Bristol and Bath Women in Business Awards 2014: Susie Hewson of Natracare

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Written by:   | Posted 30-January-2014 11:46

The founder of a successful exporting firm is encouraging people to enter this year’s Bristol and Bath Women in Business awards.

Susie Hewson founded Natracare, which makes organic cotton tampons, 25 years ago because she felt there was a need the market was not meeting.

"I didn’t decide ‘I want to be a business woman, what business should I start’, but felt there were no products available to meet a need and was driven to find a solution," said Susie.

But it was hard going to begin with.

"It was a long learning curve. I had to learn everything. For example, our products are classed as medical so I had learn about regulations and  licences in different countries," she said.

Natracare, which employs 10 people from its Kingswood base and turns over around

£11 million a year, now exports to more than 60 countries.

Susie said women still had a tough time breaking through to the top level because of the pressures to perform a "dual role" at work and at home.

"There are industries where it is very difficult, such as law, for women to stay on a level playing field because of the hours expected," she said.

"It can be difficult for women to also play the role society requires of them – to look after children and families – and follow a significant career path.

"But there are businesses which are more flexible in terms of home working, childcare and make it easier for people to stay in their careers."

Susie said those who have been successful should give others a leg up.

"People should mentor more. I have mentored a couple of businesses and it doesn’t take that much time."

And she added women should not be put off thinking they can’t win. Last year Natracare won the International Trade Award at the Bristol Post Business Awards – beating Wallace and Gromit creator Aardman into second place.

Susie said: "People think ‘I can’t enter’ or ‘I won’t win’. But it’s not just for people who own a business but women who maybe work for big firms but make a contribution. I would encourage them to go for it. "

To enter the awards go to The deadline is February 21.

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