The business of home-work balance

FROM her home in Sheffield, Nina Bowery is masterminding a medical revolution.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 17th September 2007, 11:16 am
Updated Thursday, 1st November 2007, 8:21 am

She’s hoping it will put an end to eczema misery and at the same time build a firm financial foundation for her growing family.

Nina worked in a succession of jobs after graduating from a nutrition degree in Sheffield.

But when she became a mum two years ago her contract with Sure Start ended and she found herself in career limbo.

“I started working part time at Waitrose to bring in a bit of money,” explained Nina, now 33 and heavily pregnant with her second child.

“But it didn’t really work. I’d left it late enough to start a family and I wanted to enjoy my daughter so I started to think about working for myself.”

Nina’s business plan unravelled last year after her daughter was diagnosed with eczema.

“I grew up watching my sister tormented by eczema and the effects treatment had on her,” recalls Nina, who lives with her partner at Wybourn, Sheffield.

“It wasn’t a happy childhood for her and I didn’t want my daughter going through that.”

Nina tried conventional treatments and even alternative therapies but nothing stopped little Grace from scratching

“When her eczema was at its worst I was putting a pair of tights on her legs to stop her scratching them. Her legs were improving but she could still get to her upper body/

“Then one day when I was doing the washing I realised I might have the solution. I cut the gusset out of the tights, put them over Grace’s head and put her arms in what were the legs.”

It was a simple solution but it worked. Grace’s eczema started to clear up and life got a lot easier for both of them.

Nina’s lightbulb moment saw the birth of Scratchtite and she took her idea to a manufacturer who could see the potential.

Together they devised a prototype using a new anti bacterial fabric and now after a year of planning, she has just launched the business.

“It’s been a very busy year but finally it’s coming together,” added Nina, who is selling the Scratchtite over the internet and hopes to see it stocked in Boots in years to come.

“The long term goal is to get it prescribed on the NHS so families like ours will be given an alternative to drug treatments.”Nina is among a growing number of South Yorkshire women keen to reverse the statistics.

There a fewer female entrepreneurs in South Yorkshire than anywhere else in the UK.

Sheffield’s Businesswoman of the Year Suzanne Liversidge says....”MUM Deborah Adshead had dreamed about setting up her own business for years.

But female entrepreneurs were as thin on the ground as female systems analyst back then and IT expert Deborah was understandably cautious.

As a single mum, she knew she had to balance her time carefully and worried about the risks of setting up on her own.

After careful planning Deborah, now 41, went into partnership with business partner Jessica Zeun and the pair now run a thriving IT business based at Attercliffe.

JD Approach, which specialises in helping small businesses, was highly commended in the new business category at last month's Rotherham Chamber awards.

"We set up two years ago and before that I worked as a systems analyst for South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive," explained Deborah.

"I've got a 10-year-old son and I knew something would have to give. It's unrealistic for women to think they can do everything.

"I've taken on the traditional male role as breadwinner and it can be stressful but it's also very rewarding.

"Fortunately I've had fantastic support from my parents and it's enabled Jessica and I to get the business off the ground.

"It can be difficult for women, particularly women with families, but there is a lot of support available."

Deborah is involved with the Inspiring Women group run through Sheffield Chamber which aims to support local women in business.

"As a company we're also keen to give girls the opportunity to progress in IT. We want to see more women working in IT and we're keen to support them.

"This part of Yorkshire is under-represented when it comes to women in business and hopefully that's something both JD Approach and the Inspiring Women group can work towards changing."


1. Davina McCall (pictured)

2. Fern Britton

3. Jordan

4. JK Rowling

5. Jools Oliver

6. Tana Ramsey

7. Melinda Messenger

8. Dr. Tania Byron

9. Victoria Beckham

10. Angelina Jolie