Entrepreneurs over the age of 50 now account for one fifth of Britain’s new business owners, which is encouraging to see. This shift towards entrepreneurship has largely been fostered by digital transformation and an increasingly complex and fractured workplace. Entrepreneurship gives people the opportunity (and confidence) to pursue their true passions, without having to fit into traditional roles or moulds.
Women over 50 can have a competitive advantage in that they have more life experience and time to dedicate to themselves, making them ideal entrepreneurial candidates. Life expectancy continues to increase; one can hardly label 50 as ‘old’ anymore. Here are five gorgeous businesses run by women over 50 to inspire your own journey.
The Sew London Project was founded by Kemi Oloyede, a long-time seamstress who worked as a secondary school textiles teacher before leaving to found her own business. With just £2,000 in savings, she grew her business into a successful ethical fashion organisation, where she upcycles old textiles, produces three different fashion labels – Kezziah’s Wardrobe, Deborah Roberts and Recyclothes – and runs regular sewing courses and workshops. Instead of staying on and teaching additional subjects she wasn’t really passionate about, she took her interests into her own hands and has never looked back.
source: The Sew London Project
56-year-old accounts director Michele Burchfield started a business with her long-time friend Carla Frank, after both had spent years running their own consulting businesses. Together they founded Blume Honey Water, an all-natural drink combining water, bee-friendly honey, fruit and herbs.
The two really did their research and spent several years tasting, refining and developing their recipes, all while continuing to work full-time. Blume Honey Water is now sold throughout Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Colorado and the metro area through a range of prominent stores, including Whole Foods and Mom’s Organics.
Dog lover Kathy Dannel Vitcak founded The Blissful Dog way back in 2003. Now, instead of retirement, she pursues her interest full-time. Back in her dog show days, Kathy developed a salve for dry dog noses made from shea butter, and soon came to realise just how effective it was. She soon began selling tins of the salve through a simple online store that she built on Shopify.
In addition to the dry nose salve, Kathy extended her range to include paw butter, elbow butter and ‘boo boo’ butter. Her products continue to sell via her online store, as well as from hundreds of stores in countries around the world.
When Jane Kellock came up with an exciting idea for a B2B fashion website, she was initially disheartened when her male boss and investor didn’t jump on board. But after a long career in the fashion industry, she had the confidence to kickstart the enterprise anyway. At 51, she created Unique Style Platform, an innovate fashion and lifestyle forecasting service aimed at providing ‘essential inspiration for creative minds’.
Jane could have given up after her boss didn’t believe in her. Instead, she now has five employees working for her at her office in East London, as well as a strong team of freelancers, and the business continues to grow and prosper.
Angie Higa spent most of her career in banking, before retiring in 2008 to be a stay-at-home grandmother. It was during this transition that she finally found time to return to one of her favourite hobbies: designing and sewing.
After a particularly heinous long haul flight where not a single blanket or comfort pillow was provided, she had the idea to launch her own business selling boutique travel blankets and matching pillows with a unique design aesthetic. Since 2009, the business has grown and she’s expanded her range to include shopping totes, purses and accessories.
If there’s one thing we can take away, it’s that age is no barrier to achieving your business vision. It’s entirely possible to start a company at any age, if you have the drive to make it succeed. Entrepreneurs don’t all have to be hot young 20-30 somethings; the more diverse we can be, the better.
Looking to start your own business? Here are 10 places to get advice and funding for a small to medium business.
Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to supporting startups and small businesses of all shapes and sizes. Visit the blog for the latest entrepreneurial news and side hustle tips. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.