Tag Archives: FOXY Lady Drivers Club

Our Valentine’s Day ‘Woman Of The Year’ is Jane Bailey

FOXY Lady Drivers Club’s ‘Woman of the Year’ Award Winner on Valentine’s Day is Jane Bailey of Westgate Tyres in Morecambe.

We first met Jane when she joined the new FOXY Lady Approved Tyre Register and then organised two popular Ladies evenings locally with the proceeds going to the CancerCare charity.

We soon realised that when we didn’t speak to Jane, we spoke to two friendly, knowledgeable and enthusiastic females in her absence. So many females in any tyre business is very rare indeed.

Fast forward a year and when I was at the Tyresafe Awards last summer my table companion, Alan Baldwin from Micheldever Tyres, told me about Jane and what a remarkable business lady he knew her to be.

A little later on, and in contact with Ashleigh Warren of GiTi Tire UK, Jane was mentioned again…

This time I could not ignore these coincidences any longer.

So I decided to find out Jane’s business story for myself and on the strength of this was delighted to present her with our inaugural Valentine’s Day ‘Woman Of The Year’ Award in Morecambe in front of her husband Graham.

Left to right, the photo is of GiTi Tire UK’s Marketing Manager Ashleigh Warren, Jane’s daughter Emma with grand-daughter Felicity, Steph Savill (FOXY), Jane Bailey, daughter Sophie and Micheldever Tyres’ Area Sales Manager Keith O’Brien.

This is Jane Bailey’s Story (in her own words)

In the 1970’s women were even less likely to be mechanics or tyre fitters than they are today. There was little or no training available for us. So when I left school at 16 I went to work for British Gas for 11 years but my love of cars remained.

In the meantime I had met my future husband Graham who was a fitter with a national tyre company and we got married when I was just 18.

Our first daughter Emma was followed by three miscarriages so we were thrilled when our second daughter Sophie was born eight years later.

How did Westgate Tyres come about?

When the right premises came up for us in 1997 Graham and I (in the photo) jumped at the chance to open our own tyre business which we called Westgate Tyres. This was a scary thing to do because Emma was 10 years old and Sophie just 20 months.

We risked everything to set up the garage but neither of us wanted to look back in later life and regret not having been brave enough to give it a go.

At the beginning I did the book-keeping, planned the tyre promotions and ran the reception area. Sophie spent her early days in a playpen in the waiting room – it was a case of pulling together to keep a roof over our heads.

After working all day at the garage, Graham would look after the girls at night whilst I’d do a stint at the local Asda on the tills until midnight. These were long, hard and tiring days for us both with little outside support but we always knew our hard work would pay off in the end.

As the business grew, so did the administration and promotions so I took the brave step of leaving Asda when Westgate Tyres became our only source of income.

These were precarious financial times when holidays went on hold and we worked 363 days a year bar Christmas and New Year Days. My role as wife, mother and business partner became harder and harder but our efforts were at last starting to pay off, allowing us to employ staff and add new customer services.

When did the rest of the family get involved?

Our daughter Emma (now 29) had started working for us as a Saturday receptionist at the age of 14. She shares our love of cars, of course, owning a Barbie Pink Puma at the age of 17! She now works full time in the business and has two daughters herself, aged 5 years and 6 months.

Unsurprisingly our eldest grand-daughter also loves cars, is often seen in overalls and the pair of them starred in our award-winning Tyre Safety advertising campaign.

Emma’s husband has his own accident repair centre so it’s cars, cars, cars for the whole family.

Our younger daughter, Sophie, is 20, equally as car mad and runs a pimped up Suzuki Swift Sport. She is helping us take the business forward with a fresh eye.

The business is now a GT Radial Performance Centre and we feel we’re fitting trust with every tyre alongside such a fantastic guarantee. Sophie visited the Ascari race track in Spain last year and test drove a selection of vehicles fitted with GT Tyres – they all performed really impressively in both wet and dry conditions.

Sophie’s partner has his own car detailing company so our family businesses all complement each other.

How did you promote your business as different from others?

I’m a strong believer in targeted advertising and have spent years working hard to build awareness of our business.

The tyre industry is very male dominated and doesn’t always have the best of images so my daughters and I work tirelessly to make our business as genuinely female friendly as possible.

So much so that we decided to join the FOXY Lady Approved Tyre Register and work with their motoring club for women to promote our regular Ladies Nights. Our aim is to empower local women with the knowledge and confidence to do their own car maintenance and tyre safety checks.

As a result, Westgate Tyres sees a high percentage of female customers and I honestly believe they visit us because they know women work here. They tell us they’re reassured that they’re understood and always treated with the utmost respect and honesty.

When did your personal health become an issue?

After a couple of years of feeling so ill and so tired that I could put my head on my desk and instantly fall asleep, I was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2013.

This is when my world fell apart – I was critically ill and admitted to hospital a week later for major surgery.

My family now had the business to run by themselves whilst worrying about a seriously ill mum and wife. I don’t know how they all held it together but they did – putting on their brave faces, shedding tears in private and going through the motions of keeping the business running as normally as possible in the circumstances.

The Cancercare charity has been a true lifeline for me. It has provided emotional support which you need, especially when you’re self employed. When you’re recovering from major surgery of any kind you need rest, an absence of stress and time for your body to heal. Colon cancer adds additional challenges – you need to get used to a completely new diet and just getting through every day has been a real battle for me.

Trying to recover and keep the business running was extremely difficult but cancer hadn’t beaten me. Within a couple of weeks, I was doing the book-keeping from my bed and visiting the business in a wheelchair. After three years, I’m delighted to report that Mrs B (as the staff all call me) is fighting strong.

During all this I’ve been amazed by how many friends and customers came to talk to me about health concerns before being diagnosed with this cancer themselves. So I now try to raise early awareness of colon cancer whenever I can, including organising a fund-raising event every year.

The fear of having to give up everything we had worked so hard for has certainly pushed me on and, had I worked for someone else, I might have lost my job or not had the unshakeable resolve to keep going, regardless.

What does the future look like today?

After all this, my love of cars is stronger than ever. I particularly love classic cars because they are so stylish, they look very different and they are often a driving challenge. I try to visit as many classic car rallies as I can with either a Morris 1000 or Sunbeam Alpine.

My everyday car is a sporty open-top 150 Mini whilst Graham enjoys his Subaru, Porsche and Nissan Navara!

I’m also very proud of our daughters as ambassadors of our business and now it’s their turn to take things forward and allow me time to focus on myself, for a change.

I am delighted to see such a bright future ahead of them as they start to make their female mark on today’s tyre industry.

I often wonder if my Dad could see how those early days spent encouraging me to help him under a car bonnet would shape the rest of my life! And then that of my daughters and grandchildren, given time!

Jane Bailey, Westgate Tyres
FOXY Lady Drivers Club’s first ‘Woman Of The Year’
Award Winner
Valentine’s Day, 2017

A female friendly MOT centre with a difference

Granted The Test Centre in Deptford is a FOXY Lady Approved ie female friendly MOT centre and this may make me a tad biased but this review from Stacey is precisely why they are on our network.

Hot off the press today, this female feedback illustrates the need for a network of garages that over deliver in terms of customer service, as The Test Centre definitely does.
__________________________________

Here’s what Stacey has to say about Deptford’s Test Centre

testventre_drinksmachine400“This was the first time I’ve taken my car for an MOT so I was really nervous & didn’t know what to expect. I was shocked that I could get a booking for 6am – this was the first thing I thought was amazing about the garage.

“When I got there I was pleasantly surprised at how clean the work space looked as well as being brand new looking – this helped ease my nerves a little.

“I went into the reception which was really warm & cosy. The receptionist was a really lovely lady with a smile on her face so early in the morning – straight away she had someone take my keys. I explained my nervousness & she took the time to explain the process to me; my nerves disappeared straight away.

“I waited for my car in a warm office with a TV & a friendly receptionist to talk to. Once the MOT was completed the service did not stop there, the receptionist was very good & friendly in suggesting more places & female friendly garages I can use if I ever need work doing.

“I normally send my brother with my car as I am always worried garages with men treat women like they’re stupid.

“I am very happy with The Test Centre’s service. warmth & friendliness. So much so, I have already suggested them to so many friends & family.”

FOXY says – Stacey is now a member of FOXY Lady Drivers Club having been given a free subscription by The Test Centre. As such she will soon be sharing other great and female friendly services that we approve so she can trust. And we’ll be spreading the word that there is such a thing as a female choice of motoring services when you know what to look for, where to go and who to trust.
___________________________

Check here for your choice of female friendly garages across the UK.

And if you’d like a hand with motoring arrangements and services in future, why not join FOXY Lady Drivers Club now?

The critical importance of a thorough car check

pink_lady-showing-key-holding-hand-40899761Whenever it’s to do with motoring, men and women think and act differently at car shopping time. And so it is in the recent research findings from MyCarCheck.

Despite being the gender most likely to influence the final car shopping decision (in 80% of all cases in the UK), all too often women feel they are being ignored in manufacturer advertising and then intimidated and even overlooked in showrooms, especially when she takes a man with her during the car shopping experience.

And knowing how dire the female feedback about the car shopping experience has been in recent surveys, such as the ones from Good Housekeeping and DifferentSpin.com I am always on the alert for new found knowledge that I can share with our FOXY Lady Approved car dealers.

Unsurprisingly MyCarCheck confirms that women are uncomfortable with the used car checking process (maybe that’s why she takes a man with her for support?) but it’s good to think she knows she needs to carry out these checks.

Apparently one in four vehicles that MyCarCheck check have serious failings that you might expect a car dealer to have known about and rectified. Think about it – the car could be reclaimed by a finance house and/or not owned by the person who is selling it.

Why a thorough car check matters

This is yet another worrying example of what can happen when you go car shopping for a used car in an unregulated industry where complaints are all too common.

Too many of us are too trusting having been seduced by the shiny look of a gleaming ‘new’ car that’s hiding mechanical problems. That’s mechanical problems usually borne out of neglected car care such as regular servicing and/or maintenance. If an elderly car has been neglected for a long period of its life, especially when it comes to regular oil and filter changes, it will likely have lost its reliability and, chances are, it’s waiting to prove this to you just after you’ve bought it or any warranty expires!

Again, according to MyCarCheck, men are more confident about their driving ability than women although perhaps the declared gender difference here is too slight to be significant, and would be nil if men and women were equally as honest or modest…

Certainly the research from IAM Roadsmart suggested that most motoring Mums were highly confident drivers and if accident statistics were to be the final arbiter in the REAL motoring world then women will surely edge any gender motoring ability debate, influenced mostly by the serious accident reputation that boy racers have earned.

Negotiating the price of a used car

When it comes to finalising the price of a used car, the motor industry is in a league of its own due to so many potential smoke and mirrors tactics designed to confuse the car shopper who is using dealer finance and part exchanging a car. And in many cases of used car sales it’s too confusing by intent.

MyCarCheck suggests that men are less confident shoppers than women here. That may well be because men know they should haggle whereas many women are too trusting that the advertised price is a fair one. Or they’ve picked a car that the salesman (it’s usually a salesman) is happy to discount because he knows it’s a lemon and she’s fooled into thinking this is a great deal. Whereas the man has already become suspicious, and if the discount comes too easy, perhaps he’s starting to smell a rat.

So the point of this blog is to remind all of us to get our cars checked before we buy them. Twice. Once via the likes of MyCarCheck to make sure the car in question is free of finance and hasn’t been in an accident or stolen. And again (a different sort of check) to get a trusted mechanic or a dedicated service to give it the once over. Yes, you should be able to rely on the vehicle checks carried out by a car dealer promoting a well known named ‘Approved Car’ scheme but we know of instances where unscrupulous dealers have ticked all the multiple check boxes, actively disguising a missing car servicing history and MOT advisories that hadn’t been addressed pre sale. Clearly the price you pay is critical here, as is any advertising that suggests the car is in better shape than it turns out to be…

So that’s about it from me. Men and women are different – who’d’ve believed it! And when it comes to buying a car, women shouldn’t need to take a man with them but if they feel less intimidated with than without, then why not.

That’s unless they’re members of FOXY Lady Drivers Club of course because they wouldn’t need to take a man with them then. Because they can either shop at a FOXY Lady Approved dealer that’s signed a promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women anything they don’t need’ or they can ask us for advice and support before shopping elsewhere. And should things go wrong of course.

For example, if the dealer doesn’t get it right or put it right afterwards (most do), we’d then tell the members about this. That’s the FOXY way – fair and feminine by any name!

So if you’re planning on buying a new ie used car soon I recommend you join The Club BEFORE you need us, because we may well help you buy a better car deal than you’d end up with on your own!

FOXY Steph

Lessons Louise learned from her car accident

index

I met Louise Budgen of Utility Warehouse at a recent Athena business meeting in Brighton. We agreed to talk to each other about our respective businesses afterwards and it was during this exchange that Louise told me about a serious car accident she’d been involved in when a friend was driving.

They were merrily travelling in lane two at the side of an overseas lorry when it pulled out just when they were nearly in front of it. The lorry clipped the rear offside of the car, sending it spinning round and round and then rolling over a couple of times before landing upside down in some bushes, just off the hard shoulder. Thankfully not onto the motorway or any barrier or wall but still a totally terrifying experience.

Whilst such instances are thankfully very rare, Louise learned several valuable lessons and we asked her to put these in writing so we could share them with others who might appreciate this advice and support.

This is Louise’s story

“My accident has taught me a lot on a personal front. Life can be taken away from us all in a second. Life is precious and can be very short so we need to enjoy everyday as if it is our last. After all, we don’t know if it is going to be…

My accident left me suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for the best part of a year. This was a very frustrating time for me as I simply couldn’t do the things I would normally be able to do. I’m talking about simple things like walking the dogs or thinking about more than one thing at a time. I simply couldn’t concentrate, relax or enjoy myself for ages.

I now make sure I take time for me and do not rush around like a headless chicken ALL the time.

To help me, I needed some coaching from different specialists to get me back on track. The enormously positive impact they had on me encouraged me to train to become a coach myself.

On reflection, many good things have come about as a result of this awful accident too.

I am much more appreciative of the small things life offers and grateful for my life as it is; no longer wishing for more. I am definitely living more in the moment which is such a lovely thing to do, enjoying each day by day. Yes I have big plans for my future but today is what matters most for me now.

From a motoring point of view, I faced my biggest fear which was of dying in a motorway accident. I have always been a nervous passenger on motorways yet, having survived this experience, my accident has taught me that there are just some things that will happen for no apparent reason and nobody can control everything in their life including what other vehicles and drivers get up to on the road. So I have at last been able to put this event behind me – why should I worry or waste my energy on being worried? Yes, I’m still a nervous passenger (more than a driver) on the motorway but I’m working on this – I am determined this accident will not hold me back in future.

In life, whilst bad things do happen, it is how we deal with them that matters.

blindspot_graphic_700From a practical point of view – always give foreign lorries a wide berth because, when you are in their blind spot, they sometimes can’t see you in the middle lanes of motorways, even though they SHOULD be sufficiently alert to know where all surrounding vehicles are likely to be.

In our case they misjudged the distance and speed they took to pull out into lane 2.

If you are there at the time they won’t see you and will hit you.”

Please see the blind spot image above which illustrates a similar event but not the one Louise experiened.
_______________________________________

Thank you Louise for this insight.

For help re PTSD please contact their website.

We’d recommend any motorist in the same situation consider taking the IAM Roadsmart Confidence After Incident course designed to boost their confidence levels.

We all need a confidence boost and coping mechanisms when we are nervous. Knowing what to do and how means that your driving skills are more intuitive and become automatic.

The more you learn, read and practise the better, more alert and more confident a driver you become.

Coping with foreign lorries is covered within the IAM Roadsmart’s Advanced Driver Course and, having done this programme myself, I can thoroughly recommend it!

FOXY Steph

The Club provides a range of support services for females in need of encouragement and a confidence boost. If you know a female who is struggling to cope with everyday motoring matters, suggest she join the Club or buy her a subscription as a gift. We are then here for her to contact us for advice, information and support whatever the motoring situation. Not only will we save her time and money but we’ll also provide priceless reassurance during the course of a lifetime membership.

You can join the Club online HERE and NOW

More support needed for women to take the lead

sophie_walker_WEP__3477757b

I am proud to be a founder member of the Women’s Equality party known as WE.

But like the motoring Club I run, too many men and sadly women think this sort of gender based stuff is simply feminist fluff with us only wanting things all our own way.

We even hear excuses like ‘there aren’t enough women to take the lead’…

Well here we are and I hope you voted for the RIGHT candidates yesterday. Even if it meant taking a ‘risk’ on women for the first time? How else can we prove our mettle if we aren’t given that chance?

But perhaps the email I received from the party this morning might explain why voting for WE (women and men) and supporting FOXY Lady Drivers Club, is all about making things better for women and in turn for men too. It’s important to see the BIG picture before making gender assumptions and simply walking away…

And in the same way as FOXY Lady Drivers Club looks to the motor industry to support it, the WE party looks to men and women alike to support it. Much as the money raised by Sandy’s speaking tour goes towards WE. For us all to do a better job for everyone. Which isn’t difficult, given the state of things in politics and some areas of the motor industry today…
_________________________________________________________

This is the email I received this morning (Friday 6 May 2016).

Womens-Equality-Party

“We — Catherine and Sandi — founded the Women’s Equality party to shake up politics and push gender equality on to the agenda. We aimed not only to make change directly, but also to influence the old parties to up their game.

Because of you, that has already happened. Our brilliant campaigns in Wales, Scotland and London, each managed locally and powered by our amazing activists, forced all the other parties to focus on issues that too often are sidelined or ignored. WE turned the debate to caregiving and the gender pay gap and violence against women and WE then watched the other parties sidle up to our manifestos and scoop up our policies to repackage as their own.

Together WE have started something — a party, a movement, a realisation that things must change — and the elections were just the start.

Of course we are on the edges of our seats waiting for the results. There’s not one of our candidates who wouldn’t lift the standard of politics and bring the sorts of perspectives that are so badly lacking.

But we are also already celebrating, and what we are celebrating is YOU. You have helped WE to win in making a difference. And when WE win, everyone wins. Because equality is better for everyone.”

_____________________________________________________________

Hear, hear. And I support WE because it is the right thing to do.

I’m proud of WE for doing it.

And if YOU haven’t joined WE yet, can I suggest you do so NOW!

Because it’s money they need to stand up to the big budget boys in politics.

Have a look at the WE website please and JOIN US.

And I guarantee that if you are looking for a better motoring deal, women’ll struggle to find a better one than joining FOXY Lady Drivers Club too.