A hunger for business | Caroline Pye

once-upon-a-time

 

For some young women, owning their own business is the ultimate dream. But for Caroline Pye, that wasn’t quite enough… she has a few!

Originally from Orkney, Caroline’s early career aspirations included being a lawyer, sports therapist or a journalist. She followed her instincts and undertook a degree in Sports Science at Glasgow University but, a few years later, returned to study and did a postgraduate degree in primary teaching. Caroline explains: “I always enjoyed working with children. I coached swimming a lot when I was growing up so teaching seemed a natural progression at the time.”

After qualifying she returned to her roots and benefited from diverse teaching experiences in Orkney but, in summer 2008, she packed up and headed to Berlin: “I knew if I wanted to progress, I’d have to venture off the island. It was a tough first year but it led me to a deputy head role at a new international school in Denmark, which we set up from scratch. It now has more than 200 pupils so I’m immensely proud of having been part of it from the start.”

Love brought her back to the UK, joining her partner Craig as a partner on his farm in Abernethy, Perth. Then the arrival of her children saw her career change focus: “I always thought I’d continue to teach but knowing how draining it was without having children, it didn’t seem such a good choice anymore! Of course, I still needed an income so being able to earn money from home while the children were still under school age was my aim.”

Fortunately, she came upon a leading multi-billion dollar, international anti-aging product company that works through network marketing: “It was a field that really interested me; I could rave about it for hours! I love seeing people’s reactions to the results of the products; it’s like watching a magic show. Feedback is wonderful too, when someone is struggling with a long-term issue and I’ve offered something that can help.”

Caroline’s role is to promote the products whilst building and supporting her team of 22 and, of course, promoting involvement in the core business: “Network marketing is a fantastic way of owning a business with minimum to zero overheads and costs.

“I adore this business for the people, the products, the income and the opportunity but, most importantly, because it led me to the world of personal development and growth. The best thing is that I can do all my work in slivers of time, as and when I can, around all the other things in my life.

After looking to diversify the farm, in January this year Caroline and Craig launched Scotia Cabins, a barbecue cabin company that produces wooden structures ranging from camping cabins and sleeping pods to outdoor offices and extensions: “If it can be made from wood, we can get it!” laughs Caroline.

After just eight months in business they boast a turnover of around £85,000: “The odds are against so many businesses now, so getting it going has been a big achievement.”

Caroline is passionate about establishing themselves as the leading company in their field in Scotland, focusing on high quality products and personal service: “The cabins are handmade and each is unique; there’s always something different about each one. I love our cabins and I love seeing people’s reactions the first time they come into one.”

Scotia is supplied by Arctic Cabins, based south of the border, and the two companies work alongside one another: “We see them as a guiding uncle and we’re fortunate to be able to learn from their experienced team. We know we need to always be evolving; if you don’t evolve you stagnate and things can quickly turn difficult. We’ve got a good network in the business world and local areas too; this support has been brilliant. Seeing businesses pull together and support one another is really uplifting.”

A passionate entrepreneur, Caroline would advise other young women to “go for it!” She says: “Ten years ago, I could never have imagined I’d be doing what I am today. But you learn as you go and you will have support as you go. Bear in mind that the more simple the idea, the more effective it can be. Try to avoid saturated markets, products that take up lots of space or take a long time to produce. If you can find a business that owns nothing, you can be on to a real winner!”

Caroline happily admits that she doesn’t like to sit still and has a long list of hopes and dreams for the future: “Craig would like to develop the farm more and I have some other ideas but they are still far away for now. I do believe that if you set a goal, believe in yourself and the power around you, it will come to you. And it works!

 

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