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The inspiring women running businesses in Cardiff’s arcades

08 Mar 2024 5 minute read
Esyllt from Tegannau Albatros Toys

Today is International Women’s Day, and a perfect opportunity to shine a light on Welsh women owned or managed businesses.

International Women’s Day is not just a day to celebrate women’s achievements but also a call-to-action for gender equality

Currently, a quarter of the stores within Cardiff’s Morgan Quarter, made up of the Royal and Morgan Arcades, are owned or managed by women. 

These stores include Laura May Bridal, Tegannau Albatros Toys and BA Skin & Laser Clinic as well as Astrid & Miyu, Driftwood Designs, Ganesha Handicrafts, Slunks and Brooklinde Designer Goldsmiths, to name a few.

Out of the 63 tenants found in the Morgan Quarter, 20 are owned or managed by women. 

Below, some of these female business owners share their perspectives on what it means to be a woman in the business world, the challenges they’ve faced, and their achievements along the way.

Laura and May from Laura May Bridal

Laura Cable and Mayada Pearson are approaching their thirteenth year as owners of one of Wales’s leading bridal boutiques, Laura May Bridal. 

Laura and May have had to overcome various challenges and setbacks from industry professionals, as well as both becoming mothers to two children each.

But they’ve taken everything in their stride. May said: “Initially, at the start of our business journey, we felt we were not taken seriously when speaking to banks, business mentors or certain people higher up in the industry. 

“We overcame this by focusing on our goals and to just keep striving forward as we knew we could create an amazing bridal experience for future brides out there regardless of whether others pushed negativity our way.

“We thrive on new challenges and new business and try to always think outside the box in order to push our business forward.”

Laura May Bridal

Having started off as just the two of them, Laura May Bridal now employ 20 staff, have two stores in Cardiff as well as a store in Dubai – Ilume Bridal Studio. 

Speaking about the success they’ve achieved, May credited her team saying: “We are so proud of our team, employing females that are all diverse and unique like our brides are. We actively encourage inclusivity and diversity, and we are proud to see it across our team and with our brides.” 

Esyllt from Tegannau Albatros Toys

Esyllt Anwyl is also making strides as a business owner. 

Esyllt’s store, Tegannau Albatros Toys, is the only independent toy store in Cardiff city centre, operating totally bilingually and offering toys, books, and puzzles rich in Welsh heritage. 

Esyllt, a Welsh speaker, has always been motivated to follow the decades-long tradition of females in her family running a business. 

She previously set up and ran a successful business for 12 years before switching it up to open Tegannau Albatros Toys.

Tegannau Albatros Toys – Store Front

Esyllt believes there is still work to be done to achieve equality. 

When asked about the challenges she has faced as a woman in the business world, Esyllt said: “There are still some dinosaurs that don’t take women in business seriously and think of our businesses as hobbies. There is nothing hobby-like about working seven-days-a-week and worrying about your turnover.”

Offering her advice to other women seeking out business opportunities, Esyllt said: “Do your homework and be realistic. It takes time to make it work, but don’t give up – it really is worth it.”

Daniela and India from BA Skin & Laser Clinic

BA Skin & Laser Clinic, a mother-and-daughter-owned business, has been trading since 1988 with a mission of helping people be the best and most natural version of themselves. 

Daniela, who set up the business at 21 years old, and her daughter India, the current clinical manager, consider the team at BA as family and offer staff, who are all women, regular training to allow them to develop their specialised skill sets.

Daniela said: “We have always moved forward in our practice, from a Beauty Spa to a prominent Laser Clinic in the heart of Cardiff.  We’ve always adapted to the world; we just want to show our heart. Knowing that me and my daughter can work together and are a team, makes all the ups and downs worth it.”

Morgan Arcade

Marika Jones, centre manager at Morgan Quarter said: “Here at the Morgan Quarter, we are proud to champion women in business and to have so many amazing women-led businesses within both the Royal and Morgan Arcades, building a community of support and success.

We hope their example will encourage and inspire any budding female entrepreneurs to take the leap and start their own business journey within Cardiff”.

To find out more about the Morgan Quarter including the list of stores and opening times, visit the website at www.morganquarter.co.uk.


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