Five inspiring female founders

Greetings indies picked for 2023’s 100 top f:Entrepreneurs


Five women from the greetings and gift world have been named among the UK’s most inspirational, dynamic female entrepreneurs by the f:Entrepreneur #ialso100 campaign for 2023.

Little Boat Gifts’ Olivia Reilly, Stacey Dennis from Love Layla Design, Joco Interiors Jo Williams, Eco-Able’s Danielle Seatter and Beck Prior of Prior Shop are all being profiled among the 100 UK female entrepreneurs as part of the campaign to celebrate the multi-achievements of women running businesses in the UK today.

Above: f:Entrepreneurs founder Michelle Ovens
Above: f:Entrepreneurs founder Michelle Ovens

“I was so surprised when I first found out,” commented Olivia, who started her greetings and gift show in Brightlingsea eight years ago. “It’s such a lovely feeling when all your hard work is recognised –plus, it’s a huge honour to be featured among so many inspirational women.”

This year’s f:Entrepreneur #ialso100 campaign celebrates inspiring, resilient female entrepreneurs who have flourished despite the challenges, with some still growing or starting new ventures, and many of the businesses featured in the 2023 campaign also demonstrate a huge commitment to promoting sustainability and localism as well as championing diversity and inclusion.

Above: Olivia Reilly runs Little Boat Gifts
Above: Olivia Reilly runs Little Boat Gifts

The campaign is run by Small Business Britain, and both were founded by Michelle Ovens CBE, who is also the director of Small Business Saturday UK.

“It’s so vital that we recognise and celebrate the phenomenal contribution that women running businesses are making across the UK,” Michelle said, “and the far-reaching, positive impact they’re having, not just on the economy, but on wider communities too.

“The last few years have been hugely challenging for small businesses yet, despite this, female entrepreneurship continues to grow and flourish in the UK and is very much at the heart of the UK’s recovery.”

Above: Jo Williams runs Joco Interiors and took on a second business in lockdown
Above: Jo Williams runs Joco Interiors and took on a second business in lockdown

She set up the f:Entrepreneur Campaign, which launched on International Women’s Day 2017, because of the growing sense there should be more recognition for the power women who run so many businesses in the UK, and it’s built around a programme of stories and events including roundtables, Q&A sessions and panels as well as larger all-day events throughout the year.

Little Boat Gifts is an indie greetings, gift and bespoke framing show which stocks small UK-based companies along with own-brand and other publishers’ cards., and owner Oivia was also selected because of her community voluntary work.

Above: Love Layla Designs is Stacey Dennis’ baby
Above: Love Layla Designs is Stacey Dennis’ baby

Stacey is the founder of Love Layla Designs, an online greeting card and giftware retailer offering hilarious and cheeky cards and gifts directly to the customer, which has grown to nearly a million followers on social media.

Stacey regularly supports local charities and toy banks with one of her proudest fundraising achievements having been raising over £16,000 for local children’s childhood cancer charity Candlelighters.

Joco Interiors is no stranger to awards as the winner of two Greats gift retailer titles, and offers three floors of gifts, greetings, accessories and furniture and founder Jo has had to relocate the business twice within Nuneaton to accommodate the shop’s expansion since opening in 2015.

During the pandemic she acquired another business, Terry’s Bed Centre, to save local jobs and further her interest in interior design.

Above: Sustainability is key for Danielle Seatter at Eco-Able
Above: Sustainability is key for Danielle Seatter at Eco-Able

Wildlife-friendly cards, wrap, pens and notebooks mean Cirencester’s Eco-Able helps people celebrate special occasions and make notes and arrangements without harming the planet. Danielle founded the sustainable, slow-living store, with both a physical and online shop so customers can reduce their single use consumption and find alternatives to plastics wherever possible.

She is an avid supporter of fellow small companies, and has also written an eco children’s story book, won best sustainable business for her local area and been recognised as one of Gloucestershire’s top 10 growth firms.

Above: Beck Prior’s Prior Shop is a not-for-profit enterprise
Above: Beck Prior’s Prior Shop is a not-for-profit enterprise

At Prior Shop, founder Beck runs a not-for-profit creative arts hub, eco-conscious retail shop, workshop space and gallery, offering, classes, events and exhibitions, as well as free business mentoring.

The shop employs local people, supports local independent makers and puts money, skills and time back into the local community, showcasing contemporary work by 150 sustainable designers, including a wide range of greeting cards.

To see the full line-up of the 100 women featured in this year’s f:entrepreneur #ialso100 campaign click here.

Top: Famous five f:Entrepreneurs

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