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Recently, The Bespoke Life happily celebrated its one-year birthday. It has been a very successful year with many twists and turns, up and downs and steep learning curves. We have made some truly wonderful memories with both clients and staff. It has certainly been an adventure, complete with blood, sweat and the obligatory tears! We are so proud of our achievements so far, so let’s roll back a year and take a look at what made us take the leap into providing this service in the first place, noting some of our achievements along the way.

I've come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that's as unique as a fingerprint and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.

Oprah Winfrey

It’s true, we both had a passion and love of working within care, always aspiring to make a difference to people’s lives. We wanted to break the stigma of asking for help regardless of who you are and what your needs may be. Our aim as a service was to fill in the missing part of the puzzle within the health and social care sector, to continue to enjoy your life at home with someone by your side, when you need it, a companion, a friend.

What we aspired to offer

Our focus is the social aspect of the care sector. As two individuals with many combined years of experience within the industry, we are keen to offer a service that was more personal, more tailored to our clients. We wanted to focus on enabling our clients to engage in the activities and interests that were meaningful to them, things they had done throughout their lives or perhaps wanted to have a go at. Helping them maintain their individuality and the things that made them who they are. We also wanted to help encourage continued independence of living at home. However most importantly we wanted to offer our clients the luxury of quality time with our companions. Our years of working in various care settings had shown us repeatedly that there were too many time constraints placed upon carers, and those being cared for didn’t always have the time to truly know them. We wished to offer the opposite, plenty of time to get to know our clients, to listen, to observe and to establish good trusting relationships that could be nurtured over time with kindness and care.

Nothing beats kindness, said the horse. It sits quietly beyond all things.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, Charlie Mackesy

Employing our first member of staff

After just 6 weeks of operating, we employed our first team member.

We look for particular qualities when employing our staff. Individuals who are really caring and have a passion for working with others. People who are kind, empathic and can communicate well. Individuals who can think fast on their feet, you never know what situations may present themselves when you work closely with people, always expect the unexpected! We are proud to say that each member of our team has proven to display all of these, all individuals with their own unique qualities that shine through their work with our clients.

I let myself go because I felt like everything was going wrong since moving house. I am so thankful to have my companion that really cares for me and my well – being, and they treat issues with sensitivity.

Mrs J, client

Our very first client

Our very first client was Mrs B! We see Mrs B more than our own families some weeks, she is family to us! A year on and the number of clients on our books have increased significantly which we consider a huge achievement and it’s a pleasure to support them all.

Challenges faced but overcome!

You certainly live and learn when you set up a new business. Perhaps one of the most challenging parts is who to trust when dealing with the logistics of setting up. When we began, we invested in a business coach to help guide us through all the of important areas of getting started. Much to our dismay, we lost the money that we had invested by trusting someone who was not who they said they were. This was a major setback to our business and quite a knock. But we faced the challenge head on and began again from scratch, ensuring this time that we got it right. Although it was stressful at the time, it was a blessing in disguise, we have learnt so much about the business world and a lot about ourselves in the process.

Breaking the stigma around asking for help for our clients is a huge hurdle and we are aiming for companionship to become a word that people use in everyday vocabulary, like care is. We have been using socials, talks and networking to educate people about the vital service we offer. As time goes on, we are slowly starting to see a change, but we still have a long way to go.

On the up, support that put us back on track!

We really couldn’t have made it through this last year without our behind-the-scenes team.

Sarah who runs our social media side of things has been integral to the growth of the business and has made such an impact. She has really helped build and portray our brand image. We are very lucky to have her! Stu is responsible for our website and has so brilliantly put on those pages exactly who we are! Then we have our IT specialist Jon, who we simply could not do without. Thank you, to them all!

Networking, networking and more networking

Networking has been such an important part of our work; we have grown some wonderful relationships with a lot of other businesses who have really helped us build our brand and given us some valuable advice along the way. So many we are now pleased to also call our friends. We have undertaken talks at senior lunches and have important links with Women who do, Cotswold collective, Cheltenham Noticeboard and SoGlos but to name a few.

Celebrations with staff at Christmas

We celebrated the end of the year in style with our staff at the fabulous Bond 007 Christmas event at the Racecourse. It was a marvellous night full of glitz and glamour. It was the perfect opportunity for us all to let our hair down and truly celebrate what we had achieved since starting our business. We are so proud of what has been built and are so thankful for all of our staff who have helped make the dream a reality. Thank you, Team!

If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.

Henry Ford