Gemma’s Story – Founder of That’s Her Business

Web Design and Branding for Women in Business

Hey, I’m Gemma! I live for live music, weekend walks, a bloody good brew and doing anything I can to help women break down barriers they face… especially when it comes to starting and scaling business.

My *unofficial* design career began as a child. I created magazines for my family about all of my favourite things… complete with a back page of fake adverts for paid ringtones and screensavers (remember those?!)

Officially, I began my ‘proper’ career in the design industry over 7 years ago as a Junior Graphic Designer and worked my way up to Studio Team Leader, managing a team of three fellow designers, before leaving to run my own business in January 2018. I have loved styling many incredible (large and small) brands during my time as a designer but in 2019, I hit a bit of a wall and knew I wanted ‘more’ from my work.

The Problem

Having been in the industry for a while, I knew the ins and outs of helping my clients style their brands BUT the huge mistake I made was seeing myself as “just a freelancer” and not really seeing what I was doing as a “proper business”. This was probably part naivety and part imposter syndrome, and it meant I found myself stuck in a race to the bottom on price on a regular basis. I was trying to offer a high-quality service for the lowest possible price, and my brand reflected this, so I attracted clients with high demands and unrealistic budgets. It was exhausting and unsustainable.

For me, success means loving what I do, how I do it and who I do it with, and my time as a freelancer just wasn’t quite hitting the spot. I quickly realised that I had to go through the same processes that I do with my clients, with myself, to realign my brand identity and reach the people I wanted to work with.

These realisations happened to come at a time when I had just moved into a coworking space, and out of 30 or so businesses, I was one of only two women on site. I did a lot of research into female entrepreneurship and confirmed my gut feelings. There were, and still are, tonnes of self-employed women feeling just as I did and missing out on important business opportunities because of it.

Here’s what I found out

  1. Women typically have higher risk-awareness than men (this means that we generally like to see the path to success ahead of us before we put all of our eggs in one basket, not always that possible in business…)
  2. Women are less likely to believe they possess entrepreneurial skills (imposter syndrome anyone?!)
  3. Women are less likely than men to know other entrepreneurs or to have access to sponsors, mentors or professional support networks (being self-employed is lonely, especially when we don’t really know anyone else doing it)

Source: Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship

So, what next? That’s Her Business!​

I set about rebranding myself, with empowering women in business at the heart of the whole thing and business changed fast. But, it was when I opened an all-female coworking space in Ancoats, that the real world-shifting lightbulb moment came to me. I realised I had the perfect support network of talented business-owners to turn what had been just me, into an incredible collective of freelancers, ready to help support and empower like-minded women and help them to avoid making the same mistakes we have made ourselves in the past! We are passionate about working together to help self-identifying female-entrepreneurs to create a stunning visual identity across the board and attract dream clients.

In April 2020, That’s Her Business successfully raised £4,652 and won an additional grant of £5,000 to help us on our journey to support as many women in business as possible.

Since then, we’ve helped lots of lovely clients to up-level their branding and we’ve given away over £10,000 in branding packages without charge. As part of our efforts to support small business, in August 2020 we were selected as part of Small Business Saturday’s #SmallBiz100 and in October 2021 we won the IPSE Freelancer Collaboration Award. We continue to do what we can to help others navigate the topsy turvy journey that is self-employment.

We are not only designers and photographers who have the exact skills required to take a business owner from feeling a bit flat, to full clarity and confidence in how their business looks online – we are friends, mentors, doers, makers, cheerleaders, sisters – human.

Here’s how you can find out more about what That’s Her Business do:

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