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Ladies that launch!

ENTREPRENEURS: (clockwise from top) Veronica Koppleman, Yvonne David and Tabitha Douglas

WITH TV shows like Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice showcasing a host of aspiring entrepreneurs, it’s plain to see that Britain boasts a host of budding business-folks.

However, even with a great business plan, not every wannabe tycoon has the drive, the confidence or the means to start up their own company. But then, there are those who do.

Good friends Yvonne David, Tabitha Douglas and Veronica Koppleman are three women who braved the business world and launched their own companies.

Yvonne runs a successful cake-baking business, Tabitha’s company supplies a range of wigs, and Veronica provides a sweet way for businesses to advertise their services. Here, the ladies tell us more about their businesses.

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YVONNE DAVID
Business: supplying cakes for events and special occasions


BAKING PASSION: Yvonne David with the cake she designed for Hello! magazine’s royal wedding feature

IT’S an obvious statement about a woman who runs a cake company, but Yvonne David loves baking!

Realising that she could turn her passion into profit, the brilliant baker launched Events Cakes, supplying a range of intricate, unique and beautifully-crafted cakes and cupcakes in a range of designs and flavours.

Yvonne supplies cakes for weddings, birthdays and much more, and her talents haven’t gone unnoticed. In 2010, she created a cake for famed shoe designer Jimmy Choo for his birthday celebration. And earlier this year, she was featured in Hello! magazine, after being invited by the magazine’s editor to make a wedding cake suitable for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding. She tells us more about her company.

What was the inspiration for starting Events Cakes?
My family and close friends are my inspiration. My Husband Sheffield has always encouraged me to set up a cake business and my family and friends have always enjoyed sampling my cakes and encouraged me too.


LOVE IS IN THE AIR: Yvonne’s love-inspired cupcakes

When did you first get into baking and what inspired your baking passion?
I began when my children Sajurna and Barrington were young and now, even my three-year-old grandson Terrell enjoys eating my cakes. My parents always baked so some of their love for baking must have rubbed off on me too.

How did the opportunity to create a cake suitable for William and Kate arise?
I was invited by the editor of Hello! magazine to create a wedding cake fit for the future King and Queen.  She’d heard about me from one of their journalists.

Who have been some of your celebrity clients and for what occasions did you create cakes for them?
I created a birthday cake last year for Jimmy Choo of Jimmy Choo Couture, and I also created cakes and cupcakes for a charity event hosted by [Bee Gees singer] Robin Gibb and his wife Dwina.

Can you reveal how you get a photograph on a cake?
That's a good question but it's a service that I offer and I can't give away all my secrets, can I?


TALENT: Yvonne’s cakes, including a specially made Voice cake, lay on top of her Hello! feature

What was the most challenging/intricate cake you ever made and what was it for?
The Wedding cake for Hello! magazine, only because I was totally amazed at getting such an opportunity. But once I sat down and began to think about Prince William and Kate, the engagement ring, the tradition of the Royals and the modern look of this young couple, I knew exactly what I wanted to create.

Do you enjoy eating cakes or has your endless cake baking put you off them?
No, I haven’t been put off. I love my cakes and as I create new flavours, I need to know what they taste like.

What advice would you give to anyone hoping to set up their own business?
Do your research and make sure that there is a need for your product or service. Follow your dreams and be passionate about what you do. If you don't believe in yourself how can you expect others to?

*For more details on Yvonne’s company, visit www.eventscakes.co.uk

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TABITHA DOUGLAS
Business: providing wigs for people suffering from hair loss or those looking to revamp their image


Hair-raising business: Tabitha Douglas

TABITHA Douglas works as a wig consultant. As a qualified hairdresser, the businesswoman understands all too well how important one’s hair is, especially for women.

Providing a personal and professional mobile service, Tabitha transforms her customers’ looks, whether it’s for a special event or for those suffering with the effects of hair loss. She tells us more about her work.

What was the inspiration for starting this business?
I have always been interested in the technical side of hair. The structure, the follicle, hair and scalp disorders. By staring this business, I’ve been able to help those affected by hair loss.

What training was required to become a wig consultant?
I needed to be industry trained, qualified in all aspects of hairdressing, with additional training in wig fitting and cutting. Due to technology forever changing, it’s important to keep updated and knowledgeable.


VARIETY: Tabitha supplies a range of wigs, pictured

What’s the benefit of using your service, in comparison to buying wigs from other hair shops?
I offer a personalised, mobile service, whereby consultation, wig selection, etc, can be completed in the comfort of the client’s home. This approach has been very well-received, especially if the individual requires a unit/wig for medical reasons or has undertaken treatment leaving them weak, fragile, or not feeling their best.

What is the main reason why people use your service?
Around 70 percent of customers come to me due to medical cases and 30 percent are looking for a change of image.

Are any of your wigs suitable for those with Afro hair types?
Yes, and they come in both human and non-human hair textures. The non-human wigs/units are usually constructed of monofilament, which looks and behaves like human hair. So they can be shampooed and dried without heat.

The human hair range is diverse and uses a lace construction with Indian Remy, Indian virgin, some Brazilian and European human hair. I have some lovely wigs/units that sell very well and are suitable for Afro hair types. I believe in catering for all nationalities because when sickness strikes, it has no [racial] barriers.

What advice would you give to anyone hoping to set up their own business?
Research your industry, have a passion for what you are hoping to do and if possible, get yourself a business mentor. Additionally, have a business plan, always look ahead at the bigger picture and cultivate a positive mental attitude with bags of energy and self motivation.

*For more information on Tabitha’s wig service, email tabithatdouglas@aol.co.uk or call 07869 508 008

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VERONICA KOPPLEMAN
Business: supplying mini-chocolates that come complete with a message to advertise businesses’ services or campaigns


SWEET SUCCESS: Veronica Koppleman

LAUNCHED earlier this year, Chocol-Ads is the brainchild of Veronica Koppleman, who came up with the idea of merging advertising with chocolate.

Chocol-Ads enables businesses to appeal to their sweet-toothed clients and potential clients, by advertising their services in a small, neat and compact package – complete with a mini chocolate.

The newly found business is a unique means of advertising for both small and large companies – and also provides Yvonne with the new challenge she felt she needed after overcoming treatment for cancer.


UNIQUE: Veronica’s Chocol-Ads

Was Chocol-Ads a difficult business to set up?
There were times that were challenging and having a normal 9-5 job is, at times, much easier. Working for yourself is hard work. However, I love the feeling of being independent, having control and building something up from scratch. Our Swiss chocolates are delicious and the marketing concept is novel and is well received by our customers.

What was the inspiration for starting this business?
I just wanted to do something different with my life after undergoing cancer treatment.

What makes this business unique?
We provide a mini brochure with advertising and free chocolates, and they are distributed in bars and restaurants – anywhere that serves tea and coffee. We are the first to distribute free chocolates in this manner.

Can you give examples of some of the people/companies that have used your service?
There’s been a very wide range of companies from hotels, serviced offices, and a bedding company to counsellors and wedding planners.

Is there any danger of people receiving the product, eating the chocolate but completely missing the message?
Everyone is curious about Chocol-Ads because it’s so different. And the chocolate is placed in such a way on the concertina mini brochure that as soon as you try to remove the chocolate the mini brochure opens up into a concertina file. You cannot help but to read the short messages inside.

What are some of the company’s success stories so far?
One of our clients whose marketing campaign required 10,000 units of Chocol-Ads had a response rate of 11 percent for bedding materials. And another small campaign for a counselor at the Global Ethical Awards reported that they had a very good response and will shortly order again.

What advice would you give to anyone hoping to set up their own business?
Just do it and take advice from people who have done it before. Get assistance in the areas where you are not very strong. In my case, it was bookkeeping. Stay positive, don’t give-up, network as much as possible and keep smiling!

* For more information on Veronica’s business, visit www.chocol-ads.co.uk

* Special thanks to Eileen Douglas for helping to helping to construct this feature

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