Sarah Shakespeare owns Saloukee, designing and making statement jewellery. Relatively new to business, she also recently moved to rural Shropshire from London. Sarah recently attended a WiRE business growth course and this helped her to decide to take on her first employee. She has subsequently won her first order from a large American department store.
We asked Sarah where the name of her company, Saloukee, came from. “Saloukee is made up from my maiden name ‘Sarah LOUise Kelly.’ I came up with it at the very start of my business, as I wanted it to represent me as a designer but also allow for my dreams of having a brand someday.”
Back in 2015 Sarah moved to rural Shropshire from London, where she had initially set up her jewellery business “I was a newbie to Shropshire and rural living back in July 2015. I quickly realised that running a business in a rural area is very different to a city – being so far away from the customers for a start. Challenging myself and my business in a new part of the world felt like the wisest and bravest thing to do to survive.
Sarah found out about Women in Rural Enterprise from a friend and decided to attend some social media workshops and join a network group so as to get to know some people and overcome the isolation of running a small business in a rural area. Parts of rural Shropshire are very quiet and remote, and one can go for days without meeting another person, certainly not another businesswoman.
WiRE offered the opportunity to meet with other businesses every month and also to attend workshops in internet technologies, such as how to optimise a website or use social media to boost sales.
Sarah commented, “I got a vast amount of current information and knowledge at the workshops and I asked questions that I have been pondering for far too long. It’s all very well searching the internet for all the answers, but to be in a room with other business women to mull over issues and get second opinions, combined with having a real expert running the workshop – that was really powerful.
“It is great to work with the light switched on, rather than in the dark the whole time!”