Hello, my name is Kate Bell. I started my first business out of necessity rather than choice. I married my childhood sweetheart at only 21 and I gave birth to our beautiful daughter at only 22. With less than 1 year of marriage behind us, my husband left to be with a friend of mine, leaving me heartbroken and sole career for my new born. I was determined to support myself and working from home after my daughter went to bed seemed like my best option. I began as a freelance writer and went on to establish a media agency which has now been trading for over 15 years.
When my daughter was 3, I meet the man who would help to repair my broken heart. We married in 2007 and soon decided we wanted to expand our family. Sadly Mother Nature had other plans and the years that follows brought with it 5 soul destroying miscarriages. As with any obstacle I face, I tackled it head on and decided to read and research everything I could to discover a possible cause. In 2013, with the help of medication and daily injections, our baby girl finally arrived! Having spent so long living in limbo, I was beyond ecstatic and felt so incredibly empowered and ready to start living life to the full.
During my pregnancy, I had realised there was a huge gap in the market for a product that could expand my own jacket. I didn’t want to invest in a maternity coat which I would only use for such a short time, so began to design a solution that would work for me. With my new found energy, I was more than ready to launch my second business and so in 2014 Zip Us In began selling the innovative Jacket Expander Panel. 5 years on and I have just secured our first investor, a deal which values the company at £1m. In just 4 years, Zip Us In has gone from my kitchen table to global brand. I have created a unique and patented product that has won 8 awards and I have been awarded Barclays Entrepreneur of the year for my region as well as VentureFests Innovator of the year.
The journey has been full of up’s and down’s just as my life has been. We have come so close to insolvency on more than one occasion, risking our home to build a business I have put my heart and soul in to. I continue to run both businesses as a solo entrepreneur and would not change a second of the journey that has gotten to me this place. Every failure has been a lesson and no doubt they’ll be more to come!