Friday, 26 July 2013

Birthday Blog Post No. 10

Today's guest blogger is extra special because she has played a starring role in helping The Cool Rule Company become what it is today. Anne Livesey has been my mentor, my agony aunt, my business planner and all-round expert at keeping me sane during the last year or so.

Hello my name’s Anne, and, up until a couple of months ago, I was an Enterprise Coach and Mentor at Derwentside Enterprise Agency. That’s me, Abi and Big Tot in the picture.

Basking in the coolness of the Cool Rule Book

Currently I am the Business Manager at CHUF – the Children’s Heart Unit Fund at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle. We raise money to help babies, and children who have to undergo heart surgery and transplant. You can follow us on Twitter, @CHUFOfficial (please!).

An amazing cause

I’ve always been self employed and employed while bringing up my two children (who have both now left home…it’s so quiet…I almost feel redundant, well almost, until some kind of crisis arises).

In the past five years, alongside being employed as an enterprise coach, I also set up and run my own business, Gift in a Tin. At Gift in a Tin we provide a range of beautiful, handpicked gifts which are encased in elegant tins and personalised with a special message. It's the perfect answer for any special occasion.

Beautiful gifts encased in elegant, personalised tins

Abi and I met over 18 months ago, on a cold February day in Consett (yes, I know what you’re thinking: that’s odd, Consett is normally so warm and sunny!).

As we sat and chatted, Abi told me all about her plans for her new business, The Cool Rule Company. Her enthusiasm immediately drew me in, and I was hooked! We just needed to devise a plan to pull everything together and unleash this amazing product range on the world!

Our first challenge was what the Cool Rule Book would actually look like, and how to get just a few samples printed. We used our Mumpreneur group to feed back to Abi, and she also ran a national trial which was very successful.

The final version of The Cool Rule Book

This was real start-up phase.

Abi was relying on me as business coach and mentor (and business owner) to listen and impart pearls of wisdom. But it was clear to me; Abi was a very intelligent, creative sort, who had run successful businesses before. She had fantastic dreams, was overflowing with creative ideas, my job was simply going to be to harness all that wonderful enthusiasm, and just, well, be there.

We set about devising how to let the world know about the Cool Rule Book. There were social media marketing master classes from the amazing Pascal Fintoni and bookkeeping and finance with the all-knowing Jackie Oxley. So I can’t lay claim to be the only person who supported Abi on her journey.

But I am very proud to say that Abi has done an amazing job with her brand and her product development over the past year (I really love the reward charts). Her life is busy looking after Big Tot, Little Tot, and Turkish husband,  but Abi works long hours and never gives up. She is a true entrepreneur with natural grit and determination.

Can you see the grit and determination?

Now, a year on, Abi has moved on from being a start up, and has found new connections who will help drive the business on and I know she will make a terrific success of The Cool Rule Company.

Anne might have to do a stint here

 My brief was to tell you all about me and my amazing products (Abi’s words, not mine). But that’s not why I wanted to write this blog – it’s just not about me. But with the risk of incurring Abi’s wrath and being sent to the naughty step, if you want to see more about what I do, you can find me on Twitter at @giftinatin or

Anne, thank you so much for an overly-complementary blog post (two minutes on the naughty spot will do!) and thank you for every minute you've spent helping me since I made that call to you just over a year ago. Folks, if you want to check out Anne's fantastic gift range visit the Gift in a Tin website today, and don't forget about her amazing fundraising work at the Children's Heart Unit Fund.

If you're looking for ways to celebrate your toddler's behaviour, and promote happy family living in your home, visit - enjoy!

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