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Owners of Leadenham Teahouse Kirsty Kershaw and Katie Gibson named in f.Entrepreneur’s inaugural #ialso Top 100 list

Two sisters are enjoying the taste of success after being named among the nation’s top 100 female entrepreneurs for their tea room business.

The pair, Kirsty Kershaw and Katie Gibson, set up Leadenham Teahouse, in the village’s post office, which is run by their mum, Mrs Karen Swift.

Now the trailblazing duo have been named in f.Entrepreneur’s inaugural #ialso Top 100 list, celebrating the UK’s inspirational and multi-achieving female entrepreneurs.

Kirsty Kershaw and Katie Mace (7040942)
Kirsty Kershaw and Katie Mace (7040942)

“We’re absolutely delighted,” said Katie, 35, from Newark.

“To even be considered is a total compliment.”

Katie, who used to work in advertising for the Advertiser, and her sister, a former fashion buyer in London, left their jobs in summer 2013 to follow their dream of establishing a coffee shop and deli in Nottingham.

Two years later they sold the successful enterprise and ploughed the profits into the new project at Leadenham.

Katie believed their combined skill set was complimentary, and they also had a mission of helping to keep the local post office open.

“We set up in October 2015 because we wanted to try and secure the future of the post office in Leadenham and it’s been really successful,” she said.

The teahouse uses local, artisan produce.

Rural Business Awards Midlands (7040944)
Rural Business Awards Midlands (7040944)

Katie said: “We support three small local bakers, use Leadenham honey, and wine from Fulbeck. We’re really proud to serve local produce and are always getting approached by more artisans.

“We have candles and flowers on the tables. Last year we opened up a gift shop here with Lincolnshire brands. We want people to have an experience.”

And of course they can always buy a stamp as well.

The teahouse, recognised nationally and at county level last year, attracts locals, besides customers in Nottinghamshire and passing trade in the summer.

Now it’s the turn of its owners to win praise.

“It was exciting news,” Katie said.

Kirsty Kershaw and Katie Mace (7040946)
Kirsty Kershaw and Katie Mace (7040946)

f.Entrepreneur, run by peak b, were both founded by Michelle Ovens, who is also chairman of the Small Business Charter.

She said those on the 100 list were trailblazers demonstrating that entrepreneurialism was a space being re-invented by women and that their work could inspire every small business.

“We’re all being highlighted through social media,” Katie said “and any promotion of the teahouse is good for us.

“It’s so nice to be part of a network because it can be lonely being a small business. I feel proud to be part of it, with all these other inspirational women.”

She and Kirsty, 31, of Well- ingore, have also been involved in staging an annual farmers’ market in Leadenham to link in with the village’s folk festival.

Katie said: “It attacts people from all over the county and showcases more than 50 farmers and food producers.”

Future ambitions are to grow the business through increasing work with Airbnb, party bookings and staging more events.

“Starting from nothing in a quiet, rural village was a challenge,” admitted Katie.

“But it’s lovely to work as a family business.

“We all want the same goal and want people to enjoy their time coming to us.”

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