Star Business of the Month – Podplus – June 2015

Podplus - Specialist sports footwear, clothing and injury clinic including podiatry, chiropody and physiotherapy.We caught up with Kate Austen joint owner of Podplus with her brother Tom to find out just why they started a business:

What is Podplus?

Podplus is a Sports Shop & Injury Clinic based in Ashford. The business offers a shoe fitting service to all customers so that they can get appropriate advice on what will suit their foot position & activity to prevent injury keeping you comfortable whilst being active.

The business also offers clinics via appointment for Podiatry (lower limb and foot problems), Physiotherapy and Deep Tissue Massage to treat any injuries, or provide maintenance for sports and non sports people of all ages.

Why did you take on the entrepreneurial challenge?

I was 22 when I started Podplus, I felt I had nothing to lose by giving entrepreneurship a go – I needed a job that I enjoyed and was able to create one with this opportunity.

The initial idea wasn’t mine, I took the challenge on which was suggested by my brother Tom. He was practising as a Podiatrist for the NHS and felt there was a lack of advice and products to help people manage very common foot and lower limb problems. He was right! Podplus now provides specialist products and services that were not previously available across Kent and East Sussex. Our customers happily travel to our base in Ashford from a wide reaching radius to take advantage of our services.

Podplus - Specialist sports footwear, clothing and injury clinic including podiatry, chiropody and physiotherapy.What makes you different?

The products we stock are designed for activity and not found on the high street – they are unique and of high quality to ensure they look good and feel great. One of our strongest aspects is the consistency in our customer service. Before selecting a product every member of our team provides advice and guidance to the customer by listening to them and taking their best interests to heart. This ensures the right product is selected to meet the needs of the customer. A couple of our top selling items are:

Brooks Adrenaline Walker – A discrete everyday walking shoe designed to support and cushion your body from the impact of walking.

Vasyli Supportive Insole – One of the best insoles and only sold via health professionals, they can support your feet to help treat common arch & heel pain (Plantar Fasciitis)

Happy 10th Birthday! What continues to drive you after 10 years?

Pod Plus 10th birthdayPodplus is now a team, as an owner of the business I have a duty to every member of my team to give my best. The business still fills a void in the market, every customer deserves the best service too! Everyone should have the opportunity to be active and comfortable, we aim to provide this every step of the way.

Thanks to all those who joined us in celebrating and have made the business what it is today – We clinked glasses of Chapel Down bubbles (courtesy of former Institute of Directors Chairman Frazer Thompson) with Ashford Mayor John Link, Peter Davidson former chair of Julie Rose Stadium Trust, Paul Barron from the Kent Foundation who support young business, Joyce & Don Rose plus plenty of staff & customers past present and future for a fun day of celebration. THANK YOU!

What is your top business tip?

“Only recently I added a permanent bookkeeper/finance member to our team – it really helped to focus the ‘business’ needs rather than continuing to keep afloat and being bogged down in the daily needs, decisions can be made with an overarching goal in mind.”

Get in Touch with Podplus:

Podplus Company Website


Podplus Shopping Website



Onesie Warehouse- Star Business of the Month – May 2015

The Story

Onesie WarehouseHi 🙂 I’m Georgina and Onesie Warehouse started after selling hundreds of the all in one piece suits from my dining room table via Facebay (Groups on facebook selling locally to one another). Whilst this was happening my Sister, Lucy Hall who runs Kent Social Media was building the Onesie Warehouse website. This was all happening when onesies just emerged as a super comfy fashion item worn by many celebrities including One Direction and Brad Pitt. Once the website was launched and passed on to me the competition was rife – however sales were still pouring in. Therefore I made the decision to transform my garage into a Warehouse and continue to increase stock levels in order to market a wider range of designs and styles.

I knew for the business to keep going amongst big competitors such as New Look,, Marks & Spencers, Next and many more I needed to create partnerships. I have always liked the idea of doing business and giving back. I read Richard Branson’s ‘Screw Business as Usual’ and this inspired me to start partnering with charities.

Onesie WarehouseMy first charity partnership was JDRF a large Type 1 Diabetes Charity which offers support and research to cure those diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I provided their official Onesie and gave £5 from each sale to the charity as well as going the extra mile to improve awareness of the charity. I helped with their competitions providing a onesie as a prize and held a large campaign around World Diabetes day when JDRF put on a huge walk which they do every year. I also gained my first celebrity endorser, Simon King of The Hairy Bikers. Over 150 sales of the onesie came just from the charity and raised over £750 in a few months.

I am now partnered with Anthony Nolan, the blood cancer charity, The Children’s Air Ambulance and will soon be partnering with a cause for animals, to utilise this we will make use of our fleece animal onesies. I believe Onesie Warehouse growth will be centred around developing strong partnerships and giving back to great charities.

Why start a business?

I have always wanted to run my own successful business; after university studying Media, Communication and Cultural studies I travelled to South America and returned becoming part owner of a woman’s clothing boutique. It was great fun and such a learning curve but I wanted something more and went on to travel again for a year to Asia and Australasia.

Team OnesieOn return I started managing music artists. This combined my two passions, the first being music and the second, selling, which was brought on by years as a market trader for my family’s business. I became part of a new digital music start up company which allowed me to be involved in music projects and come up with creative ideas on a daily basis. Two years on and I am now COO for the company and have since started a new music business alongside this with a great passionate team.

Onesie Warehouse and the music management both came to fruition at the same time. I really do consider myself lucky that I have a business with low costs that is growing and at the same time building a successful career in the music industry – two completely different businesses that provides an equal amount of passion. I will continue to grow Onesie Warehouse and hopefully pass the business to either family or other passionate people who believe in the brand and its partnerships. I would love to continue to run both businesses, however managing my time between the two can prove difficult at times.

Finally, I feel I must use my selling skills to plug the Business Mentoring on offer from Kent Foundation. My Mentor Jo, has not only been a great guide but she has offered fantastic support, which when times have got stressful has made me feel at ease to create strategies and take a new approach to combating problems that have arisen in the business.

Business Tip:

Its hard for me to give just one business tip so here is a few for those early on in their business.

“Keep moving forward, think of new ways to grow everyday and start that plan as soon as possible. Don’t sit on things or procrastinate.”

“Partnering with those more experienced or those that can help you grow is important.”

“Finally give back where you can because you can.”

Get In Touch with Onesie Warehouse:

Website          Facebook        Twitter

Kent Social Media – Star Business of the Month – April 2015

Kent Social Media – What’s it all about?Kent Social Media

Kent Social Media is the small and local business set up to help to grow other small and local businesses. Kent Social Media is a full service strategic marketing agency with one clear aim:

“To deliver targeted results across several key areas; web design, app creation, social media marketing, SEO, email marketing, content marketing, digital marketing and publishing niche content.”

This combination has helped many of our clients to interact and engage with their customers on a much higher level.

We offer a personal, passionate & tailored service to each and every one of our clients, large or small.

Our team aim to define a digital strategy focusing on driving your businesses key commercial goals. Raising your profile, increasing efficiency, boosting revenue, reducing cost, training your staff or communicating better with your customers are only few business priorities that are important for all companies.

We provide local businesses with the support and expertise they need to avoid over spending with little return.

Meet Lucy Hall: The Brains Behind The Business

Lucy Hall Kent Social MediaHelping Small businesses is my passion! I come from a family of small businesses from Market Traders, antique dealers, to shop owners. I feel very lucky that I have always been brought up to know the value of business and running your own show! I’ve always been intrigued with entrepreneurs and the way they work and the reasons they do what they do. It’s not easy to run your own business and it’s very, very brave. Which is one of the reasons why I like to offer as much advice and encouragement as possible. It is one of the reasons why I started my business and the reason my own business has evolved just as the Internet has over the past few years.Lucy Hall Kent Social Media Theo Paphitis

By also running online projects – Such as – Pixiebo (online fashion boutique, Onesie Warehouse, Vintage and Upcycled which won the Theo Paphitis Small Business Sunday Award last November, Inside Maidstone etc – it has helped me to understand my own customers better and what they are looking to achieve. I have learnt so much over the last 12 years about sales and marketing – what to do, what not to do, who to listen to and not too. I want to teach start-ups and business owners everything I have learned so they can use these skills to rock their business online and be in control of their own customer’s online experience! Next I will be starting DIY Digital which is an online course website to help and teach small businesses to use the various digital mediums available to them.

Business Tip:

“Remember to be brave and don’t hold back. Strategy is important but so is impulse…If you see a Bandwagon it’s too late!”

Get in Touch with Lucy Hall – Kent Social Media

@LucysHall     @KentSocialMedia   Website    Facebook    LinkedIn

This Art of Mine – Star Business of the Month – February 2015

This Art of Mine, arts and crafts studio Maidstone KentAt This Art of Mine we help people to enjoy their leisure time through our program of art workshops and short courses. We deliver high quality courses that encourage people to try things they may never have tried before such as glass fusing, ceramic painting, jewellery making and painting.

We also run art workshops as corporate team building events and host several birthday or hen parties each weekend at our creative studio near Maidstone. Our studio is based in a converted barn on a flower farm and seats up to 60 people.

This Art of Mine Gemma BlackerMeet Gemma:

I started This Art of Mines in 2010 when I was 24 and it has grown steadily over the last five years. Last year we launched our own range of craft kits that are sold in independent retailers and online.

I started the business because after I left university I went down the traditional route of getting a graduate job in a corporate world and after a while I realized this was not for me. I really wanted to work for myself and my hobby was art so I thought I would take the plunge and set up my own company teaching art workshops.

This Art of Mine, arts and craft studio, Maidstone KentThe biggest achievements we have had as a company has been to turn a profit. I know it sounds silly but after paying off our set up costs we turned a profit in our fourth year of trading which was a great achievement.

Being featured in the Guardian was an exciting time plus we have had the opportunity to work alongside big corporations such as the BBC, Kimberley Clark and Mylan Pharmaceuticals which have made the job really fun.

The aim over the next five years is to become the best art course provider in Kent. To do this we will need to hire more staff and tutors and possibly relocate our offices. Currently one of our biggest challenges is running a business in a rural location. The scenery is beautiful and it’s a lovely place to work but the poor internet connection and phone signal are very difficult to deal with, making progress slow and frustrating.

Business Tip:

“My advice would be that you can work for yourself and earn a decent living as long as you are doing something you are really passionate about. If the product does not get you excited then it is not going to work, find something you really love and get behind it.”

Ten & Bourne – Star Business of the Month – January 2015

Ten and Bourne Digital Creative Agency“We’re a small digital creative agency who use creative and strategic thinking to help our clients create engaging experiences throughout their online marketing and web platforms.”

Ten & Bourne was founded in 2013 with a vision of a highly flexible agency that creates teams around clients in order to deliver the best possible web solutions.

Chris Mead & Anthony Bliss, both from Sittingbourne have been working together on various projects together for the last 5 years after meeting whilst working at a fast growing web agency in Maidstone and were both educated at the former Maidstone, Kent Institute of Art & Design or UCA in specialisms across Interactive Design. Each wanted to create a business for themselves since leaving full time education but knew that to maximise their chances they would benefit from real industry experience.

anthony-blissAfter leaving our full time positions we managed to secure investment for our first company together and take part in a 13 week intensive business accelerator program. The idea for the business was not strong enough to survive but still gave us an important experience and insight into the work and effort involved in starting something for ourselves. We knew from that point to play to our strengths in creative design, digital marketing and digital products as a core part of our company DNA. We have big plans to grow from being a service company to developing our own web products that will see us grow significantly as a company.

The last year has seen us provide web based solutions for some really successful UK and Global brands as more businesses begin to understand how important the internet is to their survival.

chris-meadWe have been busy enough to establish an office in Sweden with a team that reflects our values and supported us by creating new opportunities with a range of Swedish clients. As far as trade routes go, as a business we live online, we can operate from anywhere and work with clients around the world, we have clients in America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Our biggest barrier we have faced is being able to keep moving forward fast enough to serve our clients whilst dealing with a huge surge in new business, being able to stay in contact with existing clients and keep projects on track. We have grown increasingly towards full capacity which has been a struggle but fortunately we have been able to meet the demand and keep our customers happy.

We have just celebrated our first year in business and this coming year we are looking to expand our team in the UK, move to a new office and launch our new web services division, Brave Little Tank™. This will form the new brand of our agency as we begin to invest in developing our own web platforms.

We are planning to launch a crowdfunding project in the new year to help us fund the first year of a creative office space in a local town that will allow us to bring in young people for work experience and provide a placement for internships to the local area.

We’ve Re-Branded – Brave Little Tank

Ten & Bourne have rebranded to Brave Little Tank. A digital marketing agency specialising in marking digital efforts more effective. Identifying & reducing the obstacles in design and user experience often overlooked by others, improving online sales and conversions.

Brave Little Tank digital strategy and marketing

Our top tip is:

“Remember to stay as best informed as possible, but trust your instincts. This isn’t us saying make rash decisions, simply don’t compromise your own judgement without having a good reason, and learn to tell the difference between feeling out of your comfort zone and having a bad feeling about a decision.”

“You are the ones in control of your business and that is double edged sword at best.”

Get In Touch With Ten and Bourne:

Website     Facebook     Twitter    LinkedIn

Corralex Media – Star Business of the Month – December 2014


Corralex MediaOur awesome and energetic film making office films real people and their stories – we produce community and human centred documentaries.

Corralex Media launched in 2012 as an agency producing small corporate videos. Although corporate videos are still an important aspect of our work we have a tremendous interest in people. To reflect this we specialise in building relationships with both individuals and communities.

Corralex Media has really enjoyed working with one individual with Asperger’s (a form of Autism) who agreed to take part in a documentary series titled ‘See What I See’. On the community side we produced a really cool show ‘Brilliant Britain – Kent’ which aired for 30 minutes on Sky and SkyHD breaking viewing records for the series.

YouTube is one of our favourite places to hang out. Our channel features our portfolio and a range of video-blogs. They are well received by our audience which is quickly growing in views and subscriptions.

The History of Corralex Media

Bogdan Brilliant Britain

Hey, I’m Bogdan and I run Corralex Media. I’ve always loved making films, when I turned 16 it hit me that I could turn my hobby into a career. This realisation was somewhat a coincidence after spending time working in the world of advertising and freelancing as a PA within various agencies as well as on set as part of the cast in the production of a sitcom. It was here my appetite for business started to grow.

I decided to do something about it so I moved to Kent to study Film, Radio and Television production. During my studies was where I fell in love with producing documentaries, the investigative nature and the fact that they tell real stories was of particular interest to me.

Corralex Media was launched straight after university and this lead to my first piece of work producing a corporate video for sports recruiting company Get Pro. Like every other just-starting artist I’ve secured part time jobs, which fortunately are all film and media related: video content producer for University of Kent and A-Level Media Studies teacher in a boarding school. I use all of my free time to focus on Corralex Media building a sustainable future for the business.

Where Next…

At the start of 2013 the lovely Kent Foundation for young Entrepreneurs, accepted me into their Business Mentoring programme and I was introduced to my Mentor, the MD of Kempt. For the following year I experimented with film and media related platforms: social media, short films and most importantly YouTube.

I started to see how YouTube generates income, and now the Corralex Media channel is a big asset – it features all of our productions and our clients find it an extremely useful tool when they need to look at our work. Our series of video blogs on Autism called ‘See What I See’ has gathered an audience already just through social media promotion.

Corralex Media Directing and ProducingBy late 2013, I partnered with fellow film fanatic and University friend, Lydia Maddix, co-producing & co-presenting the season 3 episode for Brilliant Britain – Kent. This was a promised TV credit for Corralex Media. It was a learning curve: We encountered issues we never thought we would; we made so many phone calls that Vodafone called us to offer an unlimited plan and we did a major amount of research. It wasn’t until the very last week the Brilliant Britain crew was really tested. We were facing a fairly big re-edit and additional content be shot. The hard work paid off and after some patience, I received an email from the series producer letting me know that the final edit will be airing in two weeks’ time…win!

The episode was a complete success and set a record of over 100,000 views. This lead to the channel commending our episode and producing a case study on it. Once the word had spread about this major win for Corralex Media, I found myself on air on a local radio show to tell the story.

Since the success of these projects I have started to be taken more seriously at networking events and have been short listed for a number of projects. These projects include Margate’s Dreamland Heritage film and direct commissions for TED Talks events in London.

Generating Leads

Corralex Media is pushing for factual TV commissions. With still a long way to go, I asked for a little more guidance from Kent Foundation and my Business Mentor on networking. I have since made headway and met with BAFTA winning producers, studio chairmen and talent agencies all of whom have offered me an amazing insight into the world of TV productions. I’m focusing most of my time in building my networks, making contact with producers from London and learning how to pitch, package and develop interesting ideas to suit online and TV slots.

We’re hopeful that if things go well, in a couple of years’ time Corralex Media will be able to expand towards journalistic research and Social Media services.

Reflecting on my experiences so far I can give myself and you this advice:

“Be patient, offer every lead an equal importance and never trash an idea 

– sooner or later it will have a use.”

Get In Touch With Corralex Media:

Website     YouTube     Facebook     Twitter