The small Welsh businesses doing it for themselves

A Costa coffee? Or a smoother, higher quality coffee at a slightly lower price in calm, cosy and more imaginative surroundings.

Or for tea lovers how about an orange and lemon rooibos tea with a luxurious handmade rose and vanilla truffle to set it off.

A tongue-in-cheek Welsh humoured gift, or maybe some hand made ethical and affordable Welsh jewellery.

Or go vintage and pick up a one off gem of a present that will outshine the rest.

I always notice a small business and there seems to be more popping up in Pembrokeshire and throughout Wales.

And with this re-emergence comes plusher, brighter stores with imaginative surroundings, strong brands, Welsh produced goods, quirky websites and followings on social media that the branded giants just can’t compete with.

Here’s just a taster of the many inspiring small businesses in Wales today.

Small businesses leading the way in Wales

The Chocolate Froglet, TenbyThe Chocolate Froglet Tenby An old fishmongers in a side street of Tenby, is now transformed into a tantalising and charming chocolate shop.

Watch as Karen makes the chocolates in front of you, and choose from the huge selection of truffles, chocolates, fudges, treats and hot drinks. The quality of the chocolate is superb.

Flavour combinations are inspired by cuisine and ingredients from across the globe. In a nut shell, going in this shop will make you and your kids smile.

Cwtch Cafe Pembroke Dock A calm and warm haven Cwtch Cafe is artistically decorated with doors for tables and local art on display.

With friendly owners enjoy quality coffee, home made breads and flavoursome food. The odd cocktail and film night is on offer, and I hear a gallery down stairs may be in the pipeline…

Ffwrn Fishguard A new offering in Fishguard, the owners (very nice French and Welsh), have converted the old town hall into a beautiful French influenced open-plan café/bar.

A long banquet style table sets the scene for social gatherings, and the large French paintings, piano, vintage TV, barrels of beer and delicious fresh pastries all help to create a lovely homely atmosphere.

A perfect setting for musicians to do their thing, they recently showcased some of the best acts at jazz n blues festival Aberjazz.

More like this in Pembrokeshire please!

Vintage GoodsGigi, Fishguard Vintage is big in the cities, but the branded clothes seem to take over in the Shire. So when I come across this little shop I was thrilled.

It was so homely and well decorated I thought it had been there for months but it had just opened. Find old radios, one-off designer clothes and vintage accessories.

The pulling power is simple, be different, stand out from the crowd and discover a new you with a classic vintage find.

No website as yet, but the shop has opened as an extension to Edelweiss Antiques, Gigi is situated at 8a Main Street, Fishguard.

Nom Nom Chocolate Founder Liam Burgess is a Carmarthenshire lad with a love for chocolate. Liam and the team use local produce to create luscious chocolate with interesting flavours such as Welsh lavender and peanut butter.

I sense a strong brand that appeals to the locals, the foodies and those in the know. I look forward to the website and growing popularity of Nom Nom Chocolate.

Black Dragon Crafts In the Carmarthenshire countryside, Annie Wealleans and her team create Celtic inspired, hand crafted jewellery from scratch using pure, naked pewter.

This is an inspiring, ethical and environmentally friendly business.

To give you a taste of how this is achieved take a look at the website, they take you through the process of the jewellery making. I hear they’ve recently enjoyed success in the US..


Cadwaladers Starting out in 1927 in Criccieth making ice cream, they’ve expanded their offerings to hot food and drink with cafes throughout Wales.

Their friendly and positive nature (and delicious ice-cream) has helped to build up a huge following and compete with the branded coffee shops.

They post tweets of their ice creams, welcome dogs and give a 10% discount to NHS staff. There’re onto a winner.

Llaeth y Llan Yogurts I had to include this great little co. The draw is simple, high quality yogurt produced in the lush countryside of North Wales.

It’s become a familiar staple in the supermarket (along with a whole load of other Welsh produce). The website is friendly and open, with their story, recipes, competitions and easy contact routes.

The yogurt is delicious and its always good to hear the non Welsh pronounce the ll!

I Loves The DiffI Loves The ‘Diff An innovative company selling quirky Welsh humoured inspired gifts.

They make everything fun and keep their business at the heart of Cardiff and Welsh goings on. Always tweeting and posting funny pics, they’ve built up a huge following.

The website is the right combination of not too cluttered but with enough links and images to keep you interested, it’s also very user friendly and easy to buy from. They’ve made it big using their Welsh roots and humour as a basis for their marketing campaigns…

Just a few examples of the many out there, it’s clear the small business is making a comeback.

And it’s great to see the Welsh brand growing outside of Wales. It seems we (the Welsh) are finally starting to realise our potential!

If they can do it so can you

In future posts I will explore what it is that makes a small business successful.

I’ll give some practical ideas based on my own and others’ experiences, on how you can find your unique pulling power and give yourself an edge to draw in the customers and keep them coming in.

There are so many more great small businesses out there in all shapes and sizes, which I will no doubt include in later posts.

Let me know if you are one and have something to offer to small business enthusiasts, I’ll write about you in my blog.

About Me

I’m a freelance writer with a background in marketing.

If you would like me to write for your website, marketing or for your publication, then please do get in touch.


Need some content?

Content marketing. A creative tool, a means to attract and engage. Great for SEO. 

Gone are the days where marketing solely involved producing a flyer, ad or newspaper article. Those easy days are gone.

I’m not discounting traditional methods, it can attract a pool of customers who are not responding to online methods, but producing informative and engaging content is the way to go.

A few things to think about

Where are you putting the content.

Your website, a blog, a guest blog, social media, an email… There are different tactics for each platform.

Is it SEO optimised.

Google and other search engines favour high quality content. The right use of keywords, title tags and meta descriptions help, along with a host of other factors. It’s an on-going process defining what makes good SEO.

Promote it well.

Social media works for all businesses. Use it to your advantage. Use good quality photos, images and videos to help your content get noticed. Endorsements from champions in your field can work wonders.

And obviously what you write is important.

This is where a copywriter shines. Think about what you want to achieve, what your customers want to know, the tone, length and timing of your content.

How I can help

I can write some fresh, interesting and SEO optimised content for you. 

Through some creative and targeted copy, I’ll help you build a strong brand and customer base.

I’m an experienced copywriter with a background in marketing. I regularly blog and write my own online articles, and I’m passionate in helping out small businesses. See my service.

My customers vary from small businesses, creative start-ups, marketing agencies, B2B and publishing companies.

Prices start at £120 for a 1000 word blog or article.

Contact me for an informal chat about your requirements.



Love Pembrokeshire? I’ve started a new travel blog…

Summer 2014 – Pembrokeshire

OfficeGirlTravelBlog is my new project starting this summer. Since returning from London a couple of years ago, I’m re-discovering Pembrokeshire through fresh eyes, exploring coastline, countryside and town life.  My aim is to walk the full coastal path, stopping off at some quirky local haunts, cosy cafés and nice secluded spots. I’ll also be interviewing some locals and tourists – so to give you another view of Pembs.

This will very much be a novice blog. Even though I grew up here, there are many parts I haven’t explored. I’m more used to fighting my way onto the tube, rather than climbing challenging cliffs!

Follow me on my journey. You can subscribe to my travel posts, there’ll be lots of pics, some reviews of places and businesses, and interviews from the people of Pembs – visitors and tourists alike.

Please comment as much as possible and if you would like me to review any part of Pembs please let me know 🙂


Music reviews

The World Music Expo (Womex). Part 2 of my review.

Womex. The networking sessions.

The networking sessions at a World Music Expo are not your typical suit wearing and card swapping affair.

They are a get-together of colourful characters and influential music professionals from across the globe, all eagerly there to champion their cause, listen and take action. 

Each session starts with a short talk from a selected topic. Anyone and everyone attends. You don’t have to be directly involved or connected to the talks.

But if you are, it’s an ideal opportunity to speak with like-minded people, share ideas and form relationships.

First up was Women of the World and it was the most memorable for me. Every space in the room was taken with near 100 ladies (and 1 man.. hello Bill Bragen!) with tea available if you desired.

Hosted by the lovely Allie Silver (USA/Argentina Free Radical Productions), this session is designed simply to give women a chance to talk and get to know each other.

Everyone had a short stint on the microphone. You get a good overview of the different reasons people attend Womex.

There was no pretension in this room. All ladies listened and collectively encouraged each other to talk. A good one to go to if you’re new to the event.

Womex 2013 Exhibition
Womex 2013 Exhibition

The North American session was bustling with big characters, lively chat and positive interactions. And as you would expect, was about doing and making things happen.

There was an air of confidence and instant togetherness in the room. Dmitri Vietze (USA Rock Paper Scissors) was a flamboyant and encouraging host and got everyone involved.

The Forum of African Music session was also packed. You couldn’t help but feel the energy and passion about music here. It seems there is a well-established and talked about community already set up.

It really felt like I was walking in on a continuing conversation with discussions on the efforts and achievements already achieved in the African music scene.

Throughout this event you would not have missed Jessica Mbangeni. A well known influential artist and poet who often gave us bursts of song and prose for us to enjoy. A real Queen Bee milling round the event.

The Atlantic Music Expo session had a similar feel. This was formed to represent the new music Expo for Cape Verde, Africa, and both sides of the Atlantic. This year held in the Cape Verde capital Praia.

The emphasis was on how music is a strong commodity and how it has the potential to enrich your country socially and economically, with discussions on how you could tap into the world music scene.

Sessions for The World Trad Forum (about traditional music) and Liet International: The Song Contest in European Minority Languages were not without energy and passion.

Both had smaller groups, but with the advantage that you can get to the point quickly and come together to make things happen.

The last one I attended was The Education Network. This was fascinating. I believe there should be a stronger focus in music in schools and the community.

I discovered it can be used as an effective learning tool to help in other subjects and personal development.

I have a feeling this network will grow each year. There’s a lot to talk about and achieve in music education. I’d be interested to hear what people think about this.

Womex 2013. Review by Vanessa Williams CopywriterOther conference talks included: World Music, Diversity and Democracy – examining the role of music in social protest. I heard a lot of people talking about this one.

Jazz and World Networking Meeting. As you would expect some interesting characters attended. I would have liked to be a fly on the wall.

And Growing Your Audience, Social Media Strategies and Innovations. Some innovative and creative examples of social media campaigns here with an opportunity to brainstorm ideas and debate the benefits of social media. Again another one I would have liked to attend.

See the showcase here and find an insight into the trends of the World Music scene today.

Womex is an open and encouraging event. Everyone had a strong sense of responsibility to promote their cause.

I found myself thinking about the worth of music as a commodity, in education and in bringing communities and countries together.

And more than anything I re-discovered my love for music. You can’t not by attending this event!

If you are passionate about World Music, the music scene of today or if you want to find new ways to promote your own or your country’s music, this event is for you.

Discover where the next Womex will be held.

I am a freelance copywriter in Pembrokeshire.

If you would like me to cover your event or write for your business get in touch.