Sherborne Early Bird Business Exchange

Our Next Meeting

Wednesday 4th December
7am to 9am

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Meeting Wednesday 19th February

Post meeting ponderings ...

Invited guests

We welcomed 2 invited guests to our breakfast today:

  • Simon Barber of Filofile, a document collection, storage and retrieval company;
  • Dan Williams of Flooring Force, Sherborne Ltd, who clearly liked us enough to venture back a second time!

We hope that they enjoyed their time with us and will consider joining EBBX in the future. Is there someone you could invite as a guest to our next meeting?

Deputising guests

We also had the pleasure of welcoming two guests standing in for members who were unable to be with us today:

  • Rob Beldham who was deputising for James Richards, and
  • Tanya Fitzgerald who was deputising for Stephen Randall.

Please don't forget that, if you can't make it to the meeting yourself, you can always send someone in your place to speak for you.

10-minute talks

Our two speakers today were James O'Brian of Sherborne Golf Club and Emma O'Grady of Oak Apple Embroidery.

James not only told us how we could get into golf but also how we could use it as an advertising and marketing tool. After introducing us to the team at Sherborne and Alweston, James laid to rest the myth that, in order to play golf, you have to be old, rich, posh and sartorially-challenged. It really is a sport for everyone and at £69 for 5 x 1hr tuition sessions, eminently affordable. They even throw in a golf club for that vital practice! The one hour sessions can be fitted in anytime during the day or evening, weekday or weekend, and you can even take the family. It is a hobby you can enjoy for a lifetime.

Not only that, the golf course is an ideal place for networking – several hours alone with that client whose account you've been after for ages could just net you the work. Corporate golf events are a great way of team building for your staff or rewarding clients for their business. It's also a great place to do some advertising in the form of score cards, course planners etc., ensuring your name is kept in the forefront of people’s minds as they enjoy their round of golf.

So, golf is not as Mark Twain once said "A good walk spoilt" but a fun, invigorating sport which could prove to be a useful investment of your time and energy.

Emma, who admitted to not being a natural seamstress, told us how Oak Apple grew from a very small acorn. Originally working in PR both in the United Kingdom and abroad, she also ran a hotel before starting her embroidery business, the idea for which came to her when she received some tote bags for her children from friends in the USA. Having seen nothing like them in UK and recognising that vital gap in the market, she decided to design, make and market a similar item. Originally the embroidery was outsourced but eventually she bought her own machine and set up from home, supplying schools and sports clubs with embroidered items. The company took off, requiring a move to larger premises in Sherborne, then to Milborne Port.

Emma has a very wide local customer base but also sells nationally through her e-commerce website. She supplies items of uniform and special tour clothing to schools, items to university clubs and societies, and also office and work wear to businesses. Her customers include sports clubs and centres, sports teams, charities, the NHS and the military. She also does contract work where the company provides the garment and Oak Apple do the required embroidery. With her e-commerce site customers can now order online and she is looking to expand this area of the business in the future. There is no minimum order however, for small orders, there is a set-up charge for the logo/design as this is outsourced to specialist design companies. This cost is waived for larger orders.

So, now we have no excuses for staying indoors! We can order a nice warm sweatshirt from Emma and get out on the golf course with James! Thanks to both of them for their presentations.


Nick reminded us how useful the 10-minute presentations are for giving a wider view of our respective businesses. If you haven’t done your presentation yet, please contact Martyn Powell who is co-ordinating the list.

There will be a committee meeting in two weeks' time. If you have anything you wish to raise, please email Suzanne Norton.

It appears that we have several gaps at each meeting as members are either cancelling at the last minute or not turning up. If you can't make a meeting,(and it is recognised that there will be times when members can't attend) PLEASE let us know. Better still, do what James and Stephen did, and send a replacement!

Finally, James Oliver announced that he had been in contact with the Eastbury Hotel and that Paul and Nicky King have agreed to host our breakfast meetings in future. After explaining the benefits of this, a vote was taken on whether or not we should move to this venue. Carried, nem con.

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