As International Women’s Day approaches - as well as Mother's Day, so we thought our customers might like to learn a little about the women behind our firm. It may surprise you to know the staff and freelancers who work for Angels’ Share Glass are practically all female and most are mothers.
That may be because the firm offers flexible working practices allowing for part-time hours and times which fit around the school day.
It’s a family-friendly approach which starts from the top down with MD Karen Somerville who juggles the day-to-day running of the firm with meeting the needs of her two young sons – one at high school and one at primary.
She says: “Family is important to me and although the business takes up my time in the office during the day and sometimes when I’m home in the evening too, the essential factor is that I’m available for my boys when they need me.
“Working at Angels’ Share Glass means I can run the family business and be at the school gate or events like a school play when I need to.
“It’s the same for the people who work for me – I understand things can sometimes happen with kids and as long as the work gets done I’m happy.”
She adds: “I actually find working mothers can be the most productive staff because they know they need to get everything done in a certain time and just get on with it. They’ve no time to waste!”
Admin Assistant Helen Kerr is Karen’s right-hand woman when it comes to the smooth running of the firm.
A long-time family friend, she started by working a few hours a week in an administration role during the early days - growing with the firm and now also handling customer service and dispatch.
The mum-of-three works a flexible 22 hours a week during the school day so she’s always home in time to collect her youngest child from primary school.
She says: “It’s a fantastic job, a great environment to work in and I really feel part of the business having grown with it and helped it grow.
“When we started out, I was working in Karen’s bedroom with an ironing board as a desk for my laptop and packing boxes in her parents’ living room.
“Now we’re in the business park and the office is busy every day as we send out hundreds of orders across the world every week.
“I like the flexibility at ASG and the fact Karen understands when there’s a problem and family has to come first – it a good work/life balance.”
Eileen Schultz, the firm’s part-time accounts assistant, also works school hours to fit in with the needs of her three young children.
She says: “It’s great to work within the school day and to know everyone in the office is in the same boat so understands what can happen with kids. A boss who is also a mother gets this which is brilliant.
“There’s also a real team spirit where people are consulted and their opinions are valued.
“We bounce ideas off each other and I’m asked about things that have nothing to do with keeping the books! It’s good to feel so involved in the business.”
Glassmaker Bee Hardy moved from Yorkshire to take up the chance to work for Angels’ Share Glass in glassblowing and design.
Her family still live there and Bee, who won fame as a contestant on Channel 4 programme `Monty Don’s Hard Craft’, makes regular visits home to see them.
She says: “What I like about Angels’ Share Glass is the relaxed atmosphere and flexibility.
“Even when we’re busy, the bosses don’t mind if I work late some nights so I can leave on a Thursday night to go home for a long weekend.
“If the work gets done, that’s fine. I also like the flexibility we have to be creative and come up with ideas.
“As a woman in glassmaking you’re expected to make jewellery not design unusual creations like chandeliers filled with whisky! I love the chance to buck the trend!”
PR Manager Rachel Blackburn has a local communications business (Blackburn Communications) and covers PR, Blogs and other writing services for Karen.
She says: “As a freelance, I like the fact that Karen and her family make you feel part of the business which in turn makes me feel very invested in the firm’s future.
“As a mother, the hours suit me as our meetings take place during school time so I can still collect my daughters after school.
“And as someone who works for myself and generally alone, I like being included in ASG social events such as staff nights out and the annual Christmas lunch – being a freelance worker can get lonely otherwise!”
Marketing Consultant Ina Pabat-Stroe lives on the outskirts of Glasgow and combines working for clients like Angels’ Share Glass with a busy family life, which includes two small boys and a five-month-old puppy.
She says: “It’s difficult to get back into work as a mother – and I had a hard time finding the right formula to balance it all, but that’s one of the reasons Angel’s Share Glass is such a pleasure to work with.
“Work becomes a delight when you’re not stressed or wondering if your family is taken care of.
“Many people are surprised (and a bit jealous) when I tell them I bring my dog to work. Poppy has become a bit of an Instagram star because of the company - every now and again she makes it into our feed because she is so cute (and cheeky).
“I feel lucky to work with an innovative company producing unique objects which remains down to earth - grounded in the reality of balancing work and home so people can be happy and fulfilled.”
Another woman who helps drive the business forward is sales assistant Jen Kidd who works a couple of mornings a week to help Karen increase trade sales.
She has three children, including a three-year-old, and works while her daughter is in playgroup.
She said: “I’ve known Karen and Helen since we were at school together and enjoy working with them.
“It’s a small team of mostly women and there’s a family-friendly atmosphere. It’s also exciting to be part of a young company which is still growing.”
Photographer Janie Meikle Bland runs social enterprise Picture the Possible and works for ASG on a freelance basis photographing new products and going on location with Karen to events such as whisky festivals and trade fairs.
The mum-of-three says: “I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to learn about whisky and get a real understanding of the product which I didn’t have before and it’s wonderful to spend time with whisky lovers.
“The job fits in well with family life and it’s a fun place to work – it’s great to work for a flexible company with someone like Karen who is creative and open to ideas.”
Internet Marketing Consultant Nicola Young runs her own marketing firm (SEOcials Ltd) as well as being a Whisky Ambassador at The Scotch Malt Whisky Society and co-owning WhiskyBoys.
She started working for ASG in December looking after the firm’s internet marketing as and when required. Nicola, who has two daughters and works from her Cumbernauld home, says: “The job works well for me in terms of fitting it around my home life and it’s great to be involved in whisky festivals and events.
“I’ve a real passion for whisky so it’s fantastic to have a client who is involved in whisky industry and who is also very close to home.”
International Women’s Day takes place on Wednesday March 8 and this year’s campaign theme is Be Bold For Change, while Mother's Day will be celebrated on the 26th of March this year.