There is always a first time

Posted by Greg Jacobs on 18/02/2014

As a housewife and mother Simeone Salik, 67, from London, put her ambitions on ice. Then, two years ago, she landed her first job.

‘Working mothers were a rarity in my day. I’d always been intrigued by the business world, and going to meetings and brainstorming really appealed to me, but I had to leave that to my husband, Gordon, who was an optometrist. My job was to keep the house tidy and bring up our three children, though I sometimes helped Gordon with admin.

‘Then, two years ago, I had a business idea. We’d just moved into our retirement bungalow, and whilst furnishing it I realised how little choice there was when you need temporary instant window dressings. After lots of research which involved learning how to use the internet I designed a paper blind that sticks to the top of the window and can be cut to size, working from a memory of one I’d seen years ago.

After getting advice from people we knew, I launched Blinds in a Box. But there wasn’t much revenue behind my internet business, so I decided to go on the TV programme Dragons’ Den. Two of the dragons invested £40,000 in my company, so I could afford staff and promotion.

‘It has been a steep learning curve, but I’m proud to say my blinds are now stocked in Argos and the business is in profit. I usually work for three hours a day, sometimes longer.

‘They say that you either use it or loose it, and running a business has certainly been good for my brain. I’m learning new things all the time, and have so much to remember. I project manage, deal with customer services and do radio interviews. Being an older business woman makes me more cautious and budget-conscious, which can only be a good thing right now. it also means I make an effort to look the part, and dressing up stops me being a fuddy-duddy. For once, my eight grandchildren think I’m cool!’

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