Essex never fails to amaze me with its support of the amazing variety of businesses based here. Admittedly, I started my first business shortly after moving here 14 years back, but it has always felt like a creative, supportive and entrepreneurial part of the UK – maybe that’s why I love it so much!

My studio is in Ardleigh, which is part of Tendring, and Tendring District Council ran the Tendring Business Fortnight for the first time in October this year. With events spread over the whole two weeks, for businesses big and small, it was a brilliant way to see the diversity of entrepreneurs and opportunities in the district.

Women in Business keynote talk

I was asked to be a keynote speaker for their Women in Business event, and talk about my own entrepreneurial journey, my connection to Tendring, and my multipod ways. You can watch it on YouTube – my talk starts at 43:34ish but the whole event is worth a watch!

Creating the talk was a more emotional experience than I expected – you can see the slides below (or view them directly on Canva if tech is not behaving). I think it’s probably common to most business owners, but especially women, that we’re so busy doing our thing that we forget to look back and really acknowledge how much we have achieved.

And I loved being able to indulge my love of dramatic clothes and wear my suitably seasonal potions dress with my new blue cowboy boots!

The roadmap section of my talk, while only picking up on certain relevant things, really opened my own eyes to how much I do – and has been a useful reminder to be less hard on myself.

Multipoddery for Tendring 2022 – Carla Watkins by Carla Watkins

The other speakers were the very excellent Leah Holroyd of White Bicycle Ltd, Linda Blanchette of Consciously Clothed and Diane Boyd of Your Living Room CIC, Councillor Mary Newton from Tendring District Council and Eve Calderbank from Ambitious Women in Essex. A line up I was very proud to be part of!

My lovely best friend Louise, founder of of Wonder & Wren and Louise Rose Couture, came to support me (and make sure I got there on time as it kicked off at 8am and I am a proper night owl!), and we got to sneak to the beach together afterwards too!

It was a fantastic event and all the speakers, despite not having compared notes beforehand, touched on similar issues – proving that no matter what your business is, you’re never alone in whatever you’re experiencing in it. And having support from people on the same path is incredibly valuable.

Tendring Business Awards

At the end of the fortnight were the business awards – and I jumped at the chance to attend the awards dinner, as a few people I know had been shortlisted and I’m always up for meeting more local magical business weirdos!

Quick phone snap of all the winners!

Initially slightly nervous as I’d chosen to go on my own rather than bring a plus one, on the basis I’d talk to more people that way, I soon realised it was going to be a happy evening of chatting to new and old contacts alike.

Spotting myself in action from the Women in Business event, and also one of my lovely clients Linda using her photo in the awards listings, was definitely a highlight!

It was a brilliant night, and a brilliant fortnight, and I was so proud to be part of it – looking forward to next year already!

Want to stay in touch? Hop on the mailing list and get shots of business magic to your inbox every month or so!