WHEN single mum Stephanie Kilshaw was made redundant last December the search for a new job became almost impossible – so after four months of unemployment she decided it was time to take a new approach.
And that’s when she took the decision to start up her own business – as a plasterer.
“I had always worked in an office environment within Human Resources” said 34-year-old Stephanie, “but when I was made unemployed and couldn’t find a new job I decided to turn my hand to plastering and set up my business The Pink Plasterer.
“I love plastering and have plastered for friends and family in the past, so I decided to give it a go. I went along to the DIY School in Stockport which supports women doing careers like; plastering, tiling and decorating and I gained the qualifications I needed to run alongside my experience.”
Then Stephanie came along to Train 2000 where she received free help and advice under the business start-up programme, which included one-to-one support in putting her business plan together and the opportunity to attend a series of one day workshops.
“I honestly could not have done this without Train 2000” said Stephanie, who is from West Derby, “It felt very daunting going into a male dominated area as a plaster and I didn’t know if I was doing the right thing. But the staff at Train 2000, were so encouraging and made me believe in myself and that I could make it work.
“I had never done a business plan before and the help I got was just brilliant. I have been on a couple of courses including the tax and national insurances ones and they have made me feel so much more confident about the financial side of running my business. Train 2000 was fantastic and I would certainly recommend it to other women.”
And, since starting up the business Stephanie has literally been inundated with work and is currently working a six-day week to keep up with demand. She has even taken on a labourer and plans to increase her workforce over the forthcoming months.
She said: “The fact that I am a woman is really working in my favour. A lot of my customers are the over 60’s who say they feel happier having a woman in the house and they think I will be tidier than a man! A lot of builders are also using me to do their plastering because they believe women are more meticulous.”
Stephanie says that when she first started up the business a lot of her friends were amused by the fact that she was a female plasterer and that men in particular would joke about her line of work – but she says that once they had seen her plastering they joked no more!
Stephanie, who is mum to her four-year-old daughter Meg, added: “I absolutely love what I do, being self-employed is great and I can’t ever see myself working for anyone else again. And, being a mum, it means that I can manage my work around my little girl.”
Over the next three years Stephanie has plans to develop a Merseyside-wide women’s DIY service and is looking to take on women in other areas such as painting and decorating, tiling and much more.
“I really think there is a call for this kind of service” said Stephanie, “I have seen how popular my plastering work is and the response I get to adverts because I say I am a female plasterer is astounding. I definitely plan to build the business up further – and although it was hard at the time, I’m now glad I was made redundant otherwise I may never have had the chance to do what I’m doing now. Every day I look forward to going to work and I really love what I do.”
If you would like to speak to Stephanie or to get a quote for some plastering work please call her on 07861 702 463 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
And, if you’re a woman from the Merseyside or Greater Manchester area and are interested in starting up your own business please call Train 2000 on 0151 236 6601 or visit www.train2000.org.uk