Janet Kirlew

Journalist, writer, entrepreneur, speaker, designer, awards judge - and founder of Women in Trade magazine

“I created the first issue on a very old laptop with barely enough memory to save a basic Word document, with a redundancy letter hanging over me and 3 pence in my pocket.”

It all started when Janet first tried my hand at design, back in 2002, inside a broom cupboard. Her chair couldn’t fit inside, and my computer was so ancient it looked like something from a science museum.

She loved designing things from scratch and built her first website over a 7-month period and learning how to code and upload files to the FTP server gave her great satisfaction.

“I am a bit of a techie and proud of it”

Janet went on to start my own business, designing price-list boards for beauty salons in London. Later, worked in various boring office jobs, but found it difficult to help someone else make their dream come true while her own skills went unnoticed.

In 2012, she moved to a new area and wanted to find women to dress my windows, plumb in my washing machine and do some electrical work. She knew a few outstanding tradesmen, but the feminine approach was more appealing. I started to wonder where these women were and how to hire them. After a fruitless search, she knew she had to do something about it.

This is when Women in Trade magazine was born. The UK’s only publication focusing on women in trades and crafts across all industries.

It was a brave thing to start a new business venture with no capital, but she did not see it that way back in 2013. She was often asked “why trade”? she said: "Well, I wanted to help women get over the feeling that to be in trade they must look and behave in a certain way."

Women in Trade has changed the face of women in trade! It’s no longer all about hard hats and hi-vis vests. We cover a huge range: from cheese making to interior design, calligraphy to cobbling, plumbing to virtual PA services.

Janet is a keynote speaker at Women at the Top and a judge at the women in construction awards. She is one of eight delegates travelling to Australia in 2020 for trade and investment.

Janet’s sunny disposition and positivity is natural and a rarity these days.  She connects with people on a deeper level than most people go to and has an innate ability to make people feel better.  When you hire Janet, expect the room to be filled with high energy and warmth.  She loves to laugh and joke around putting everyone at ease.  She has a holistic and business background so you can be sure that you will get a good balance at your event.

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