Daniel Atkinson Photography – Interior & Architectural Photography Specialist Making Businesses Stand Out
Daniel Atkinson is a commercial photographer offering professional photography and video marketing services to the property and hospitality markets. His clients include property developers, estate agents, interior designers, furniture makers and architects looking for great visuals to showcase spaces, built up environments or to get their work noticed. Herts Review spoke to Daniel recently about his journey into interior and architectural photography as well as his aspirations.
Daniel’s visuals are amazing. From the images on his website to his social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram) and other online properties, it is clear that if you want great visuals to stage a property, drive traffic to your website or social media platforms or highlight the value in a high-end property or product then Daniel is your man.
“I had always had a passion for photography mainly as a hobby. In my 20s, I travelled quite a bit and took a lot of pictures for myself and for travel blogs. I started off my career in Corporate Communications. This was at the early stage of internet, so a lot of things were fairly new and there were a lot of opportunities at the time. I did web design projects, SEO and was involved in video marketing projects”.
“In 2014, I took a career break as I was re-evaluating what I wanted to do. My daughter was very young at the time and my wife had just got a promotion. I was assisting a friend, a photographer, on a shoot at the Gherkin in Central London. My friend specialised in architectural photography and I remember being intrigued about the whole process and thinking to myself that I would like to do this. I have always liked different aspects of photography and video side of things, so I decided to move into the specialist niche of interior and architectural photography”.
Starting up was not easy. “the photography space is extremely competitive, and it takes a while for clients to see the value you bring. It is a case of working extremely hard at the early phase of your career for little financial reward to build up a strong portfolio and get your work noticed. I started off working for charities and museums with limited budgets. I did free video shoots to get noticed. Through these opportunities and interaction with clients you get a better understanding of what appeals to clients and how you can go about giving them value”.
Daniel Atkinson Photography was formally launched in September 2017. Daniel’s portfolio has continued to grow with an established client base in the property, interior design, and hospitality sectors. “I have done a lot of work with property developers that want great visuals to market their properties. I have also worked on visuals for high end properties to drive sales. I have worked on hotels, short-let apartments, new builds, restaurants, museums, holiday cottages, luxury homes and much more”.
“It has been quite a journey getting to this point where I am established and have a decent client base. It has taken a lot of effort. In hindsight, if I had to start all over, I would have had a clearer idea of what I want to achieve and focus on reaching the right clients. Networking has to be targeted and going to every networking event is not the answer. This niche is more specialised”.
Thankfully the business has not been adversely impacted by the covid-19 pandemic. “Following the lockdown in March it was literally dead for the first 6 weeks. When the property market resumed operations, it picked up and it has been okay ever since. We are still doing photos shoots. Of course, we are working in a safe way and following the government social distancing guidelines”.
“Some of my clients in the hospitality sector have been hit by the lockdown and their businesses have suffered. Other clients are doing well due to the lockdown as demand for their services has gone up. So, it has been a balancing act. Keeping in touch with my clients going through challenging times and working with them to plan for the future and then doing projects for my clients that have not been impacted negatively by the lockdown”.
Daniel differentiates himself by offering a personalised service for each client. “You can take photos of a space in all manner of different ways. With me it is about that relationship and providing the highest quality of service. With national photo agencies, you do not get that relationship as you could be working with different people. In our case, you know what to expect and what you are getting from start to finish which helps with the project”.
“Going forward, I am looking to grow the range of services I offer to my clients. There is a lot more that can be done within the property space. I will be building on what we have now to grow the business and make it more resilient. I am also looking at more collaborations on various projects”.
“For young people interested in a career in photography, my honest advice is that it can be tricky, and you will not grow overnight. It is a saturated and competitive market. To get clients, you have to demonstrate value to them and understand what it takes to deliver the goods. It might be wise to start with one of the national agencies for little pay to develop your craft. With dedication and hard work, you can succeed overtime”.
If you are looking for professional visuals to enhance your business contact Daniel here.
ProLongevity is a wellness programme that promotes good health that does involve medication or diets. The programme creates a personal plan for you to lose weight, lower your blood pressure and reverse type-2 diabetes and pre-diabetes. This 8-week process does not involve drugs, diets or calorie counting. The founder of ProLongevity, Graham Phillips discussed the wellness programme with Herts Review and his aspiration to create more awareness on how we can have better, enriched and healthier lives.
If you are overweight or have high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, or diabetes then the ProLongevity programme can help you. It is a personalised service that measures your blood-sugar levels then designs a nutrition and lifestyle plan suited to your unique biology to lower your sugar levels and make you healthier in just 8 weeks. No pills are involved and if you are already taking pills the programme is designed to get you off pills.
The stats do not make good reading. According to the Medical Research Council (MRC), more than 3.9 million people live with diabetes in the UK. Around 700 people are diagnosed with diabetes every day. Since 1996, the number of people with diabetes in the UK has more than doubled from 1.4 million to 3.3 million. The British Heart Foundation (BHF) estimates that 4 million people are living with unrelated high blood pressure. In the UK, 31% of adults are clinically obese and 63% of adults are overweight or obese according to Health Survey for England (HSE).
“Based on the data, the outlook is not great. It shows that people are getting fatter and sicker. There are more heart attacks, more cardiovascular diseases, and more diabetics. Unfortunately, the NHS has spent its massive budget throwing pills at the problem which has not worked. More people are taking more pills today than ever in the history of mankind. There is little investment in preventive healthcare even though it is clear that conventional medicine is not working”.
“A lot of these problems are a result of poor diet based on processed foods instead of real food. In addition there is a lack of education on sleep, exercise, and proper nutrition. There are lots of programmes promoting diet plans, calorie counting and asking people to deprive themselves of food. These are not based on fact and do not work in the long run as they are unsustainable. If you look back 120 years ago, we did not have these problems. Our message in ProLongevity is simple. Each person has a unique body type so there is no one solution fits all model. However, each person can have a plan based on good nutrition, sleep, and exercise to largely prevent these problems.
ProLongevity was launched 3 years ago by Graham. Graham is an award-winning Pharmacist that has been in practice for over 35 years. “I come from a family of Pharmacists. My father was a Pharmacist, and my son is a Pharmacist as well. I have been a community pharmacist for a long time. Through the Manor Pharmacy Group, we have established several independent pharmacies within St Albans and Hertfordshire. We have won numerous awards and have been recognised locally and globally for excellence. As a fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, I have played a leadership role in the pharmacy profession for nearly 2 decades”.
“As community pharmacists our daily level of engagement with the local community is high. There are an estimated 1.6 million visitors to community pharmacies daily. For a while, I felt that medication was not giving patients the right relief. Instead of seeing improvement in patients they become more dependent on pills. Many of our treatments are based on symptoms. They don’t treat the problem instead they mask the symptoms. We can see this with blood pressure and diabetic treatments. This led me into further research into the root causes of the problem”.
“It turns out good health is 80% lifestyle and 20% genetics. If you switch to a better lifestyle you can have a longer, active, and healthier life. This is easier said than done. Therefore, ProLongevity is a solution offering a personalised lifestyle approach to help prevent so many lifestyle-related diseases. For instance, if you know what increases your sugar level then you can avoid it thereby making better choices”.
With the ProLongevity Service, a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is attached to your arm. It does not go into the blood just the fluid around the cells. CGM is easy to apply. Each sensor lasts for 2 weeks and it communicates with an app on your smartphone that sends information to a server. The information can always be assessed which enables you take control of your health. The data from the CGM is used to analyse what causes a spike in blood-sugar. As everyone is different there are individual plans for each person. There have been lots of success stories from patients and people in the medical profession.
This does feel like Graham betraying the healthcare profession he has been in all his life and contributed so much to? “Perhaps, but now I have discovered the truth I can’t be quiet about it. My biggest regret is that I did not know this 30 years ago. The NHS funding a pill for each illness is largely unsustainable. The annual NHS budget is £140 billion while Public Health is £4 billion, and more people are worse off with their health. We are living longer statistically but it is not an active and healthy life. That is why most of our elderly are in care homes”.
“Our solution will save the health service billions of ££s. We know big pharma and the food industry with their vested interests will be unhappy with this as they would lose out. We need a complete review of our medical training programmes as conventional medicine as practiced today is not working. Of course, big pharma trains the doctors while the global food companies train the dieticians so there is a lot of work to be done to reverse this process”.
“We are not alone. 1% of health professionals agree with our message and have adopted similar methods to patient treatment. In addition, the Public Health Collaboration is promoting a real food lifestyle campaign which advices real foods to eat and fake foods to avoid. I urge everyone to visit their website. I have been speaking with General Practitioners (GP), General Medical Council (GMC) and various medical bodies. There are other international affiliations as well. It is important we get this message out there. Everyone in this country should know this”.
“At ProLongevity, we are just a small team with a small group of people. This message needs to be national and international. We are adopting various online and offline platforms to increase our footprint. I encourage people to visit our website and follow us on Facebook. Share our content across your various social media profiles. We recently received a government grant to scale using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Apps. This should complement what we are currently doing”.
If you are pre-diabetic, have type-2 diabetes, blood pressure problems or other related problems contact the ProLongevity team here. Also visit the Public Health Collaboration website here for nutritional advice.
Paramount Wines Ltd is a Hertfordshire based wine merchant supplying wines and beers to hotels, pubs, restaurants, and clubs. The company also operates an online wine store with home delivery services. With its storage facilities in Watford and a base in St Albans, Paramount Wines supplies products within a 10 to 15 mile radius free of charge. For bulk purchases outside this area a delivery charge will apply. Gordon Clunie, the founder of Paramount Wines Ltd, spoke to Herts Review about his business journey, aspirations and how he survived the lockdown this year.
Gordon has always had an interest in wine. In the early 2000s he was running a transport business with his business partner when he spotted an opportunity. “The idea to start a wine business had been on my mind for a while. I like wine and felt I could establish a successful business as a wine merchant. Around 2004, we were working for a customer who was in the wine trade (buying and selling wine). We started a friendship and he told us all about the wine business. In January 2005, we started a wine supply business with all three of us as partners”.
“Sadly, 18 months after, our new business partner passed away. So, my business partner and I carried on with the wine business while running the transport business as well. 8 years later we mutually agreed that I will buy him out of the wine business and leave the transport business. Since then I have been focused only on Paramount Wines and have completely left the transport business”.
In the first 3 to 4 years, the business had been growing gradually and it took a while to establish a solid customer base to be profitable. “Usually most hotels or pubs already have wine suppliers. It is not easy for them to give up their current supplier to try someone new. So, it takes time to establish these relationships. Fortunately, we got a breakthrough supplying wines to Hilton Hotel. This gave us a foot in the door and credibility with other customers. Other clients followed including Fulham Football Club and Charlton Athletic Football Club. With time, we had grown our customer base to 40 to 50 businesses we supplied regularly.
The business initially operated from Harrow in North London but as it grew additional storage facilities were needed. “I have lived in St Albans since 1984 so know the area really well. As the business got bigger, we needed more storage space and so finding the storage facility we now have in Watford has helped our growth. Operating from St Albans also means we serve more of the Hertfordshire market as well as London”.
Earlier this year with the news covid-19 was spreading and the government decision to announce the lockdown in March, it was obvious the business will be going through tough times. “The bulk of our supplies are to hotels, pubs, restaurants and clubs. If they are shut with no customers that will impact our supplies. I asked my son to put out a post that we can deliver wines to homes. At the time, the supermarket shelves were empty from the bulk buying scramble following the lockdown announcement. That post took off really well and sales went through the roof”.
“In the first week of lockdown, we had over 1000 deliveries. We picked up 530 customers in 2 weeks and we have retained 250 of those customers till date. The pubs and restaurants opened on July 4, but our orders have not slowed down. With less people going out, our home delivery business has grown as our customers see our prices as competitive. They can buy a bottle of wine that may cost £45 in a restaurant for £15 so they see a lot of value. It is also an opportunity to sell premium wine products to a wider market which helps with profits. We supply beers and spirits as well to complement our wine delivery service”.
“This success has given us an opportunity to invest more resources into marketing as well as increase our digital footprint to drive more sales. We upgraded our website making it more user friendly and appealing. We are involved in more Facebook groups and other social media platforms. My colleague Kate focuses on telesales and the corporate supply market”.
“We have also launched winesocial.co.uk in partnership with Karen Snook, the founder of Online Social and the facilitator of St Albans Mums Facebook group to tap into markets I do not have access to. The home delivery service has grown to 20% of our overall sales in the last 9 months and we want to keep it going. I hope winesocial becomes the bigger part of our business in the next 24 months”.
Gordon is also exploring other opportunities for more growth. “We are pairing our wine delivery service with local restaurants doing food deliveries. We have relationships with two restaurants and would like to increase our footprint. An online wine tasting program via zoom is in our plans. We will deliver wines to participants few days before the meeting and then arrange a day to do wine tasting. We will make it fun, educational and add a few nibbles as well. There is also the on-going wine maker dinners where we invite someone for example from South Africa where some of our wines are made to a 5-course meal to discuss wines”.
Slowing down is not an option for Gordon. “I really love what I do. Since I started this business 15 years ago, we have had to innovate and adapt to changes. We have had to embrace technology, the internet, and social media. I meet regularly with my customers, so I have a personal relationship with them. We talk about anything and even the stories behind some of our wines. The loyalty of our customers is refreshing. I am just excited about the next opportunity. We did not increase our prices arbitrarily over the lockdown which would have been unethical. I just want our business to be known as a trusted and fair business with exceptional customer service”.
If you are in or around St Albans and need quality and great tasting wine delivered to your home then contact Paramount Wines here or Winesocial here.
Amber Mountain Marketing Apprentice Programme – Giving Young People A Foot into the World of Business
Amber Mountain Marketing, a leading marketing and advertising company based in St Albans is at the forefront of giving young people an opportunity into the world of business. Through the Amber Mountain Digital Marketing Apprenticeship Scheme, young people or school leavers are given an opportunity to train in various aspects of digital marketing, acquire skills on the job and experience working with real life businesses. On completion of the programme, they get a digital marketing qualification worth £12,000. Herts Review had a chat with the founder of Amber Mountain Marketing, Emma Ellis on the apprenticeship programme, why it was set up and the goals of the programme in the coming years.
Emma is passionate about young people and feels they are getting a really bad rap. “There are limited job opportunities, for those in Universities they are saddled with a lot of debt and there is a lot of expectation as well. When I was that age, I had no idea what I wanted to do. The apprenticeship programme is an option for them if they don’t want to go down the traditional route of attending University or other forms of Higher Education. Through this process they acquire life skills which are needed in any business and with time they can find their niche and build a career for the future. Every business or organization needs marketing, so the skills are useful across the board”.
Amber Mountain’s Digital Apprenticeship Programme started in July 2019 and presently has six apprentices and one intern. “It is a case of killing two birds with one stone. In our industry, we come across a lot of local businesses that need marketing but do not have the budget. Through the apprenticeship scheme we offer these local businesses an outsourced marketing solution to suit their budget. They get a dedicated Marketing Manager focused on their business thereby getting the marketing support they need to grow and expand. It means both parties get what they want”.
The apprentices are trained in all aspects of digital marketing including Email Marketing, Web design & Development, Social Media Marketing, Blogs, Newsletters, SEO. They also get the opportunity to practice what they learn daily in a LIVE environment when they are placed with an Amber Mountain Marketing client. “The transformation is unbelievable. To see some of the apprentices start off with little skills and confidence and watch them learn, grow, and evolve in a short period of time is outstanding. I see them make presentations and talk confidently with clients advising them how they can improve their businesses. It is really an experience worth it. I am so proud of them”.
Initially, not all businesses welcomed working with apprentices. “There was some push back. We have spent time educating a lot of local businesses. Marketing is the fuel that drives businesses. These apprentices have grown up with digital devices, so they are comfortable and familiar with them. Once they are given instructions and direction, they pick up things quite quickly. I am glad we are overcoming the initial resistance by getting the buy in of clients. We hope to get more apprentices and sign on more clients in the coming years”.
Emma had an unusual journey into a career in Marketing. “I think this apprentice programme resonates with me because at that age I was not sure what to do. I didn’t really like the formal school setting and so going to University was not really an option for me. I took a job as a temp in a global company that markets medical devices. I remember seeing a presentation by one of the Marketing Managers to our clients. I enjoyed the presentation so much and I just knew that this is what I want to do”.
A Marketing Assistant position followed, and she worked her way up the ladder to Marketing Communications Manager. “After starting a family, it became clear I could not continue that role with all the travel and responsibilities while looking after young children. I had to think of a way of utilizing my skills and experience to help local businesses. I am really passionate about local businesses succeeding and that how Amber Mountain Marketing was born two and half years ago”.
Is the apprenticeship programme for anybody? “We have been on a journey figuring out the process over the last year. We are looking for the right people. The ones with an interest in a career in business. Through this opportunity they learn about various industries from experts. Usually before they join, we ask them to do a case study on a new potential client e.g. what they could do with the client’s website or how they can help the business succeed. Through this process we find candidates that we feel are the right fit”.
“We are pretty ambitious with this programme as it will make our marketing company the one-stop shop for everything marketing related. Presently, we have our areas of strengths and other areas we outsource or work with partners. Our goal is to have apprentices trained as experts in all aspects of marketing as part of our team. So, we are looking at training in Photography, Public Relations, Videography, Google AdWords etc. I am hoping we will have 30 apprentices on our books by 2022. This means adding 2 to 3 apprentices a month next year. It also means adding more clients to our customer base.
There have been several wins with the programme. One of the apprentices is now a Marketing Manager in Amber Mountain Marketing. Tia-Lily Girdlestone, another apprentice has just completed her qualification after 15 months with the programme. “When they have completed the programme, they can decide on their next course of action. They can work with us or take their skills into the marketplace”.
“I am so glad we have an opportunity to help young people and change the minds of business owners. I am hoping other companies will see what we are doing and take similar action. Now some of our clients are looking to take on apprentices in their business so I am happy to have influenced this. Within our community I am reaching out to the Education Board and Schools letting them know what we are doing. I am really positive and looking forward to welcoming the next batch of apprentices”.
For any questions on Amber Mountain’s Digital Marketing Apprentice Programme contact the team here.
Our beliefs shape our experiences. From childhood until we become adults, our minds are fed with negative messages which form the foundation of our wellbeing. For most of us, further down the road the actions and behaviour patterns we exhibit could be traced back to our foundation. This no doubt has fuelled the mental health crisis in our modern world. Papalona Ltd, has developed audio products to support good mental health for families. Saleema Davies, the founder of Papalona gave Herts Review an insight into its wellness program and their goals for the next few years.
We are in the middle of a national and global mental health crisis. From 2004 to 2014, the incidents of anxiety in children has gone up 48%. According to the Mental Health Foundation (MHF), mental health problems are one of the main causes of the overall disease burden worldwide. Problems like depression, anxiety and drug use have gone up and are reportedly causing disability to 20 to 29 years-olds globally. Depression alone is a major contributor to suicide and heart disease. The stats are not pretty and do not make good reading.
In the UK, with the NHS and Public Health budgets stretched and focused on reactive measures to mental health cases, Saleema and her team at Papalona have come up with innovative solutions that deal with the mental problem at the root through their wellness programme. A look at some of their online reviews shows how effective the programme has been and the impact it has made on children and families in a short period of time.
Saleema is a Clinical Hypnotherapist. Hypnotherapists are skilled and trained professionals that help people use their subconscious to change behavioural patterns or ways of thinking. “It is clear the mental health situation is not getting any better. Ours is an effective solution for dealing with mental health. Using simple positive affirmations that are relaxing and non-intrusive, we offer alternative therapy for mental health. We are helping deal with emotions that trigger anxiety, self-esteem, phobia, and anger issues. So many people have spent their whole life carrying all forms of baggage”.
Initially, Papalona was launched for children only. “Our focus was on children. It has been confirmed that 95% of issues we deal with when we become adults can be traced back to our childhood. Most parents do not know what to say or where to begin to combat negative messages their children may be receiving. Our view is that if we can start dealing with the issues at an early stage then we will have better and more confident adults. We realised during various tests of our products that parents also needed help and so we have opened it up to the entire family. We are supporting the entire family’s mental health in an easy and effective way”.
Papalona has designed packages to suit various needs or situations. “We have audio downloads and playlists in our online shop. Our audio recordings cover common issues children face like anxiety, body confidence, optimism, fear, making friends and many more. These recordings help re-balance negative messages to ones that support our wellbeing and helps us avoid these problems in the first place”.
“The downloads and playlists are suitable if you are dealing with a single issue. From our experience, some individuals may be dealing with multiple issues. That is why we created the membership programme taking a cue from Netflix. It means we give you access to what you need when you need it for a monthly fee. The membership package is divided into Core and Premium. Core membership focuses on the foundational attributes for good mental health e.g. confidence, optimism, resilience dealing with fear or uncertainty for the future. Premium membership includes all the recordings in the Core Membership plus anxiety, anger management, making friends, healthy eating etc.
Saleema’s journey to launching Papalona has been quite unusual. “I started life as a lawyer working in the city. From around 2000 to 2001, my interest in self-development was growing. I was always curious as to why people were different. One is extremely confident even if not knowledgeable and another isn’t. Around 2004, a friend invited me to a Hypnotherapy workshop that took place over a weekend which I thoroughly enjoyed. A 9-month course and other subsequent courses followed as I completed my training as a Hypnotherapist. I had a smoking habit which I was trying to give up. The NHS programmes were not effective but after one session with a Hypnotherapist I gave up”.
“Becoming a parent with a young family helped me reassess my career options. As a parent you are thrown into the deep end. There is no manual. You are never sure if you are getting it right. At that point I decided to focus on Hypnotherapy as it gave me an opportunity to help people which I really love. I have been a Clinical Hypnotherapist for over 14 years”.
“Meeting with various clients over the years made me realise that they focus on what they feel about themselves. Their happiness depends on what they believe. There are usually underlying issues. The subconscious mind holds our beliefs while the conscious mind focuses on will power. The subconscious largely influences our conscious mind which explains why taking action can be challenging in some cases”.
Papalona is here for the family and community. “We believe everybody deserves good mental health. We want our children to be happy, healthy, confident, compassionate, resilient, and curious about life and learning. We are not saying your life will be perfect. However, with our solutions they will have the right foundation and be equipped to get through life challenges with the right attitude. We want to embed the right beliefs in our children’s psyche and redress the negative messages. This can be achieved simply, easily and with minimum effort”.
The next stage is to carry our message to more Schools, Charities, NHS workers, Homeless Shelters and many more. “We believe everyone needs this programme and we want to make it as accessible as possible. Understanding the mindset should be part of our educational curriculum. St Albans Girls School are successfully using the program and we encourage more schools to join in ”.
There are lots of resources on the Papalona website to help you on this journey. They are also offering a 7-day free trial for the membership packages. Click here for more information.
Body Balance Osteopathic Clinic is a top-rated osteopathy practice that works with patients to relieve their pain, increase their movement, and improve their overall health by educating and empowering them. The clinic was founded on the belief that everyone can live a healthy happy and pain free life. Body Balance has developed a unique approach to recovery by combining the benefits of hands-on treatment with evidence-based exercise rehabilitation. Founder and Director Sean Walker spoke to Herts Review about the clinic and what he set out to achieve.
Body Balance’s mission is to teach people how to self-manage pain. Through education, it is creating the awareness that having pain and injury does not imply that it will last forever or that one should limit themselves and not pursue their goals. “Pain can be managed and treated. I come across a lot of patients that attribute their pain to a particular event or situation. Our approach is to ask the right questions and get as much information as possible out of them, answer their questions and recommend treatment”.
Sean’s had a unique route into Osteopathy practice. “I was an avid sports person from a young age. Sports was my passion. I played lots of sports but mainly rugby at various levels. I had a bad injury which stopped me from playing. I was asked by my GP to see a Physiotherapist through the NHS who ultimately suggested that I should stop playing rugby at the level I was. I felt the decision was made too quickly. I eventually came across an Osteopath who had played rugby at a high level and had a big emphasis on rehabilitation”.
From that point, Sean developed an interest in osteopathy as it combined his desire to help other people for which pain has cut down their dreams and aspirations through a lack of awareness or misinformation. “I did more research and my interest piqued in osteopathy. I generally like helping people, so training as an osteopath has given me that opportunity. If I can stop as many people as possible from giving up on their dreams and aspirations as a result of pain, then I will be happy I have done a good job”.
Sean completed his training at the European School of Osteopathy. Following his training he worked as an Osteopath initially with the National Health Service (NHS) and then with various osteopathic clinics in Watford, Luton, and St Albans. The desire to provide a different kind of service led him to open his own osteopathy practice Body Balance Osteopathic Clinic in St Albans.
“I question everything. I encourage people to do their research and ask questions. I encourage my clients to ask many questions. There are loads of information out there and we as practitioners have a duty to educate and inform and reduce all the disinformation”. The multidisciplinary clinic covers osteopathy, sports massage, medical acupuncture, professional training, and nutritional advice.
Osteopathy sounds very technical and many people may not know the difference between an Osteopath, Chiropractor or Physiotherapist. “We have some similarities in that we all treat musculoskeletal pain conditions and are all allied health professionals. However, we have specific training in our respective fields. Typically, Chiropractors treat pain related problems using the manipulation/adjustment of the spinal joints. Physiotherapists help people affected by injury or pain through movement, exercise and manual therapy while Osteopaths try to restore the normal function of the body through treatment of the joints and muscles to help the body heal itself, without use of drugs where possible”.
“Our treatment is mainly through education, advice and empowering people to self-manage their pain. We also work on other parts of the pain system. There is no doubt we may use techniques of a physiotherapist or chiropractor but we retain the philosophy of Osteopath. You can rely on us to provide the information you need to help you get better. So, Osteopaths sit somewhere in between physios and chiropractors. If you are having pain and not sure what to do call a clinic for advice. You can speak to your GP and you are also allowed to self-refer”.
Body Balance Clinic is currently undergoing re-branding and repositioning. “We are altering the way we provide our services by focusing more on education and evidence-based treatment. We are revamping our website and all our marketing communications to reflect this. We are regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) so we must continue to abide by the laws and must conduct ourselves the right way. It is important we retain the ethical standards while growing our practice”.
“Presently, I work with a General Practitioner, a Cognitive Behaviour Therapist and Nutritional Therapist, we will be looking to expand our skills base and bring on more specialists to improve our range of services on offer. This means we can deal with a wide range of pain management issues with our clients. So, we will be looking to expand the team over the next 24 months as we anticipate that our interactive marketing campaign and rebranding will get us to full capacity”.
Sean confirms the clinic is open to patients as they are exempted from governments covid-19 lockdown regulations as they are allied care providers. “Face to face consultations are on-going. We use PPE, clean, and disinfect as well as abide by social distancing. The safety of our patients and colleagues is priority. Also, NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines have asked GPs to prescribe less medical solutions to patients in pain and encourage them to use other methods. So, we expect more referrals from GPs especially with the impact the lockdown is having to people’s physical attributes while staying at home all day or working from home”.
At Body Balance, the team have a goal of reducing the amount of disinformation about pain. “Of course, our colleagues may take a commercial approach to treatment however we want to educate, inform and get people back to their normal life. If we do a good job with our patients, they are bound to come back for other issues or recommend us. For us ethical growth is the key”.
Looking for a first-class treatment for pain then contact Body Balance Osteopathic Clinic here.
Floral Chicken Upholstery Services is a family run business offering both recovery and modern or traditional re-upholstery services for residential and commercial clients. They offer full restorations services for old furniture like armchairs, sofas, dining chair seats, window seats, footstools, and ottomans. They also replace cushions and seat pads. The company has been producing high quality handcrafted products that are sold through local Artisan markets and online stores. Founder and Director, Stuart Townsend gave Herts Review some insight into the business.
Stuart and Gail are the husband and wife team behind Floral Chicken Upholstery Services. Stuart focuses on the practical side of giving a new lease of life to old furniture while Gail is an avid crafter that focuses on stitching, sewing, and knitting various products. Gail has done several sketches over the years. Some of her sketches are on the Floral Chicken Art Facebook page. The creative pair have always wanted to utilize their creative and design abilities to bring unique and quality products to the market.
“Both of us had extensive careers in the health care sector. I was trained as a Nurse and worked in the NHS for 23 years. I worked in management positions for a few years but due to reorganization my role was no longer available. I spent another 7 years in interim management positions across projects in London, Luton, Watford etc. However, it was clear that I needed a change. I always fancied doing something trade related and practical. I was always good with fixing things round the house. So, Upholstery seemed like a great trade to be involved in. I also wanted something I could do for a long time.”.
Stuart developed his upholstery skills by completing an 8-week intensive course with Ministry of Upholstery in Manchester, the leading Modern Upholstery School in the UK. Other trainings have followed, and he still admits that he is learning every day. “It took a year of intensive training to get up to speed. I worked on various items around the house or for friends and family. I restored items which were sold on market stalls. The beauty of what we do is that you are on a journey learning every single day. I get upholstery commissions where I have to figure out the best way to get the job done. This keeps me on my toes. You never stop learning”.
Floral Chicken Upholstery Services was formally launched in April 2015. There was gradual growth in the first few years of operations however now it has really taken off. They have projects booked till April 2021. Stuart reckons that with some of the other projects under discussion, it may be June 2021 before he takes on new work.
“When we started out there were a few gaps between projects. January was usually a quiet month. I will be finishing off a piece wondering when the phone will ring next. As we have built up our customer base over the years there have been less gaps as we get more recommendations and enquiries. We were busy last Christmas and it cooled down in January and February this year. When we started the lockdown in March, we had no enquirers for over a month and then it just took off. We were booked out till June and it has not stopped since then. I suppose with lots of people at home they want to make their home look better”.
After a career working for other people for several years, Stuart is enjoying working for himself and the flexibility that comes with it. He works from his home in Aylesbury. The garage has been converted to a workshop and some other parts of the property are used for storage. This is where products are manufactured and upholstery commissions are fulfilled. The company provides upholstery services to Aylesbury and surrounding areas in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. You will also find them in Artisan Markets or purchase their products online via Etsy or Vinterior.
“In all we do, we have to think of our environment and how we can recycle or use less material. In our workshop we do not waste anything. We utilize excess fabric and stuffing for other items. I advise people not to throw away stuff if it can be updated or restored. I know there are lots of cheap stuff out there, but people should also think why those items are cheap. Are quality materials used? What is the cost of labour? The cheap stuff no doubt are harder to restore as we use only quality materials in all our products. We also have to support small independent businesses as they create and sustain jobs in the community”.
Stuart is passionate about giving old items a chance for a new life through up-cycling of furniture and upholstery work. He is creative and has an amazing attention to detail. He enjoys upholstery work, the interaction with customers and the joy customers get out of their new pieces.
We ask that you help protect our environment and support independent businesses that are the bedrock of our communities. If you have tired or old furniture that could do with a new lease of life, contact the team at Floral Chicken Upholstery Services here.
Julius Interior Design are spatial design specialists offering a range of interior design services for residential and commercial properties. They offer full interior design services from styling a single room or area to working on complete residential property refurbishments, house extensions and renovations. Their model of interior design is not based on aesthetics only rather it focuses on how you feel when you walk into a place. Herts Review spoke with the founder Petina Julius and she shared her vision and ideas on interior design.
Petina’s design style is inspired by her love for nature and her childhood in South Africa. “I have always loved the outdoors and natural surroundings. I love nature. My passion for nature has influenced the way I create design spaces and how it will connect with people. I have adopted Biophilic designs which is a way to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment using direct or indirect nature”.
“Studies have shown that biophilic designs improve our well-being, reduce stress, improve our mental state and creativity. As more people move to urban areas and are trapped in concrete and glass structures for most parts of the day, this has become increasingly important. Wherever we have our design footprint either in a home or office, it must make the people feel good in that environment. That is our goal”.
Petina has been involved in interior design for 10 years. After qualifying with a first-class honours degree in Spatial Design from Buckinghamshire University she has worked on various residential and commercial projects. “Spatial design combines elements of architecture, landscape architecture and interior design. I use this to transform spaces into beautiful, functional, and inspiring places for my clients. I started off working on my personal project, an extension of our own home with a major kitchen revamp. It was an opportunity to challenge myself and implement my own ideas. It also gave me a taste of working with teams and managing a project from conception to completion”.
Other freelance projects followed including collaborations with architectural practices, other interior designers and working for an interior designer for a few years. “I took on a project in a care home with supported living residents. As you may know there are elements of our practice which may not work in this environment. Simply putting up a mirror may not work here so you need an alternative. This really challenged my creative ability, but it was one of the most fulfilling and rewarding projects I have ever taken on. Weeks after completing the project, the manager of the care home sent a message to me confirming that the residents in the area were much calmer thanks to our work. I could not have been happier”.
Julius Interior Design was established in October 2018 in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. “It has been quite a journey for me. Growing up in South Africa under Apartheid meant opportunities for people like me were limited. Even though I am a creative person and loved style and design, I could not develop in that area. My friends and I had to do traditional courses to get a job. I was working as an Insurance Broker in the UK for over 10 years. I completed a diploma in interior design, and I remember going to an open day to the University to see what they had on offer and being extremely excited. I just knew this is what I wanted to do. I am really positive that our business will make a huge mark in the future”.
Initially wearing multiple hats as a business owner and not just focusing on the creative side was a bit challenging. “I love the creative part, working with clients, transforming their spaces and creating their desired outcomes. But a business must be viable and there are other aspects like marketing, administration, procurement that are key for the business to survive. I am much better at them now. My corporate background working where I managed people and resources has helped me a lot.
She is extremely excited about the future. “One of the lessons from the covid-19 pandemic is that we have to adapt and be flexible. This year some projects we lined up had to be postponed either due to lockdown or the economic uncertainty. People generally think interior design is only for rich people. I really do not think it should be that way. Everyone should be in an environment that reflects their spirit, life, and tastes. Our homes should be sanctuaries: a peaceful place where we can escape the challenges of the modern world. That is really what I am about”.
“Presently, we are going through a marketing and rebranding campaign. We are updating our website, social media pages and other online assets. We are also creating various design packages to suit a wide range of clients. There is a package for clients that want to do smaller projects (e.g. style a room) based on their budget. Another service for those seeking only advice and guidance on what to do with their property. Also, an E-design package for clients that want design work but are happy to implement themselves. There is also a package for styling and staging properties for sale to attract buyers. We will also be working with Estate Agents soon. We want services that accommodate a bigger pool of clients so they are not put off by a large investment”.
Petina is also passionate about protecting our planet and is an advocate to use less stuff, more recycled materials and eco-friendly products. An online store selling sustainable products e.g. cushions made from recycled materials is in the pipeline.
“Our home is one of our most important investments. We share our home with the people closest to us. It is important that we live in spaces that we are happy in. We all have to be conscious of our planet and environment and therefore conscious of the decisions we make”
If you are in Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire or Bedfordshire and you need great interior design services contact Julius Interior Design here.
Clerik Business Solutions are business management consultants focused on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that power the UK economy. The company works with owner-managers or directors to identify solutions to improve and grow their businesses. As most SMEs battle the daily pressure to drive sales and improve cash flow unfortunately other aspects of their businesses suffer. Clerik Business Solutions has designed pro-active and practical solutions to get these businesses on track. Herts Review spoke exclusively to the Founders, Peter Hall, and Mike Douglas about their passion for SMEs and plans for the future.
Peter and Mike have extensive experience in the corporate world. They both held senior management positions in the financial services sector. They have also successfully run and sold various businesses. While working on another business involved in autoenrollment of SMEs pensions, they observed that the SME market has been underserved from a business advisory perspective.
“A lot of the businesses we spoke to were good at service delivery. That was their core competence. They knew about the other administrative and strategic elements of the business but did not know how to go about it. An estimated 75% of these companies had Accountants that only focused on compliance stuff – annual returns, preparation of financial statements and self-assessment. Their accountants had little input in the sales numbers, the cashflow position or supporting the businesses to achieve their goals. So, we set out our consultancy to fill this space. There are 5.4 million SME’s in the UK which account for 99% of all businesses. That is an outstanding number” says Peter.
“Since we started out our main challenge has been articulating the enormity of the task and how to design and develop the right solutions to support these businesses. Both of us cannot serve this massive market so we have worked extensively on building the right team and networks to support us. Finding the right people that believe in our vision and want to maintain the high standards we have set has not been easy. It has been a big task of trying to pull it all together” remarks Mike.
Usually most of these businesses are set up based on an idea or skill. Other structures for running the business successfully may be non-existent as they experience growth. Clerik’s solutions for SMEs covers sales & marketing, strategy & planning, time management, risk review and helping these businesses to secure grants or business relief. “We have a hands-on approach to helping businesses get and retain customers, access funding for growth and expansion, save money as well as minimize their risk so they operate efficiently” says Peter.
Clerik has developed 62 trusted business solutions to support SMEs across the UK. Its services are divided into two main categories – Working in Partnership Programme (a Retainer Package) and the Clerik Business Club (monthly subscription). The Working in Partnership Programme (WIPP) provides tailored business solutions to SMEs with turnover of £0.5m to £20m. Clerik Business Club is an affordable solution even for the one-man business. The monthly subscription starts from £59 per month.
“We know that cashflow is one of the main challenges to SMEs, the Clerik Business Club solves that problem by offering solutions that are affordable for all. We expect businesses to start with the Clerik Business Club, get results and then upgrade to the Working in Partnership Programme” says Mike.
Mike and Peter are supported by a team of 9 other senior consultants and 35 other associates that are specialists in various fields. “As we are based in London, our primary focus is on the South East. To deliver our services, we go into the company to understand their processes and talk to people working in various departments. It is key we understand the challenges the business is facing to design the right solutions. We do not have all the answers and that is why we have many associates to draw on their expertise and for knowledge sharing” says Mike.
“We assign a dedicated professional consultant to each client that advices and assists them on a day to day basis. Our associates are specialist in their fields, and they complement the activities of the consultants which allows us to provide the best solutions. This means the business can focus on achieving their goals knowing that other aspects are taken care of” says Peter.
The founders have ambitious targets for Clerik. They are looking to grow their consultancy by taking on more clients. Currently, a lot of their business comes through recommendations from businesses they have worked with and through relationships they have built over time. “From our experience, after speaking to various SMEs, we acknowledge that we need more education for the SME community. For instance, most businesses we speak to assume they have a marketing problem i.e. they don’t have enough customers. When we do a deep dive, we sometimes discover they have a huge customer attrition rate which means they are not looking after their existing customers well enough to provide other services” says Peter.
“Our approach is to get a toe in the door by helping SMEs with one aspect of their business. As soon as they see results then we will extend other services to them. We are building relationships with Chambers of Commerce, Accountancy firms that do not offer advisory services and are making more investments in marketing. We expect to see results in the coming months” says Mike.
For SMEs that are struggling or need help with a road map to get back on track, the team at Clerik Business Solutions are available to assist you. Contact them here.
VMS Handmade Jewellery make wonderful, personalised jewellery pieces that showcase your personality. Their unique products include bracelets, necklace, rings for women and earrings which are timeless and elegant. The products are custom made with a lot of dedication and attention to detail. Fashion enthusiast and founder of VMS Handmade Jewellery, Violette Matthews-Stroud recently spoke to Herts Review about the story behind the business and her plans.
VMS Handmade Jewellery’s products are currently available online. Initially, Violette made products based on orders from family and friends as well as the various networks she belonged to. “It started off as a hobby. I have always been into fashion since I was a young girl. I loved dressing up and putting on various complimenting accessories. A woman gets a lot of confidence from her appearance. Jewellery plays a big role. I loved wearing unique jewellery that cannot be found anywhere and that was where the thought came about”.
A private trip to Colombia a few years ago all but confirmed that burning desire to start making jewellery. “I am originally from Colombia and still have a lot of family there. My cousin in Colombia had been making jewellery pieces for years. On this visit, I took an interest in what she did and decided to apply myself to creating unique products as I had an eye for good jewellery. I used to buy her products. I also had the opportunity to visit some of the largest jewellery markets in some of the major cities in Colombia. It was an eye opener and I met with suppliers and jewellery makers. From here, it sort of took off”.
On her return to the UK, she completed a few jewellery training courses and has gone on to craft personalised jewellery pieces which has won admiration from many of her customers. “I have lived in the UK for 40 years. I was teaching Spanish for over 25 years and have worked in administration for 12 years. I have enjoyed these roles but making jewellery has been by far the most fulfilling as it combines my passion for fashion with my desire to create something different. My inspiration to create a piece comes from research, trying out different things and just the feeling that something will look great. I am bold with my choices and usually only make one item of each”.
Although Violette creates unique jewellery that can be used for weddings, birthdays, evening events, corporate events etc she is of the view that her products can be worn by anyone of any age or background. “We are different. We do not follow fashion trends. Our pieces are timeless. Anyone can wear our pieces. However, I acknowledge that ladies in their 30s and above will appreciate my products more. They understand quality and always want to stand out. Our jewellery will complement their outfit and transform their how they look.
From her base in Aston Clinton village near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, Violette is looking to extend the reach of her products to increase sales. She intends to start a promotion and marketing campaign to drive more sales. “The challenges of the last few months because of covid-19 has not helped. Usually I will be selling my pieces in markets and at exhibitions. Unfortunately, we have not had that opportunity as lots of exhibitions have been cancelled with the restrictions in movement”.
She also thinks that a lot of education is important to help businesses like hers increase their footprint. “I think more people love handmade jewellery as it is unique and personalised. In some cases, they just don’t know where to get quality products. The major retail brands offer mass produced jewellery which can be cheaper. We are talking about many versions of the same item. With handmade jewellery you can have a piece that you will not see anywhere. We have to educate more people to look our way and support smaller businesses like mine”.
For now, she is extremely dedicated to her craft. “The quality, dedication and passion I put into every piece is unimaginable. I want to use my products to boost people’s self-esteem. I want people to see jewellery as fun. Our jewellery works with both smart and casual outfits. We sell online but we are approachable. I am only at the end of a phone if you want to discuss anything. That is why I insist we are unique. When you purchase our products you think of style, glamour and elegance”.
If you are after personalised handmade jewellery contact VMS Handmade Jewellery here.