(Female entrepreneurs stood from left to right – Vanessa Bradley at Label Once Loved, Caroline Keating of Caroline Keating Nutrition, Sophie Liggatt of A Cotswold Wedding, Kate Starkey of CheltenhamMaman, Rosa Fulvio of Makeup By Rosa Fulvio, Sarah Wilkinson of S Wilkinson HR Consulting, Harpreet Kular of Harper and Cooper Opticians. Seated left Sally O’Kelly of Act Candles, right Zoe Alcock of Natural Essence Photography)

So have you seen this year’s Cheltenham MumBoss Photoshoot? What did you think? We’re so proud of the pictures but even prouder of the message behind them.

Last year we recreated the iconic Vanity Fair Hollywood shoot in The MumBoss Issue to highlight just how many skills we have in the 135 strong group, but this year we really wanted to showcase how women in Gloucestershire are fighting the trend of gender inequality and demanding a seat at the business table.

So here’s the campaign…..

(IMAGE 2 – The Board Room 

Female entrepreneurs around the table from left to right Sarah Davies of Floella Interiors Frankie Chapman of Boss Media, Beth Lothian of The Lion Sparkles, Nina Lane-Jenkins of Yin Yang Holistic Therapies, Louise Dargavel-Hughes of Fluid Pilates Studio,  Danielle Seatter of Cotswolds Creative Design and Natasha McAll of Makeup By Natasha Louise)

Following on from the publication of research earlier this year finding only 1 in 3 entrepreneurs in the UK to be female, Gloucestershire based female business networking group, Cheltenham MumBoss Club has recreated several iconic scenes from the USA TV drama, Mad Men, as a series of photographs, in a bid to support women’s business growth and showcase the power of female collaboration.

The pictures show women replacing men in all the famous 1960s ad agency scenes to highlight that despite the gender gap which still prevails, equivalent to 1.1 million missing businesses, female led businesses are a force to be reckoned with. 

(IMAGE 3 – The End of The Day 

Female entrepreneurs back from left to right –   back row: Laura Brookes of Cheltenham RocksLaura Duggal Career Coach , Rachael Kipling of Cotswold Baby Co, Tania Walker of Busy Little Bears, front row: Jo Brown of Daphne and Margot , Laura Crabb of Box Tree Gift Co , Katie Chapman of Neal’s Yard Remedies , Samantha Malvern-Costelloe of Inside Out Gifts , Bunty Rowbotham of Baboo Clothing)

The research entitled The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship was commissioned by Robert Jenrick MP, Exchequer Secretary to the National Treasury. Published in February of 2019 It carried out a robust review into female entrepreneurship in the UK and amongst many others, these conclusions were made:

  • 1 in 3 UK entrepreneurs is female: a gender gap equivalent to ~1.1 million missing businesses. 
  • Female-led businesses are only 44% of the size of male-led businesses on average, in terms of their contribution to the economy, and male SMEs are twelve times more likely to scale up to £1million turnover than female SMEs.
  • Fewer UK women choose to become entrepreneurs than in best practice peer countries
  • At almost every stage, women are less likely to pursue entrepreneurship
  • The cumulative effect of women’s different decisions along the entrepreneurial journey is that men in the UK are ve times more likely than women to build a business of £1 million+ turnover: 2.4% of working age men achieve this compared to 0.5% of all UK women

Kate Starkey, otherwise known as Cheltenham Maman, I set up the MumBoss Club in 2017 and wanted the shoot to demonstrate how slowly but surely busy working mums are turning to entrepreneurship and creating successful and flexible careers for themselves and challenging these statistics.

As well as showcasing how women are ‘changing the conversation’ the shoot represents the power of the collective, with members of the group all clubbing together to provide all of the resources (photography, styling, production, makeup, hair to name but a few) to get the job done. 

The MumBoss Club creates a community of likeminded women to support each other, not just with advice but helping to make connections, start conversations, collaborate on business, inspire one another, take-action and influence change, together.


Female entrepreneurs stood from left to right – back row – Sali Green of Cheltenham Lifestyle and Business, Cate Hamilton of Babel Babies, Alice Thompson of Jackeroo Clothing, Aisha Azmi of The Baker’s Table, middle row: Natasha Greening of The Holistic Hideout, Kate Ransome of Little Cheltenham Photography Studio, front row: Lesley Sainty of Places With Ed, Dani Watson of We Are The Clique, Donna Simpson Strange, Consultant Solictor at Setfords  )

Members of the MumBoss Club range from women heading up established business such as Hetty’s Kitchen – local brownie maker stocked in Gloucester and Tebay Services, Willowberry Natural Skincare recommended by beauty bloggers such as Caroline Hirons and Travel Tonic PR, a PR agency with more than twenty five years of industry experience right  through to kitchen table start ups such as handmade children’s clothing brand Bonnie Pop Makes, brand new sustainability consultant The Liminality and occasional floristry workshop business Little Blue Butterfly Floral Designs.  These women are working hard to challenge these troubling statistics. 

Chief photographer for the shoot itself was Kate Ransome, of Little Cheltenham with styling by interior designer and stylist Sarah Davies of Floella, who actually had the idea for the shoot in the first place.

Speaking about the shoot, photographer Kate Ransome of Little Cheltenham commentsI joined the MumBoss Club back in 2017 and it’s always an honour to create imagery that showcases this incredible group of women. It was only natural to look for a style of shoot that highlighted how female entrepreneurs have the skills and energy to rival their male counterparts but also embrace the power of collaboration.”

‘If you don’t like what’s being said…. change the conversation.

Demonstrating her surprise that women aren’t yet equalling men in the pool of UK entrepreneurs, Sarah Davies of Floella comments:

When we look back to the days that the incredible series Mad Men showcased, it’s shocking to see that women were ever made to feel so unworthy of the rare positions that they were offered in the board rooms or the decision making teams. But when you see stats like these you realise that progress is still much needed. Until women aren’t penalised for choosing to start families these numbers won’t improve.” 

“The 130 strong and successful ladies in our group are proof that women who have become mothers are still capable of running successful businesses utilising their skills and passion for business without facing the scrutiny of the traditional workplace,” added Davies.

Over 30 members of The MumBoss Club took part in the photoshoot which features in today’s Gloucestershire Echo and social media channels as the exclusive #Madwomen shoot.

To find out more about the MumBoss Club and to visit this page that lists it’s member organisations (this page has just been set up and is still being compiled).

It was so much fun to put this day together – we hope you love the images!


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