewel in 2017 that teaches people how to access their own inner direction so they can navigate successfully through life’s changes. I taught my first classes in London in 2016 and will be taking Prospecting Your Inner Jewel live on the road nationally and internationally.

Ultimately, I look to The Baca Journey to be a provocative catalyst for people to come together in community in the joy of how life can work.

What is your message to the reader?  There is a reliable resource already within you that can bring a new simplicity and clarity to determining your true next step. It is part of your original “blueprint”. It is waiting for your rediscovery. I call this your Inner Guidance System, your own unique GPS.   There’s a new life waiting for you and now it’s your time to make space for you.  It’s time to answer the inner call that you feel whispering inside. Because you are ready. Because you can.

Thank you!

nicola-2Laurie, I am so happy that you shared your vision with my readers.  I firmly believe in our inner power to create change.  However, it is great to know that there are people like you, who can help people like me un-tap our potential.

Thank you for participating in our series.

If you want to contirbute to my Hidden Figures/Hidden Talent series, please message me at info@markeitngwithlove.co.uk

Hidden Figures/Hidden Talent – Dawn Ellis


Name:            Dawn Ellis

Business:      Instant Teamwork Ltd

Website link: www.instantteamwork.com



As speaker, performer, facilitator, coach and consultant, Dawn has been working in the organisational and public arenas since 1997. She specialises in Storytelling and has a mission to put dynamic storytelling skills into the hands of people who can make a difference. She co-founded Instant Teamwork with her partner Tom Morley.


Dawn, what is the inspiration behind Instant Teamwork?  As an actor and performer, I had always been attuned to audience dynamics and knew how to change the mood of a group of people. I realised that I had transferrable skills that were necessary and valued in organisations and the world outside the theatre. Between us, Tom Morley (partner and musician – ex Scritti Politti) and I put our decades of knowledge and techniques to the service of engaging and motivating people. We are daily inspired to invite and encourage connection – one of our core values – and that means connection to oneself as well as to others.  Our shared passion and mission, to liberate the human spirit wherever we can and whatever the context.

What are the key foundations of your business?  By delivering unusual activities, often musical or rhythmic, we give permission for people to be themselves in all their enthusiasm and presence. They are surprised at themselves, they enjoy themselves whole-heartedly, achieve something unexpected, and find themselves in a  state of ‘flow’, in the ‘zone’. Now they are open to whatever else is going on – whether it’s a meeting, a seminar or a large conference.  Sometimes delegates even change their lives outside of work and introduce more creativity to their family life.  In practice, this means offering sessions that fall under the labels Team Building and Training. Ideally, we offer the big experience, which embeds memories and has an impact at the time and for a short while afterward – we then follow up with specific training designed to make all this lovely experience sustainable.


How has your business grown since you first launched?  We launched in 2000 and grew steadily, although the recession of 2008  hit our type of business noticeably, we managed to dodge the worst of it – partly because we are agile and adaptable. Some of our competitors weren’t so lucky.  Since then we have focused on being light on our feet and responsive to the zeitgeist, the marketplace and above all to being creative in the face of challenges.  We keep our core values and offer and constantly re-invent events and ways to engage people, whether it’s Storytelling, Motivational Speaking, Drumming, Song-writing or Circus Powerpoint. We have no wish to become a massive organisation – we have a global reach and are small enough to keep our essence intact.

What have been your biggest struggles since launching?  The recession definitely produced our biggest struggle to date.

What have been your greatest achievements?  For me, our biggest achievements range from micro to macro. Small victories include, for example, working with a group of fairly cynical French bankers and leaving them beaming, loosening their ties and fully bonded as a group of human beings. Achievements on a bigger stage usually involve using our name and reputation to make a real difference to the causes we support. These might be writing anthems for the launch of UN Women, creating flash mobs in Trafalgar Square to provide a magnet for One Billion Rising and Peace Day; to taking drums on to Millennium Bridge to be the heart-beat for the ‘Bridges not Walls’ initiative. It’s all about unity, engagement, and connection, wherever we are.  Finally, in 17 years we have never had a bad review!  And I think that’s an achievement.

Click on the image above to see Dawn Ellis spreading her wisdom and building communities.

What differentiates you from your competitors?  Our focus is completely on the groups we work with and not on our own cleverness and talent.  So we make sure that all our associates are great facilitators first and great performers second.

We don’t really do off the shelf sessions – we always tailor to whatever is needed.  We are able to de-brief the sessions where needed and offer in-depth training so that our events are fully integrated, not just a bolt-on “well that was the team building, now for the main bit”.

How would you encourage someone who wants to use your service?  I would say that our events are designed to be fully inclusive and uplifting.  There is no embarrassment, no solos, and that the metaphors to be drawn from a simple one-hour session are powerful.  And in answer to ‘that’s fine, but MY people wouldn’t do it’ I would say – ‘You’d be surprised, don’t under-estimate them, or our facilitation – try it.’

What are your goals for your business over the next few years?  We are building on our existing, strong Storytelling areas – partly because Storytelling seems crucial for us all right now – to understand what’s going on and to respond powerfully.  We are also developing our Interactive Motivational Talks more – paying particular attention to the release of talent that comes when you allow creativity out to play.

In 5 years we envision being acknowledged as architects of Collaboration, Trust, and Renewal in the private and public arenas.

What is your message to the reader?  People are at their best and able to make clear decisions and collaborate to the benefit of all when they understand how to get into and, crucially stay, in the Zone.  This is our area of expertise and we’d love to work alongside you to bring this about.  Contact us soon.

My personal final thought
Deep in thought
Deep in thought

Dawn, what a trailblazer you are. You project the image of an empowered, confident woman, who aims to inspire others to realise their full potential.  Thank you for doing this interview.

My name is Nicola and this is my blog!

Hidden Figures/Hidden Talent – Precious Jason


Name:            Precious Jason

Business:      Etieno skincare

Website link: www.etieno.co.uk




In 2012, Precious Jason was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia and went on to have intensive treatment which left her skin feeling compromised. The need for safe and natural remedies inspired her to create her own natural skincare range (www.etieno.co.uk).  Etieno skincare lovingly creates luxurious, therapeutic and skin loving products for people with battle scarred skin.


Precious, what is the inspiration behind Etie’no? After my diagnoses with an aggressive form of cancer and subsequent treatment, my skin felt dry, damaged and sensitive. I also lost my hair, nails and self-esteem.  This led to search for natural, safe and therapeutic skincare products. When I couldn’t find anything I decided to create a range of products aimed at people just like me.

What are the key foundations of your business?

  1. I go the extra mile to source the best ingredients for my products. Every single ingredient is there for a reason and thoroughly checked
  2. We take customer service very seriously too. From handwritten notes to recommending a great service that we have experienced, we want to help people who have gone through similar experiences
  3. We are proud supporters of cancer charities too. It is an important thing for me to be able to support others.

How has your business grown since you first launched?  We have had some decent press since we launched and I was invited to exhibit at Number 10 Downing street in December 2016. I met the Small Business Minister and it was lovely to share my concerns with her on women rebuilding after cancer treatment.

What have been your biggest struggles since launching?  Educating people about cancer treatment and its impact on self- esteem. A lot of people are not aware of the toxic ingredients in conventional skincare products and the impact it has on wellbeing and health. I am working on that and fixing that a tweet a time.

What have been your greatest achievements?  It would have to be winning 2 national awards, being shortlisted for 4 (including one for our skin balm) and my visit to number 10 and handing over my products to the Minister. It was an honour for me to come from being a patient to an entrepreneur


What differentiates you from your competitors? We use the best ingredients and we serve with love. Our book “Caring for your skin after cancer treatment” is free and will always be free.

How would you encourage someone who wants to use your service?  Reach out.

  1. Download our FREE ebook on etieno.co.uk and join our newsletter for information (our newsletters are informative and we have a song of the week too)
  2. Connect with us at Etie’no and someone will reply in under 24 hours

What are your goals for your business over the next few years? I would like to be in Boots in 3 years. I see my products on their shelves helping their customer base.

What is your message to the reader? Don’t give up.


nicola-2Thank you, Precious for the interview.  Many people are confronted with challenges in life. However, as the saying goes, ‘the true strength of character is not how many time you get knocked down, but how many time you get back up’.  We salute you Precious!


If you want to be part of the Hidden Figures series, please contact info@marketingwithlove.co.uk for more information

Hidden Figures/Hidden Talent – Sadaf Hashemzadeh



Name:   Sadaf  Hashemzadeh

Business:  GlowVita

Website:  www.glowvita.com 



Sadaf was born in Tehran/Iran. She moved to London at age of 17 on her own for better education. She has dual nationality of British/Iranian.

Born to a family of engineers and entrepreneurs. She studied Electrical & Electronics Engineering at Imperial College London. She did her MBA focused on Entrepreneurship at Imperial College Business School.  She met her business partner/ friend Sahil Kakaria during MBA program, the idea behind GlowVita arose from their personal frustration using beauty services. GlowVita is an on-demand beauty, health, and wellness app, that helps users access a range of professional, trained and qualified freelancers within London, who are equipped to provide treatments on users convenient location. The ambition behind GlowVita is to disrupt the salon, beauty, and fitness market and to be the one-stop shop for all the beauty, health and fitness needs of our customers. She has a passion for beauty and wellness industry as well as technology which enabled her to thrive and make GlowVita a successful venture.


Sadaf, what is the inspiration behind GlowVita?  Our vision is to be a trusted brand bringing affordable and top-notched beauty, health and fitness services to the doorstep of our clients.

We have the ambition to impact the salon and beauty, health and fitness services market by developing the one-stop shop for all of those needs for our customers.  In addition, we want to be known as the number one freelance platform for our providers, offering transparency of prices and flexibility of service.

What are the key foundations of your business?  Empowering women, flexibility, reliability and great customer service.  As well as friendly, technical usability.

How has your business grown since you first launched? We launched to a good response and demand from our users. We have increased our brand awareness through social media platforms.  We are now increasing our brand awareness through press and media.  From our users – so far we’ve had excellent feedback.

What have been your biggest struggles since launching?  Our rigorous approach to screening and bringing quality providers on board has been time-consuming and, I would say it’s our biggest challenge. But, we recognise that there is no shortcut to creating a solid foundation for a platform like this.

What have been your greatest achievements?  We have developed a seamless technology platform Web/IOS that provides convenience, flexibility and transparency. We also have quality providers on board with us as part of GlowVita Team.

What differentiates you from your competitors?  We at GlowVita aim to make our platform the most transparent, competitive and fair platform on the market.  Hence, we allow our freelancers to convey their personality on their page through both text and photos.

We think that when it comes to beauty treatments, communication with the client and the service provider’s personality is often a major factor in choosing who to go to.  That’s the major difference between us and our competitors.


How would you encourage someone who wants to use your service?  If they are looking to be pampered like a celebrity at their convenience, GlowVita offers a wide range of services with the fairest price on the market. No matter what’s the budget, we offer a quality service.

What are your goals for your business over the next few years?  We are looking to increase the range of services and the number of qualified providers. We are also looking to leverage from our existing network base to expand to other cities nationally.

What is your message to the reader?  I think the best thing you can do as woman, is to make a positive difference in other people’s life. You can do that as a business woman, mother, daughter, and wife.  Also, follow your vision in life, and never give up on what you want to achieve. My definition of success is to be better version of yourself every year.


nicola-2Thank you Sadaf, for the interview.  Technology is central to most industries.  Therefore, it is important to have women in all areas of the industry.


If you want to be part of the Hidden Figures series, please contact info@marketingwithlove.co.uk for more information

Hidden Figures/Hidden Talent – Marva Williams


Name:              Marva Williams

Business:         Puriskin by Vanessa Blake Cosmetics

Website link:    www.puriskinbyvb.com



Having had several years of success in the telecommunication sector,  In her mid-thirties Marva, was looking for a change of direction and something closer to my heart. Her grandmother was diabetic and did not fare well with the foot products that she was prescribed.  Marva, wanted to find a non-greasy solution that would bring relief to her dry, sensitized feet which she would not only enjoy using but which would also provide effective, long-lasting relief without any sticky residue.

Marva had learnt from her grandmothers’ stories of her homeland Guyana that visiting a doctor was a luxury and that many parents and grandparents, would crush, boil and blend plants to make remedies for their ailments. As a child Marva had found these stories fascinating and as a grown-up, this fuelled a new direction of focus for Marva and her skin care story began. Marva now develops products for people always keeping the consumer need in the front of my mind, over the last year I have been doing lectures and training courses around the UK.


Marva, what is the inspiration behind Puriskin?   My first inspiration is a personal one.  Creative and driven environments and personalities tend to intrigue and influence me and I would say my grandmother was my greatest inspiration.

Having resettled to the UK from Guyana in her 40s during the sixties she was faced with many challenges in a new culture as she strove to achieve her ambitions for her and her family. which she did with incredible success.

Puriskin is a labour of love for me and a problem-solving exercise.  I want people who had Skin issues to have nice products that they loved. It is about people loving their skin.  I am passionate about making a difference in people’s life.

What are the key foundations of your business?  At Puriskin by Vanessa Blake Cosmetics, we use natural ingredients and I love developing and formulating products that are not just wholesome and healthy to use but are as effective as many of the expensive beauty brands in the market-place for delivering noticeable benefits to skin.  We get ideas for developing products for people’s needs by talking with our customers and listening to feedback. We get the most pleasure when a customer comes back to us and tells us their stories on how our products have benefitted them.

How has your business grown since you first launched?  It has grown slowly, but what we have been able to do is build relationships with our customers and we find our customers purchase from us on a regular basis.

What have been your biggest struggles since launching?  Getting people to know that there is a product that could help them out there.  As a small business getting your voice heard in the beauty market, is the hardest thing.

What have been your greatest achievements?

  • Winning #WOW award at the end of 2016
  • When a customer comes and tells me who the products have helped them.


What differentiates you from your competitors?  We make all our products In-house, we do not contract manufacture. We talk about performance skincare. A product has to do what we say it is going to do otherwise it does not see the light of day (get released to the public).

How would you encourage someone who wants to use your service?  I always tell people there is no harm in trying, I am always explaining to customers that we are not reinventing the wheel, we are going back to ingredients that were used in centuries gone by. Natural products I believe are the way forward.

What are your goals for your business over the next few years?  To keep listening to customers and develop products that solve customer issues. To develop a strong retail base so it is easily available to customers.

What is your message to the reader?  Never give up, I always say the impossible is always possible. Dream Big.


nicola-2Thank you Marva, for the interview.  We love the connection and inspiration your grandmother was for you.  Keep her legacy alive through your work.


If you want to be part of the Hidden Figures series, please contact info@marketingwithlove.co.uk for more information

Hidden Figures/Hidden Talent: Amanda Shayle


Name:        Amanda Shayle

Business:  Acuregen Acupuncture

Website:     https://www.acuregen.com/



Amanda Shayle trained in the art of Acupuncture following the hospitalisation of her three-month-old son who had suffered a serious skin reaction after his immunisations.

The search for a gentle, effective way to deal with his allergies motivated her to explore complementary therapy.  Having personally already experienced the healing benefits of acupuncture when her teacher employed these to rectify old sporting injuries.  This inspired Amanda to learn acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. 



Amanda, what is the inspiration behind Acuregen?  I am Inspired by the potential use of acupuncture for enhancing health and beauty, so developed a system that is being taught worldwide. As part of the research I quickly realised the importance of natural skincare for home use and in clinic. This has become a significant aspect for patient satisfaction in their treatment outcomes.  Acuregen’s mission is to deliver clinical excellence as well as ethical, safe, enjoyable treatments so that our clients do, indeed, feel loved and look loved.

What are the key foundations of your brand?  I found that most of the creams in the market contained compounds potentially harmful (due to the massive absorption into the skin after needling) and I needed something safe, yet effective, to offer my patients. I wanted to deliver a British-made range which fulfilled my requirements for no animal testing and the use of raw ingredients I could trust.

Of course such products needed to be effective and after years of clinical use and reformulation my expectations have been met. My recollection of my son’s needs and those of my clients’ for pure dermatology skincare, influenced me to develop the Derme range in 2015.

How has your business grown since you first launched?  For over a decade our focus and my passion has been in training what has become an international network of medical professionals.  The development of Thrive needles, skincare and clinical package has satisfied years of feedback and demand.

We have also added the latest technology in skincare and Led Light Therapy with partners and have significantly improved clinical outcomes.  The Anti-Aging Show, Olympia was a great platform for a successful launch of our clinical package to the consumer.  This and the growth of our export business has brought the Acuregen Brand to the forefront.  It is so very exciting.

What have been your biggest struggles since launching?  The costs of doing things properly with legal work and product testing have been challenging. I have launched and grown this company during a divorce and a house purchase nightmare with the challenges of high bridging loan costs and unscrupulous professionals. This has driven me to make this business work and given me the tough tools to be a successful entrepreneur.

I actually don’t regret this tough learning experience. Amusingly in a recent meeting with another driven colleague, we completed our discussions late into the evening and laughed as we realised we were both going back to our clinics to sleep, once again, on the floor!


What have been your greatest achievements?  The support and growth of an incredible network of professional people around me who have supported me and continue to do so. To this day I have self-funded – so I can follow my vision without interference from investors.

I still can’t believe I have achieved all this and now with the opening of my Company home, academy and clinic in London my dream is coming true.

What differentiates you from your competitors?  Acuregen is a privately-owned company with innovation, ethics, quality and effectiveness all topping our list. We are a ‘small’ producer and can make the choice to only include the purest ingredients in our products without a board of directors pressuring us about our bottom line.

Fancy packaging, heavy marketing costs are not on our agenda – the value is in the product itself. Organic apples are often not as pretty as those mass-farmed – but consumers know what they are buying. Our skincare performs, containing cold-pressed essential oils and other natural ingredients that retain their therapeutic value and natural fragrance. Our bottles are simple but still lovely and repeat purchases speak for themselves whether for home care or during a course of treatment.

How would you encourage someone who wants to use your service?  I always say to my patients “you will never be the same again – in a good way!” They laugh and remind me later that my words were true. I am confident that anyone trying our skincare will not believe how well and easily they absorb. Our cleansing products leave no greasy residue or tight skin after using. Our feedbacks cross generations with mums, dads and their teenage sons and daughters loving the products.

The only way to find out is to experience even one product….

What are your goals for your business over the next few years?  The continued development of an international network of stockists and certified teachers and clinics offering the Acuregen experience. Even more important is now to drive the UK and export potential with the skincare ranges and the professional sales of my Thrive Intradermal needles worldwide.

What is your message to the reader?  My tag line is” Look Loved, Feel Loved”.  We all need that and hope to that the wider consumer will understand how we can help them achieve this. Beauty comes from within and even a face full of wrinkles can be beautiful if you feel loved. My USA family live in the Rockies. I have photos of some of the elderly local people living there totally reflecting beauty from within.

Thank you

nicola-2Thank you Amanda, for the interview.

We are proud to learn about the work you do, the inspiration behind your business and the vision you hold in your heart.

We wish you great success!


If you want to be part of the Hidden Figures series, please contact info@marketingwithlove.co.uk for more information