Blog Archives

MYnetwork feature in The Huddersfield Examiner

You can see the original copy of the MYnetwork feature on The Huddersfield Examiner website or see page 8 of the digital version of the Kirklees Business News. 

Business Profile: Clare Walters (Dovetail Divorce Solutions)

Clare Walters - Director of Dovetail Divorce Solutions

Current Job Position?  I am the director of Dovetail Divorce Solutions.
Best thing about your job?  I am part of a movement that is changing the way we get divorced. Instead of approaching it with a fight in mind, we are promoting collaborative divorce where you agree to part amicably and come to mutual agreement about the finances and the arrangements for the children. The reason that I am so passionate about encouraging people to look in to divorcing this way is because it means that you part on good terms and you can stay that way after the legal stuff is over. I call it divorce for grown-ups.
Worst thing about your Job? My part in the proceedings is to support people as they go through the process, helping them to see a positive way forward and this can be hard especially when children are involved: you cannot avoid causing them some upset and disruption but you can minimise the guilt and fear that they feel and you can be aware of the pitfalls and common mistakes that parents make.
Favourite Restaurant in Huddersfield?  On evenings off I like to go to The Foresters in Lower Cumberworth, it is a proper pub with proper locals and it does great beer and good food, on a summer’s evening it is near enough to walk to. What is not to like?
Your best achievement?  Is helping people to feel better, it happens most days and feels equally great each time! We each have a judge in our head that spends a lot of its time putting us down, this does not help us but makes us feel wretched and defensive, anxious and depressed. I get people to realise that we are actually doing the best we can and we have an opportunity to learn from our mistakes, this makes them go easier on themselves. We have to make a conscious decision to take this approach and keep practicing: old habits die hard!
Interest and Hobbies? In my spare time, and there isn’t much of it as I also run a company that trains therapists and coaches in mindfulness techniques, I walk the dog. This may not sound like much but this is a springer spaniel and if you know any you will understand: they are NEVER tired. I also have 4 grown children, three of them in the South of England so I am up and down on the train quite a bit.
What do you value most about being a member of a networking group? I love the connections you can make, once you sit down and really listen to what people do and what they are passionate about there is nearly always somebody you know who can help them.

Linked In



Clare Walters 


Dovetail Divorce Services 

Mid Yorkshire Network – March

Take a look at some of the photos from this month’s MYnetwork meet up held at Cafe Ollo in The Media Centre.

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MYnetwork is a friendly, informal networking event held every 3rd Wednesday of the month at The Media Centre from 9am-11am. If you want to become a member join the group on Linked In – Mid Yorkshire Network.  

Visit our Facebook Page ‘ME Consultancy Ltd to look at photo’s taken from previous meet ups and if you do happen to visit please ‘Like’ our page to keep up to date with everything going on at SMileS. 

MYNetwork feature in The Huddersfield Examiner

MYNetwork links West Yorkshire businesses

You can also read this article on The Examiner Website.

NETWORKING group based in Huddersfield is combining new technology and tradition to bring businesses together across West Yorkshire.

The Mid Yorkshire Network – which makes use of online communications and old-fashioned face-to-face meetings – began life three years ago under its original name of the Kirklees and Calderdale Business Group.

Following a rebrand last August, the newly-named MYNetwork now has more than 900 members – and continues to grow in numbers.

About half of its members are business people from Huddersfield and Halifax with the rest drawn from surrounding areas.

 The network holds monthly meetings at the Media Centre in Northumberland Street, but also hosts online discussions about business issues with members staying in touch through the LinkedIn site.

First MYnetwork of 2012

Today was the first Mid Yorkshire Network meet up of 2012 at Cafe Ollo, The Media Centre. If you haven’t heard about this networking group before it’s held every 3rd Wednesday of the Month at The Media Centre and encourages business to come along and enjoy some informal and friendly networking. The group first started on Linked In  and the partners of the events are ourselves (ME Consultancy/SMileS), Ramsdens, Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and The Media Centre.

Well this year’s first MYnework started with a bang. The attendence of the event was fantastic not only did we get to catch up with familar faces of the group but we also got to meet lots of new faces; who have either only just learnt aboutthe networking group or have only just got round to attending a meet up. As always it was great to learn about all the new projects and plans members have for the upcoming months, but it was also great to bring a new energy to the group through all the new faces. We always look forward to welcoming new members to the meet ups as it generates more propects within the group and helps develop new business relationships.

We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone that attended the meet up today and if you didn’t get chance to come along today why not try come along to the next meet up which will be held on Wednesday 15th February.

Below are a few photos taken at the meet up today; if you want to see more please head over to Facebook and hit ‘Like’ to see all photos from the album ‘First MYnetwork of 2012’.

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Business Profile: Howard Rushfirth (Rushfirth Creative)

Howard Rushfirth - Rushfirth Creative

Current Job Position? 
Creative Director and co-owner of Rushfirth Creative,
Creative Director and co-owner of Schools Teaching Enterprise Programme Ltd. (AKA STEPteam)
Best thing about your job?  Being paid to do the thing I love most and do best
Worst thing about your Job? Not having enough hours in the day.
Favourite Restaurant in Huddersfield?  Being relatively new to Kirklees (I live and work on the Leeds/Wakefield extremities of the district) I don’t get over to Huddersfield that often, mostly to the MY Network meetings.
Your best achievement?  Being a major player in the creation and production of the brand identity for premium ranges of TWO major supermarket retailers.
Interest and Hobbies? The precious spare time I have is spent with my wife Kathryn and my three children.
What do you value most about being a member of a networking group? It’s essential for small businesses to ‘expand their team’.

Linked In



Howard Rushfirth


Rushfirth Creative


I was born in a small house in Garforth in the Spring of 1970. And after a spending a year or two of behaving like a complete baby (literally), I made an important discovery.

I liked to draw.

Everything went in through my eyes, spun around in my head, flowed back down through my right arm and pushed its way out the end of a wax crayon creating my own unique reinterpretation of the world around me.

No one asked me to do it, or taught me to do it, or even particularly encouraged me to do it. I just did it. And did it. And did it.

40+ years later, I’m still doing the same thing. Sure, during the last 22 years, the crayon has been substituted by a ‘mouse’ with a little picture of an apple on it. But the drive and the principle remains the same. I’ve illustrated nationally distributed children’s books (at the tender age of 16) and created cartoons for comics. I’ve created corporate signage schemes for big-name high street retail, banking and pub chains. I’ve created branding for premium ranges for several major supermarket retailers. I’ve run press ad campaigns and story-boarded for film and television.

And I still like to draw.

With my wife Kathryn, I run Rushfirth Creative, a small but perfectly formed creative agency offering a wide range of expertise for those serious about moving their business forward through good design. Design that not only looks good, but gets results within the marketplace. If you want to find out a bit more, our website is a really good place to start. I also tweet all kinds of stuff (and nonsense, on occasion) on Twitter. We’d also love you to ‘like’ and interact with us on our dedicated Facebook page. Most of all it would be nice to meet up- we try to get to the MY Network meetings whenever we can- so perhaps see you around!

SMileS & MEC at Kirklees Business Conference 2011

Yesterday was the long awaited Kirklees Business Conference. We were proud sponsors of the event and the day was a great success for all involved for generating new contacts and generating potential business leads.

On the day we were exhibiting on stands 24 & 25 and joined forces with Code Blue communications to combine our resources and offer a wider range of products and services for our clients. We also exhibited as SMileS SMS – our online SMS platform. We had a great reception from many delegates at the conference with many wanting to learn more about SMS marketing and many had heard of SMileS before.

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As a sponsor of the event we sent out a reminder text to all members who had registered their mobile number for the event, which was a great start of for introducing what we do when people visited our stand. The conference had a brilliant friendly atmosphere, not only did we see many familiar faces but met lots of potential new contacts. We also got a chance to visit some of the great seminars that were running throughout the day including ‘Nicky Pattinson – Show Business Selling’ and ‘Dean Hoyle – A frank Q&A with Kirklees highest profile entrepreneur ‘. In Dean Hoyle’s seminar he answered questions from the audience. Prior to the seminar Danny Mathuru had asked each person attending the seminar to think of a question they wanted to ask; and from this eleven were selected. Within those questions selected was from Mark Evans, the owner of SMileS & MEC. The question he asked Dean was ‘No matter how nicely you try to treat people around you, some people can shock you at how they behave in return. Did this ever worry you, but more importantly, how did you respond?’ Dean’s answer would make your jaw drop, his biggest rival had spoken to all its suppliers and forced them to stop supplying Dean, meaning he lost 70% of his supplies overnight.  Rather than let this get him down, Dean turned the card industry upside down, he employed a team of designers, printers etc all in house meaning he no longer relied on those previous suppliers.  This made Dean’s business very agile and stripped the inflated costs out too.  Dean came back stronger, cheaper and more profitable.  And the rest is history, well done Dean.

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MYnetwork September Meet Up

Today’s Mid Yorkshire Network (MYnetwork) meet up was a great success drawing in lots of familar faces aswell as many new ones. The meetup started at the earlier time of 9am which we thought might reduce the number of members attending the event but there was still a great turnout, and many members even mentioned they liked the 9am time slot.

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The next MYnetwork meet up will be held at the Kirklees Business Conference at 5.30pm. This will be a great chance to wind down from a busy day of networking by having a friendly chat and drink with contacts you’ve met throughout the day and to catch up with fellow MYnetwork members.

As you may have seen in the ‘Mid Yorkshire Network’ Linked In discussion we’ve been running a MYnetwork poll looking into changing the day and venue of meet ups. The two choices were between the 3rd Friday, 12pm at Voda Bar or keep 3rd Wednesday,10am at Media Centre. The poll ended today and ended on a draw with 50% of members voting for changing to Voda Bar and 50% of members voting to keep meetups as they are. Many of the partners were also asking member today what there preference was with many saying they liked to keep the event on a Wednesday as there isn’t many other networking events in Huddersfield that run on a Wednesday. With all this in mind the partners of the MYnetwork will discuss the networking event further and we will let you know when and where the October meet up will take place through Linked In. So please make sure you look out for any MYnetwork meetup updates.


Business Profile: Maxine Stead (Alexandra House Spa)

Maxine Stead - Owner of Alexandra House Spa

First Job? Washing up in a local pub for £1 an hour!
Current job position? Owner, Alexandra House Health Spa in Huddersfield.
Best thing about your job? Working in a happy, positive environment, giving people time and space to relax. Seeing people arrive stressed and leave by floating out on air.
The worst thing about your job? Paying my VAT bill.
Your favourite restaurant in Huddersfield? Thai Sakon
Your best achievement? Giving up a well-paid career in cancer research to set up a business in an area in which I had no experience just as the country went into recession – and still being here 4 years later and still growing.
What do you value most about being a member of a network group? Peer support and meeting like-minded people, many of whom have become friends, which has been a real bonus.
Interest and hobbies? I practice Iyengar yoga every week, enjoy going to gym classes, love travelling, practice meditation, and of course shopping!


Autumn Newsletter – Spa Offers & News

Linked In:Twitter:


Maxine SteadAlexHouseSpa

Alexandra House Spa


Age: 40

Lives in: Liversedge, divorced, no kids

Qualifications: Degree in Pharmacology and Physiology, PhD in Quality of Life in Cancer, Indian Head Massage, Reiki level 2

Previous jobs: Project Manager in cancer research, working mainly within the NHS to coordinate research across the country as part of a huge government-funded project.

Spa history: Set up spa in 2007 with 2 staff, now employ 7 people. Awarded 4 Bubbles (equivalent to 4 star hotel rating) by the Good Spa Guide in 2010. Won a few local awards too. Spa has 4 treatment rooms and 3 relaxation rooms. Offers individual treatments or longer pampering packages. Treatments include massage, facials, reflexology, reiki, body wraps, hot stone massage, Indian head massage, Hopi ear candles.

Goals: After leaving the political and negative environment of the NHS, setting up the spa and going through a painful divorce, I’ve found myself on a spiritual path and now try to live life with a more positive attitude. I really try and live in the present moment. As a result I feel much calmer and happier in life. At the spa I’m hoping to share my experiences and help other people change their lives too.


Good Spa Guide, Awarded 4 Bubbles, Said These holistic treatment rooms, tucked away in a Victorian mansion house, have a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Knowledgeable staff, effective treatments, gorgeous Karin Herzog products, and some of the best cake we’ve ever eaten. A slice of heaven just off the M62. No wonder Sedate Spy didn’t want to leave.

Won Eaton Smith ‘Business of the Month Award’ for February 2011 followed by being Runner Up in their Annual Awards in July 2011.

The spa  was placed 22nd in the top 30 Most Inspiring Spas 2011 by industry magazine Professional Beauty. It is the first time that Alexandra House has appeared in the list, which highlights the spa businesses that most impress and influence the industry.

We’re going to be celebrating our 4 year anniversary in September and to celebrate we’re offering the following package:

Anniversary Pampering – Robe, slippers, drinks, cakes, two 30-minute treatments for £49. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offers. Bookings for Tuesday-Fridays until 14 October 2011.

Case Study:The Pharmacy Show use SMS campaign as a reminder service

The Pharmacy Show, held on 10-11 October 2010 at the NEC, Birmingham, UK, and organised by Closer Still Media, is billed as the UK’s most important Pharmacy Industry event. Closer Still Media reports that this year’s show clocked up a record attendance.

The event’s marketing team decided  to run an SMS marketing campaign to increase both the number of pre-registrants to the event and the conversion rate of pre-registrants to attendees.

Text messages were sent out three days before the event to remind pre-registrants to attend, and to prompt previous registrants to attend. The previous registrants were asked to respond to register for the 2010 event. Of these, 6 per cent replied ‘Yes’. Closer Still Media reports that 80 per cent of these respondents actually attended the event.

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