Catherine Labbett from Ilkley has spotted a gap in the market with her alternative approach to female networking - Girl Tribe Gang.
The 37-year-old mum is now looking to use her knowledge and experience to grow her fledgling company across the nation.
The company, known as Girl Tribe Gang, is a members only collective for women who work for themselves or aspire to do so.
Catherine launched the business in May this year on an initial investment of £200. Three months later and she is rolling it out in Skipton, Leeds, Manchester, and East London.
She has recruited women who bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to head these up – Lisa Steane, an ex head buyer for a global brand, Sofie Hepworth, an ex investment banker, and Sarah Colbon, an ex PR expert, – all of whom have had children in the last 2 years and quit the corporate world to set up their own business.
Catherine said: “There is a whole generation of women who are taking risks and following their dreams and we are a hidden workforce.
“We are a workforce that connects predominantly on social media, but we need more ‘real life’ connection and to be connecting with the right people - the people who really understand what it feels like to be a girl boss.
“The reality is that the people who understand us most, are other girl bosses, who are feeling and experiencing the same thing."
Catherine completed her degree in psychology back in 2005 and dreamed of becoming a psychotherapist. But she had recently become a single mother and couldn't commit to the required further study.
She took on a job as a strategist for the NHS and had a successful 10 year career, but eventually began to have doubts that she missed out on her dream.
She remembers feeling like “the universe was literally banging on the door to my soul and begging me to follow my passion and my dreams.”
So she decided to go back and commit to furthering her studies while working full time and by October 2015 she'd launched Bringing Sparkle Back, a ladies-only psychotherapy practice.
Catherine continued to grow her practice while maintaining her job in the NHS, but her 5 year plan was to quit and work for herself.
She quit less than two years later.
“When you launch your own business there is no ‘team’ behind you, no ‘sounding board’, no-one to share your successes or your challenges with and no Christmas party! Feeling you are part of something is a big part of reducing that feeling of isolation and contributes hugely to your overall sense of wellbeing.”
Through her work she met women who, despite having successful businesses, were lacking in confidence and knowledge in where to go next and how to get there.
This is where the idea for Girl Tribe Gang was born. Catherine wanted to create a space where women could build each other up, feel connected, collaborate, be encouraged and empowered.
There are plans to create 20 locations across the UK throughout 2017 and early 2018 through local Tribe Bosses in each location.
She continued: “The vast majority of women who have joined are women who have quit successful careers, many of whom were at the top of their game, but when it came to flexible working what was offered to them was only a slight adjustment on the traditional 9-5.
“A lot of these women not only created and gave birth to a tiny human being but in those early weeks and months of motherhood also set about finding work that works for them and their family which inevitably meant setting up their own business.”
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