Amazing stories: the tales behind St Albans’ business successes

Morgana Evans from The Endless Bookcase with The Little Book of Amazing Businesses.

Morgana Evans from The Endless Bookcase with The Little Book of Amazing Businesses. - Credit: Archant

A group of St Albans-based entrepreneurs have put their business heads together to write a book documenting their paths on the road to success.

The Little Book of Amazing Businesses is a collaborative work which aims to motivate and uplift business hopefuls as well as providing insight on how its contributors overcame the challenges of business ownership.

Sue Wybrow, founder of St Albans Businesses explained: “We’ve seen such amazing journeys of business owners in St Albans that we wanted to put them all into a book. We also wanted to inspire others who may be thinking of starting their own business.”

The book details the business stories of local landmarks such as Ye Olde Fighting Cocks - whose owner Christo Tofalli was tasked with making a success of the country’s oldest pub.

And documents the difficulties faced by Eve and Adam salon owner Sally Shepherd when she decided to set up shop at five months pregnant.

But there is also a focus on those who faced challenges in their careers for very different reasons, such as author Jenny Ford.

She said: “I started out as a beauty therapist with a very successful business; then I was diagnosed with MS which changed everything, I had to give up my business.”

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The writer, like so many of the book’s contributors, did not let adversity hold her back: “When one door closes a better one opens. Through challenges with my health I found that my purpose is to be an author. A new life has begun for me and the start of a whole new business.”

Cheryl Luzet, founder of digital marketing agency, Wagada, describes starting her business as “a leap of faith”, but she decided to take the plunge after struggling with the costs of travel and childcare following the end of her maternity leave.

She said: “I needed to return to work after my second child, and realised that with the cost of childcare for two children and train fare into London I would only earn £5 a day after tax.”

Now the owner of a successful SEO consultancy, Cheryl said: “I have the flexibility and freedom to choose my hours. I benefit from flexible working arrangements to fit in around childcare commitments and so do all my staff.”

Contributor, Catherine Batour, a make-up artist and beautician said: “It is amazing to see my business come to life in this book. And I do hope it inspires other people to give it a go.’’

Owner of Atlas Translations, Clare Suttie is excited to share the secrets of running a local enterprise with readers: “We are not all high-flying billionaires, and it’s refreshing to have a book which features – and celebrates - small and medium-sized businesses.”

Brand design guru Aarti Parmar described the writing experience as a “great opportunity”.

Having been a finalist in the 2017 St Albans District Chamber of Commerce Community Business Awards, the owner of AP Brand Communications wants prospective business owners to know “my business journey so far has been exciting, overwhelming, hard, rewarding, fun, challenging, but most of all fulfilling”.

The book, which can be purchased from online store, The Endless Bookcase, also helps to support charity Home Start Hertfordshire.

Suzy Moody of the charity added: “We are absolutely thrilled to be part of this fantastic collaboration and delighted that £1 from every book sale will go to Home Start”.

The Little Book of Amazing Businesses is out now.

Order your copy of the book here