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Women entrepreneurs: Meet the stay-at-home millionaires

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 - Women entrepreneurs: Meet the stay-at-home millionaires

Whilst shoulder-pad clad women spent the nineties smashing their way through the glass ceiling, Kate Newman discovers that a quiet revolution by female entrepreneurs was taking place at home.
Instead of battling it out in the boardroom, today’s successful business women were raising their children while quietly cooking up  ideas for the companies they would one day run.

Recent figures published by Tulip Financial Research show that the number of female multi-millionaires has risen by 40 per cent in the last five years. Although some of this is due to the rise in large divorce settlements and inheritances, there is no doubt that women entrepreneurs are thriving in the world of business.

Although many have found success in areas such as finance, recruitment and PR, an increasing number are running successful companies specialising in what we might think of as more domestic areas - baby food, children’s clothing and beauty services. These are companies run for women, by women. And they make millions with it.

Laura Tenison, Veuve Clicquot’s Business Woman of the Year 2010 and CEO of mother and baby shop JoJo Mamam Bebe was inspired to start her business when she met a young mum during a stay in hospital.

‘She was bedridden and was looking for a way to buy clothes for her baby and couldn’t find anything suitable. I spotted a gap in the mail order market,’ says Tenison.
JoJo Mamam Bebe was started at home, whilst Laura looked after three young children. Seventeen years later it has a staff of more than 300 and a turnover of 20 million pounds.

Well-known children’s cookery writer Annabel Karmel’s successful business came from running a children’s playgroup, where her food was so popular with the children that other mothers urged her to write a book.

And Sarah Tremellen, the founder of mail order lingerie business Bravissimo, started her business in her sitting room during her maternity leave, having found it impossible to find comfortable, stylish lingerie for her expanding body. Sarah now has around 35 employees and expects to turn over in the region of seven million pounds this year.

Kate Newman


Women in Focus Editor
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