a FORMER housekeeper who started her own cleaning, ironing and catering business at the age of 57 has scooped the Ripley and Heanor News’ Business Accelerators award.
Amanda Hawthorne, of A and K Domestic Solutions, will now receive a free advertising package spanning 12 weeks worth more than £7,600.
Amanda, 61, said: “To say I’m thrilled is very much an understatement not just for me and the business but also for the ladies who work so hard for me.”
Amanda, who lives in Ripley, had worked as a housekeeper in Norfolk and Derbyshire for seven years before her last employers divorced, leaving her looking for a new job.
She said: “I was offered other housekeeping jobs - but all outside Derbyshire and I didn’t want to live away from home again. I needed a job so I started the business with only one contract – a four-hour clean in Bradbourne! The business has grown steadily, despite the recession which has to be a huge achievement.
“I’m very proud of the fact that we help keep older people in their own homes. And the fact that we have created jobs in a harsh economic time. I won’t allow it not to continue to succeed and if I can get help in the form of advertising and mentoring then the world’s my oyster.”
The company, founded in 2008, now employs seven people, with an annual turnover of £60,000, and is now looking to acquire premises in Derby
Amanda has a bi-weekly contract to cater for a clay pigeon shooting party at Ashbourne and also provides catering for birthdays and weddings.
“It really comes out of being a housekeeper,” she added. “I was asked a lot if I knew of any cleaning ladies so I knew there would be a market for it.
“In housekeeping, poaching other people’s staff is a big thing. Liz Hurley recently tried to poach my friend! When you’re in service you do get training which is second to none. I couldn’t have afforded to pay for the training I got on the job.”
Amanda is married to Geoff, a retired painter and decorator, and they have two children, Samantha, 34 and Suzie, 32. She has also worked as a civil servant, secretary, PA and an administrator and says running her own business is “fantastic.”
She said: “My biggest success so far is simply that I’ve got this far already. I’ve got some really fantastic ladies working for me and I really appreciate their efforts. They’re all really, really good.”