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Carolyn Frank's Member Story

Independent retailers, Libby Butler Jewellers, have been providing unique jewellery from their dog-friendly shop, in the award-winning North Yorkshire market town of Helmsley since 2009.  

FSB Member of seven years, Carolyn Frank and partner Andy bought their business after they both decided to call time on their successful careers working for large, multinational companies.

Libby-butler-jewellers

Carolyn who has a degree is in International Business and Modern Languages takes up the story, “I wanted to be my own boss and felt that owning a business would give me a good work life balance.

After working in Europe for many years, I hit 30 and was fed up of travelling and wanted to put down some roots where I was born and brought up.”

The North Yorkshire entrepreneurs’ plan came together whilst on downtime from their jobs, as Carolyn explains, “my partner Andy and I were having a coffee in Helmsley, when we saw the shop was up for sale. Within three months we had successfully applied for a business loan and bought it and just like that, we were small business owners!” 

Over the last seven years, Carolyn and Andy have built a successful, vibrant and popular business, selling jewellery and designer watches sourced from UK and international designers, many of them who produce their unique products in the UK by hand. With 70 percent of their trade being local and 30 percent from tourism.

When it came to getting the business up and running, Carolyn was able to draw upon advice and supportive from her family and friends, even though most were surprised that the couple wanted to take the risk, as they both had good careers. 

Part of the advice passed on by Carolyn’s parents was to join FSB, as they had been FSB members for over 25 years, running successful pubs, so were able to guide Carolyn and Andy through the transition from employees, to business owners.

Carolyn, “I was aware of some of the support FSB offered and when we saw the substantial savings we could make by using member benefit Card Payment Processing for our new shop. That sealed the deal."

Carolyn continues, “I now realise I had no idea of the many benefits FSB offers its members. As a member for seven years now, I have become aware of just how important the FSB is for small businesses, not just for their business support and member deals, but their lobbying too, they really are a great ‘back office’ for a micro business like ours.

"I feel they are looking out for small businesses in a way no-one else does."

Like over 148,000 members in 2015, Carolyn has used her membership to ensure she was on the right side of the law by calling the legal advice line, “I called the legal advice line just to reassure myself that we are applying consumer law correctly - it can be difficult to keep up with new legislation, but it’s a real weight off my mind that there is someone on the end of the phone who can help advise me quickly when I need it most.”

FSB’s website has over 200 factsheets and in excess of 500 legal documents to choose from, covering all the key legal, personnel, tax and health and safety issues that you might encounter when setting up and running your business.

As part of her membership, Carolyn is involved in FSB’s unique, online research community, Big Voice, where our members can have their say on behalf of small businesses across the UK. It keeps members up to speed with current political issues around small business and the research results are used by Senior politicians, Government Ministers and the Bank of England to help shape their work and policies.

Starting your own business can be daunting and Carolyn was keen to give advice for would be business owners. “Don’t worry that you don’t know everything - and don’t be afraid to ask for advice.

No-one knows all the answers, there’s a big difference running your own business to working for other companies, where you have the back up of on IT department, HR and finance, but there is help out there, especially if you are an FSB member! 

Also to keep on learning - don’t stop training, seek out good quality courses and become a specialist in your field.”

"There are lots of demands on your time as a small business owner, but your business will definitely benefit. Collaborating with other business helps form a great network for you, so spending the time to get involved is worth it!”

Carolyn adds, “I advise members to not just think about what the FSB can do for them, but what they can offer to other members, or the organisation. Get involved in your region, or via Big Voice. You’ll will get more from your membership if you are engaged.”

If you'd like to get in touch with us and share your member story, simply email us yourstories@fsb.org.uk. If you're not a member of FSB and you'd like to sign up, follow this link which will take you to our join portal.

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