We speak to Rachel Loaring, Founder and Managing Director of Revive Medicare Limited. A self-starter who chose to open a business in Sheffield, Rachel’s early ambitions included being an astronaut and a champion skier – and why not?
What were your early ambitions?
I have very early memories of being fascinated by space and this naturally led to an assumption that one day, I’d be an astronaut. Mum would go on to tell me about the 1969 moon landings, and Dad would buy “Reader’s Digest” encyclopaedias on the subject to satisfy my curiosity. At 8 I decided that I’d like to be a world class downhill skier, fuelled by the drama and excitement ofSki Sunday. I’d never worn a pair of skis, but I remember thinking that if I could just copy Franz Klammer’s moves, all would be well. How hard could it be? The nearest my sister and I got to skiing was binding planks of wood to our wellies and whizzing down to the bottom of our garden in the snow. I usually ended up in a heap, winded, but this never stopped us from implementing any of our crazy ideas.
What support have you had in your career?
Without a doubt the confidence my parents had in me helped me massively in my early career. Sadly, they both developed cancer when I was in my mid-twenties and subsequently passed away, but focusing on my career seemed to help with the enormous emotional challenges of having two parents poorly at the same time, and the aftermath. I would say that no longer having a fall-back position also encourages a sense of purpose. By the time I was 25, I’d read Molecular Biology & Immunology at King’s College, London and was managing the UK’s Doping Control programme for the Sports Council. It was at around this time I started thinking about doing something for myself, but it would be another 8 years before I formulated the right plan and acted on it. The catalyst for starting Revive was the birth of my son, who’s now 10. My previous job involved a lot of travel. It was a personal choice but I didn’t want to be away from him for long periods of time so I quit my job and started experimenting with selling skin care products on the internet.
I started with capital of £200 and 6 product lines and I was happy to get 10 orders a day in the early months. We now have over 400 product lines and on a busy day we can process up to 300 orders. The support of my partner, my family and my friends has all been positive, so I consider myself to be very fortunate in that respect. Networking has become increasingly important in the last few years and I’ve recently made two beneficial alliances with local business experts who are acting as mentors in the journey ahead.
Where did you set your business up and why?
After living in London and Cheshire I moved to Sheffield for work in 2003 and was sold on the city immediately. I’ve always travelled in my jobs so know a lot of UK cities well but for me Sheffield is like the beating heart of the country – it’s full of life and vitality, and its rhythm is strangely comforting. On the one hand it feels small because the communities are so close and on the other hand it’s an international venue.
The big pull for me personally though is it’s outdoor city status. We climb, we mountain bike, we run, we walk. We’re just 5 minutes drive from the Peak District and the most breathtaking countryside. The next three to five years is going to be about the development and expansion of my business. I’m moving into bigger premises and growing our product lines. Key to this is being in the right city; one that supports business growth but also gives me the lifestyle to balance work and play.
What is the most challenging thing about your job and what is the most rewarding?
For the first five years, I did everything myself. I ordered the stock, I processed the customer orders, I made trips to the Post Office and I did the accounts. My job now is totally different. I now have four members of staff and I’ve had to more or less remove myself from the day to day operations to focus on business development, but that’s a challenge. The key I would say is to employ quality people and then trust them to do their jobs. The most rewarding aspect is seeing my business grow.
If you were giving careers advice to your 14 year-old self, what would you say?
I spent a lot of time day dreaming as a teenager. Nowadays, it’s what’s called “blue sky thinking.” It’s an important part of business, giving yourself the time and space that you need to shape your way forward and imagine your future – reach for the stars and you might just touch the moon. There is still a lot of emphasis on academic achievement but it’s important to remember it’s a very small part of a complete person and it works best in tandem with imagination and creativity. Finally, if you have no idea what you are interested in, or in which direction you’d like to go, don’t sweat it. Take a year off, sit on a beach in Australia for six months and have a good think. It certainly did me the world of good!
You can get free and impartial advice to help you set up and grow your business here in Sheffield. Contact Business Sheffield on 0800 043 5522 to learn more.