An interview with Jess Bracey from the BFBS breakfast show.
JS : It started off as a podcast series where I just chatted to my amazing inspirational pals about what they were doing. They are all military wives, partners, other-halves doing inspiring things so I wanted to showcase that to the wider community, and that sort of evolved into the business network that we now have. There’s over 450 of us, chatting away in a Facebook group and every month we do online networking that has been going for about 8 months now. So we get together, we have a chat on the internet, and we support each other no matter where we are posted. It’s a really good network and we are really looking after each other.
JB : How are you finding it at the moment because like you and so many other businesses around the UK. There are so many challenges out there at the moment.
JS : So many! It’s tough enough being married to somebody, or partnered to someone in the military, and also to run your own business without this all happening as well on top. And I know that obviously we (military partners) are very resilient as a community, and we are very used to all these changes, but sometimes we need a little bit of extra help because even though we are really tough we’ve got to look after each other.
The monthly online networking is happening every month. We have two online sessions (morning and evening) because there are people posted to Cyprus, Spain, Italy, and then the other side is the US. So we do two different sessions so everyone gets to have a go – and of course everyone in the UK can join us as well.
Then we’ve changed it up a bit so that we now have a weekly meeting, every Wednesday, that’s more casual, informal and we are helping each other to evolve our businesses in this really challenging time.
JB: And that much be such an inspirational group to be part of and to run as well. What are some of businesses that are floating around across the spouses network?
JS : Some amazing businesses that are changing it up. There’s a wonderful girl called Emma who makes wedding cakes for people – beautiful cakes, honestly, they’re amazing. But because of all the changes she’s struggled to get brides to change their dates so we help her every week.
There’s an amazing spouse living in Holland, she’s away from her partner and she’s all by herself doing website design. So she’s really busy because it’s digital but she’s all by herself so she has nobody else to talk to, so we make sure that she’s turning up every week so we can talk to her and letting her know about everything that’s happening in the UK so that when she does get back she’ll be ok.
But there are loads of amazing business – some are struggling, some are being put on hold, (but) we are helping each other out. There’s a lady who runs a dating agency which she’s had to take online, so we gave her the idea of doing an online virtual dinner party. So we are helping each other out with different ideas and helping each other.
JB : That’s really fantastic, and you mentioned the podcast series which kind of kicked off the Milspo Business Network. You are looking ahead to the next series now, which just keeps going from strength to strength.
JS : Yes, so, the wonderful Royal British Legion have sponsored series 4 which is coming out hopefully before the summer. So I am starting to interview people soon – So I am looking for guests, inspirational guests for people that are partnered to someone in the Armed Forces, that have done something inspirational, as a way to showcase how epic you are and also to spread the word to others.
JB : Now, I am a huge fan of the podcast but who have been your favourite guests so far?
JS : Oh! Jody, I always mention lovely Jody because she’s just ace! She is in the North London (Military Wives) Choir, but she also swam The Channel which in itself is just an epic task – I don’t know how she did it – but she did it with stage 4 bowel cancer that she is still being treated for. So, big thumbs up to Jody because she’s ace!
But then there are people like Emma Egging, who started the Jon Egging Trust was the last episode of the last series and it’s just showcasing the people behind these amazing things – the charities they have founded, and the things that they are doing to show us that we can also do it.
JB : Amazing stuff, really looking forward to the next series. And for anyone that wants to find out more about the Milspo Business Network, or the Instagram, the podcast, there’s so much going on for you at the moment – where can they find more information?
JS : I think the best place is head to the website which is theindependentspouse.co.uk – and everything points to that. As you said, I am all over the social media. It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t have much to do now that the world has sort of stopped. So head there, there’s lots to do, lots of support and come and join the community.