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Two Entrepreneurs Plus Two Equals Success

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Camellia McQueenForest of Dean Entrepreneurs case studies usually focus on one business, but today there are two plus a collaborating organisation and another start-up!

Why, because Becca Cobham of Creative Bee wrote a blog post for Camellia McQueen on the network apprentice scheme of the CAP Business Clubs.

Becca and Sharifa are both successful participants on the Entrepreneurs Plus and other Forest of Dean Entrepreneur workshops.

While the CAP Business Clubs are an excellent way to being introduced to business networking, in a supportive environment. And we are always happy to signpost to organisations such as CAP, who help other Forest businesses flourish.

Sharifa’s Camellia McQueen (in mostly Becca’s words)

Astute new entrepreneur, and mother, Sharifah Rahman, launched fashion startup business – Camellia McQueen this year in response to a family crisis. Now, thanks to a lively local business network and a business start-up project, she spends her days creating stylish accessories from her home in the heart of the Forest of Dean.

Bend: don’t break!

The family settled in England after her husband had to leave his high powered job overseas due to a sudden illness. So, Sharifah decided to take on the role of bread winner. But, the Forest of Dean wasn’t renowned for its job opportunities, so she had to forge her own.

Starting a business was the most logical response.  After having been a full time mum for the past seven years, thinking about the possibility and then taking that step takes courage but support is on hand.

Eureka moment: let’s make fashion fun for boys

Sharifah originally studied fashion design, and that’s where her passion lies. She had her eureka moment when she spotted a gap in the market. Women are spoilt for choice when it comes to dressing up, but men are sadly bereft in the accessory department. Sharifah wanted to inject some style and lots of fun in to her son’s wardrobe, but how?Her very first product was born – the bowtie.

The bowties in the UK are too safe and boring. I wanted something funkier for my son.”

She started experimenting with patterns, colour and fabrics to create her own original, high-end range. Her friends were quick to compliment her skills. So, she registered her business and hatched her master plan.

How to start

Sharifah decided upon a methodical approach based on sound advice when launching Camellia McQueen. After spotting a local entrepreneur’s taster course , she embarked upon her learning curve and took the Forest of Dean Entrepreneurs Plus course  .

“This gave me the idea to expand my range to include men’s bowties, business card holders and purses and armed me with the necessary tools.”

A supportive business network

The courses also convinced her of the power of quality business networking.

By chance CAP Business Clubs founder, Paul James, was looking for an apprentice member following a suggestion from CAP member, Alison Ball of Lemon Photographic . The CAP “apprenticeship networking membership” is offered free to a new business for 6 months.

Ideal for Sharifah, since it offered the opportunity for support from established local businesses as well as other new start-ups.

Next stop, Etsy, and beyond

Sharifah will now be looking at selling her products on the likes of Etsy and Not on the as well as her Facebook page and ultimately her own website.

Balancing business and family life

You’ll often hear business owners talk about their early starts. In fact, Sharifah has found this to be the key to success.

“I am more creative and productive in the morning.”

It is also a great way to balance work and family life. Juggling the two was difficult at first, but with help from her husband, she has established a solid routine.

Creative BeeSharifah had always dreamed of running her own business and the support from Forest of Dean Entrepreneurs and CAP Business Clubs members has helped her achieve her goals.

She advises anyone who’s considering launching their own business in the Forest to follow her path with start-up workshops and business networking to get the support needed.

To read the full post on the CAP site follow this link and then scroll down.

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