From Changing Rooms to Changing Careers

Organisers of the 2016 National Franchise Exhibition are delighted to announce TV favourite Carol Smillie as keynote speaker at the upcoming spring event.

Carol, together with business partner and former British No.1 tennis player Annabel Croft, launched their latest business venture DiaryDoll in October 2012. Already showing huge success, DiaryDoll’s are pretty, clever pants with a secret waterproof panel for ‘life’s little leaks’.

Carol comments, “So many women suffer the embarrassment of leaks as a result of pelvic floor weakness, during periods or post maternity. The idea came about when Annabel Croft and I were talking with our four teenage daughters on holiday about their concerns in taking part in sport, sleepovers, and school when their periods were due.”

Carol will be presenting her business growth story ‘#Talkingpants – the story of DiaryDoll’ at The National Franchise Exhibition on Saturday 20th February, offering visitors the chance to gain invaluable insight into the successful new business.

Carol comments, “I love telling the story of DiaryDoll, good and bad. I think people always assume success stories have been plain sailing, and have little idea about the pains and sleepless nights it took to get there. My number one piece of advice to any aspiring business owner would always be ‘is this something that other people want or is it just you?’ You MUST do your market research and listen to the results, especially if it’s not what you want to hear – it may just save you a fortune!”

2016 brings a number of opportunities for Carol, Annabel and DiaryDoll. The two entrepreneurs have recently secured listings in 122 Boots stores for the stress incontinence market, supported by Alliance Healthcare in 475 pharmacies. DiaryDolls also continues to grow in Debenhams and on shopping channel QVC.

Carol continues, “Publicity is always the most challenging part of starting up, even given that Annabel and I are known faces. Let’s face it, periods and incontinence are just not sexy, so magazines and newspapers are reluctant to discuss the subject. My philosophy has always been ‘become impossible to ignore by growing through word of mouth’ Women are so good at sharing information, especially when there’s a problem.”

Also presenting her business story will be Kresse Wesling, MBE. This multi-award winning environmental entrepreneur and Young Global Leader will explain all about successful business Elvis & Kresse, which turns industrial waste into innovative lifestyle products and returns 50% of profits to charities related to the waste.

Adrian Goodsell, director of franchise sales at Venture Marketing Group who organise and run the Franchise Exhibitions comments, “We are very excited to welcome both Carol and Kresse to the keynote roster at this year’s National Franchise Exhibition. These are two fantastic, successful entrepreneurs with interesting business concepts whose keynote speeches will inspire all of our ambitious attendees.”