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It’s our aim at the Bristol Hub to celebrate and promote local businesses. This is why we are giving an award for a business man and woman who have done great things in their line of work in the city.
The first Bristol Hub Business Woman of the Month Award is very well deserved. In order to find the best candidate, we posted in a few local groups asking for nominations. This woman must be doing an incredible job because literally every single nomination was for her.
Bristol Hub are proud to announce that our business woman of the month award for January goes to the brilliant Abby Pickles. Abby manages HappiMe, and judging from the amount of people who have recommended her for this award, she does an amazing job at it.
I recently asked Abby a few questions about her business and how it came about. Here’s what she had to say..
Who is HappiMe and what do you do?
HappiMe is a non-profit Community Interest Company on a mission to improve confidence and self-esteem in young people, along with encouraging positive mental health.
We do this by providing bespoke, 1:1 and small group coaching; as well as a variety of different therapies to the young people who need it most. These include CBT, NLP, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Matrix, art-therapy, psychotherapy and counselling. We also offer books, free apps, targeted training and workshops for both children, young people and the adults who work with them. We offer this support both in schools, with social services and privately through parents and self-referral.
Personally, I work mostly within Bristol and BANES, from the comfort of my home office and therapy room, but I also offer online sessions using Skype and Zoom to families all over the world.
How did you get into starting the business?
Around 5-6 years ago, I was suffering with high-level anxiety and mental health issues. These came as a result of a disclosure I made about abuse in my past.
With the immense help of my Mum, Jo Richings, a successful business coach and my co-director at HappiMe, I decided to work on myself – studying hard, accessing various therapies and then training in them.
My journey to recovery went on to enable me to empathise with my clients, from a place of genuine understanding.
After extensive training, and working on getting back to my “true-self”, we started HappiMe. Thanks to a couple of big-breaks from a few local secondary schools back in 2015, we have only gone from strength to strength since!
How long has the business been running for?
A fun, exciting and life-changing 4-years.
How many employees do you have?
HappiMe is more of a family than a team. Working alongside Jo and I, we have a number of “helpers”, volunteers, trainers, coaches and practitioners. There are around 7 of us in total!
What is the most rewarding part of running your own business?
Having the honour to work with amazing young people and families we come into contact with each day. Ultimately, seeing a young person grow and develop throughout the time we work together is the reason I do what I do!
What has been the most difficult part of it?
The beginning, when I was still learning how to “leave work at work”. I’m 24, so I found it so humbling to see how so many children and young people, some not much younger than me, manage to cope and get through some of the worst mental health disorders, abuse and neglect imaginable. This is something that I think I will always find quite hard… For me, I think this really put my “leap” to self-employment into perspective!
Any plans to expand in the future?
Yes, definitely! We are looking forward to bringing more coaches and therapists into the HappiMe family – as unfortunately, the “need” for mental health support is so great at the moment – there just aren’t enough of us.
We are also planning a project that will aim to reach over 2,000 families living in some level of urban deprivation in South Bristol, by supporting over 24 groups of young people each year, over 5-years; teaching them how to manage their emotions, get in control of their mental health, preparing them for work and further-education, along with general support and preparation for living a successful and fulfilling life after secondary school.
Any advice to young people in the area looking to start a business?
Don’t give up!
Believe in yourself… Because you are the only person that can really get in your way. Work hard, read books and articles, watch videos, immerse yourself in self/personal-development and surround yourself with people who will help you grow. Set clear goals and set your sights high!
Thank you so much to Abby for taking the time to answer our questions in some detail! Check our her cool certificate!