Every Monday we feature a mumpreneur who’s ready and willing to open up their lives and their business to us.
They share with us their motivation, their challenges and their proudest moments in business and they also tell us how they take time to nurture themselves.
If you’re looking for inspiration then our featured business mums show you what’s possible.
I’m delighted to introduce this week’s featured Mumpreneur, I know you’re going to love her story. It was obvious from the start that she’s a natural entrepreneur and I love the way she worked her way up in business before starting her very own ~ I just know you’re going to be inspired.
Your Name: Caroline Salt
Your website: www.carolinesalt.co.uk
Recruitment website which informs people about who I am, what I do, who I work with and what my clients say about me! It also offers CV/interview advice for candidates.
Tell me about your children:
Jack is 8. He has an amazing sense of humour and makes me smile every day.
Where do you live? Gillow Heath, Staffordshire, UK
PC or Mac? Mac
Tell us about your business:
It’s a Retail Recruitment business. Recruiting within all the sectors of retail and at all levels, for example: Administration, Buying, Contact Centre, Design & Technology, Distribution, E-commerce, Finance, HR (HR, L&D, Recruitment, Benefits and Payroll) IT, Marketing, Merchandising/Visual Merchandising, Property, Retail Operations (Assistant/Store Manager, Area/Regional Manager, Retail Director)
What motivated you to become a mumpreneur?
I’d always wanted to have my own business from an early age but doing what, I wasn’t sure! I fell into retail working for Woolworths, part time during my A levels. I remember a local hardware shop being put up for sale in the village I lived in. I wanted to buy it, extend the storage space into a mini garden centre and live in the flat above. I went to Barclays to ask for a loan but they just laughed at me.
Now I should mention at this point that when I was doing my A levels, I had a boyfriend called Jamie. We were together for 2 years but split up shortly after he went to university.
I continued to work for Woolworths for 5 years and then for Makro for 3 years. One day I got a call from a recruitment agency asking me if I’d like a job at Focus DIY and that I had to go into their offices for an interview. They contacted me after the interview asking if I’d like a job in recruitment instead and after a lot of deliberation, I took them up on their offer.
I worked for them and then for another agency before going in-house at the Caudwell Group, where I headed up a brand new retail recruitment team for Phones 4u. The business was rapidly expanding and between March 2001 and December 2002, the business opened 243 stores.
Now I should mention at this point in the story that I received an “out of the blue” email via Friends Reunited. Yes you’ve guessed it…Jamie. He told me after university he’d worked in a contact centre, done a couple of other jobs and then set up a recruitment business called 80-20, based on Pareto’s Law.
One of my last assignments with the Caudwell Group was to recruit a new HR Director. I interviewed a number of people for the role and then I had another “out of the blue” moment. I received a call from one of them asking if I’d consider recruiting for them, within their current business. This of course meant leaving the Caudwell Group and joining another business, or did it? Maybe this was the opportunity I had been waiting for all these years.
I resigned from my position, the downside I had a 6 months notice period to work, the upside it gave me 6 months to get my head around being self-employed!
So although I can’t take the credit for initially starting the recruitment business, I’ve successfully been running it for the last 10 years.
What’s been your biggest challenge in business?
Finding new retail clients in such a diminishing industry.
How have you overcome it?
I’ve stayed as focused as possible (even in the darkest hours). I make sure that I keep talking to people, networking and marketing and I do at least one positive thing everyday.
What’s been your proudest business moment?
I was contacted by the Retail Director of Tchibo in May 2004, when I was 8 months pregnant. I’d worked with him at Phones4u and he wanted to know if I’d able to help him with a “bit” of recruitment. He knew I was expecting a child and thought it might help me financially. He said he couldn’t promise anything and didn’t know when he would need me but just wanted to know if it would be something I would be prepared to do, of course I said yes.
Well to sum up this “bit” of recruitment, I had a couple of interviews scheduled on Sunday 20th June 2004, in the early hours of the following morning I gave birth to Jack, Jamie brought the laptop into the hospital on the Tuesday, much to the astonishment of the other women on the ward, I left hospital on the Friday and was back interviewing on the Monday!
In fact in the first year of Jack’s life, I recruited 79 managers into the Tchibo business.
I would sit in-front of him in his bouncy chair, surrounded by CVs, with my headphones in, talking to candidates but he thought I was talking to him!
I was also breast feeding, so 2 days a week I drove up to my mums and my mum-in-laws (they are both an hours drive away), the job I do means as long as I have a laptop and a phone, I can work from anywhere. They would look after him and then when he needed feeding, I stopped work, fed him and then carried on working.
Crazy, hectic times and when I look back I wonder how I ever managed it all but I did what I did at the time because I was determined to make the business work and I wanted to make money.
On the back of all the recruitment I did for Tchibo, I was the only external supplier to be invited to their Company Conference and my seat was on the top table with the board of German/English Directors.
What’s your catchphrase or favourite quote?
You only live once but if you do it right, once is enough.
What do you do to relax or nurture yourself?
I do 2 fitness classes a week and I’ve recently taken up playing netball after 30 years!!!
I also enjoy a decent glass of Shiraz.
What was the last treat you bought for yourself?
I treated myself to a back massage and a pedicure
Favourite colour: Blue
Favourite flowers: Fuchsia, Tulips, Gerbera and Sweet Peas
What one piece of advice would you like to give to a new mumpreneur?
Work hard, always be honest and upfront and ultimately if you’re determined to succeed, you will.
And in the darkest moments, stay positive and believe in yourself.
Fancy featuring as one of our amazing mumpreneurs? Drop me an email over on the contact page - and I’ll be in touch. Or let me know in a comment below.