The Milspo Business Network has teamed up with Small Business Britain to help launch an important campaign to support military spouses, partners and other halves in business during these difficult times. Many small businesses across the UK have been devastated by COVID-19 and do not know where to turn to for support. Many are not reaching out at all. The Big Support campaign is a nationwide effort to help small businesses through the unprecedented situation facing them today. It aims to provide support ranging from direct business aid and mental health support to business showcasing.

Military spouses and partners, who already deal with unique challenges on a daily basis, are now facing even more uncertain times as their partners re-task and deploy as front-line key-workers. The Milspo Business Network wants to support small business owners through this crisis and offer hope for themselves, their families and their staff. That’s why throughout May as part of the Big Support campaign, we’ll be selecting 30 members of the Network to have their businesses exclusively showcased. Each day of the month, a different business will be advertised and promoted by the Network, bringing that company to the attention of the Armed Forces community and the wider business community across the UK and beyond.

The Big Support campaign is happening with the backing of Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for BEIS Alok Sharma, Small Business Minister Paul Scully, and BT.

What is MILSPO?

The Milspo Business Network™ is a global network that supports all UK military spouses, partners and other-halves to build the business of their dreams. Using digital solutions to provide valid and functional training, networking and access to a community not limited by location. A network to help inspire this often isolated but inspirational community living the ‘magnolia walled life’ and running their own business. The Milspo Business Network is a subsidiary of The InDependent Spouse CIC.

Onto Day 21 of Milspo’s #TheBigSupport campaign with Small Business Britain and today we have Jo Markwick telling us about Jo Markwick Love.Style.Magpie
“Love•Style•Magpie boutique was born from my love of style, my addiction to shopping and my magpie tendencies!
“My aim is to bring together curated collections of beautiful accessories and apparel. I love shopping for gorgeous pieces that are different, super stylish and perfect for your capsule wardrobe!
“You can shop through my Social Boutique or brand new website. I also offer one-to-one or group virtual style sessions, making shopping fun and personal. Follow me on Instagram or Facebook for styling tips and capsule launches.
“It’s nice to feel connected to other business owners and spouses in the community through the Milspo Network. I love seeing others succeed and have found so many inspirational military spouses through the network that are doing just that.
“Our transitional lifestyle can make day to day life challenging. Knowing that I have a network to be part of that understands and can offer advice from experience is a tremendous help and support!
“Having to change how my business is run thanks to COVID-19 has been challenging but I have enjoyed the process. All our moves in the past few years have shown that it’s not impossible to keep business going through major changes.
“I can adapt and be more creative even now. I’ve pushed beyond my comfort zone to build the website and am trying new things along with designing my own collections for the first time in years.
“Being able to be of service to my customers and other business owners had been key and I have loved building strong connections! My customers have also enjoyed being able to take part and contribute to fundraisers for much needed PPE funds and gifts for our NHS heroes.”
Emma Randell and her business, Scrumptious Bakes by Emma is our guest on day 22 of Milspo’s #TheBigSupport campaign with Small Business Britain
“I’m passionate about creating edible works of art for special occasions, including weddings, birthdays, baby showers and corporate events
“Scrumptious Bakes by Emma has become renowned for our irresistibly pretty and elegant designs. We pride ourselves on our dedication to perfection, an understanding of our clients’ visions, and the skills to translate this into beautiful showpieces to make the most special of occasions even more memorable.
“We believe in the power of kindness and giving back, and support and champion our suppliers’ communities, from Hampshire to Madagascar, to the Côte d’Ivoire. We are also proud suppliers of the Wishing Well Foundation, a charity that funds and organises weddings for terminally ill people.
“The Milspo Network is genuinely empowering, and a community I am so proud to be part of. It encourages military spouses and their businesses to flourish, and provides invaluable support to a talented, passionate, resilient and courageous group of people, who themselves are inspiring.
“The Milspo virtual meet-ups and resources are invaluable in terms of business support and building a network, and the advice, kindness, guidance and friendship of fellow entrepreneurs has meant more than ever whilst negotiating the current climate.
“I am incredibly grateful for Milspo’s presence in my life and cannot recommend it highly enough.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we are supporting our fellow military spouses in frontline roles through the donation of cupcakes as a thank you. It’s a tiny gesture in the grand scheme of things, but our hope is that they will help to bring a little light and joy to the days of those working so incredibly hard.
“So far, we have donated dozens of rainbow cupcakes to Frimley Park’s Emergency Department, the Infectious Diseases ward at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and RAFA Kidz Nursery at RAF Odiham.
“Our love and thoughts are with all those working hard to keep us safe. Thank you.”
Day 23 of Milspo’s #TheBigSupport campaign with Small Business Britain, and it’s the turn of Andrea Baker of B’s Clothing & Gifts.
“We offer a range of gifts, clothing and accessories that we personalise, customise and brand, using various print methods and embroidery.
“We also offer a sticker printing service and vinyl decal signage. Embroidered patches and our Military Spouse Deployment Survival Kits are two new exciting additions.
“We work with other small businesses, individual customers and large teams to create the customised item that’s perfect for them. You think it, B’s will print it!
“We are proud to support two small charities, the CdLS Foundation UK and Ireland, and Little Troopers.
“The Milspo Network has not only helped me connect with others in the same unique situation, it has also provided a wealth of knowledge and support from both Jess and the other amazing members, who “just get” the life we live.
“I enjoy the virtual networking sessions and building connections, and the fabulous Facebook community group that’s a safe place to ask and offer advice.
“I’ve also been lucky enough to have been interviewed for the Independent Spouse podcast series. Without a doubt, I wouldn’t be as confident and as far as I am in my business without this supportive network.
“Unfortunately, with all the main UK wholesalers and suppliers temporarily closing thanks to COVID-19, we’ve had to quickly think outside the box!
“We decided to try our hand at embroidered iron-on patches! We have created a few versions of a rainbow patch, which has proved incredibly popular, perfect for our customers to send directly to a loved one too.
“It’s been wonderful to create something with a special meaning of positivity during this tricky time.”
Today we welcome Dr Rosie Gilderthorp, telling us about The Innovation in Mental Health Project CIC for Day 24 of Milspo’s #TheBigSupport campaign with Small Business Britain
“I offer psychological therapy to help parents who are struggling with their mental health to be the parents they want to be.
“I also run a community, podcast and membership for psychologists and therapists who want to set up innovative new projects to prevent mental health crises.”
“Military family life is demanding and often the thought of adapting your business over and over again to the challenges can feel overwhelming.
“With The Milspo Business Network, knowing that there are people just a few clicks away who understand what you are going through and have tackled it themselves is invaluable. Life can be hard, but we are not doing it alone.
“The Do More Than Therapy community and membership is all about helping people in new and innovative ways. The psychologists and therapists that are part of it have taken the current lockdown as an opportunity to reach out to the public with positive mental health information in new and exciting ways that will hopefully change the way mental well-being is understood and treated for the long term.
“I am proud to be supporting them and am redoubling my efforts to provide them with masterclasses from experts, peer supervision and support.”
Onto Day 25 of Milspo’s #TheBigSupport campaign with Small Business Britain and it’s the turn of Carrie Moss and Edith Limited
“Edith Limited is a singles network and personal matchmaking service, designed for motivated singles who are eager to establish meaningful relationships.
“Our mission is to combat loneliness, and all members are ID checked and hand-selected by an experienced Matchmaker.
“The Milspo Network has welcomed me from day one of joining: the whole group made me feel like I belong.
“Working in the dating industry can be challenging as there is still a lot of taboo surrounding the subject. Yet here I have felt supported and I always come away positive with lots of new ideas and resources. I have been to places via zoom that I have never been before.
“I have a passion for people and combatting loneliness, and during the COVID-19 pandemic I have offered free video date coaching, as well as being out in the community supporting the vulnerable with my sister company Grandy’s Grandaughter.”
It’s Day 26 of Milspo’s #TheBigSupport campaign with Small Business Britain and over to Lisa Rogerson and Help for Movers.
“Help For Movers is a step-by-step guide to moving house. It’s a 20-page booklet with tips, reminders and checklists to help ease the stress of moving home.
“I feel incredibly lucky to be part of our military community. Jess understands the lifestyle and has developed this support network, The Milspo Business Network. She absolutely understands the difficulties and advantages of military life and how it can impact on our businesses.
“If I need support, advice or just somewhere to rant, I guarantee a fellow Milspo will be on hand to help!
“I’m taking a positive approach to lockdown. We all have jobs that we have put off due to our busy lives: now is the time to get them done.
“My house is gleaming and I have a pile of items to take to the charity shops when they reopen!
“But most importantly ENJOY time with your family – quality time is priceless.”
Day 27 of Milspo’s #TheBigSupport campaign with Small Business Britain and today it’s the turn of Mary Burgess and her businesses: Serenity, Young Yogis and Mindful Mums.
“I have developed a wellness business, to which I have added a number of complementary holistic practices.
“Initially, I provide an education In the use of natural products to support a client’s and their wider family’s health. This includes essential oils, aroma touch massage, emotional aromatherapy and other holistic services.
“These bespoke packages are designed to support physical, mental and emotional health and resilience.
“I also teach children’s yoga (3-12 years old) for physical, emotional and mental support, combining exercise with mindfulness, essential oils, games and positivity.
“With @milspobusinessnetwork I enjoy the opportunity to engage with like-minded people, who truly understand what it is to be a military spouse with their own business.
“I also love being able to reach out to support other families, suffering under the day-to-day pressures of military life.
“The focus on health during the current pandemic is driving people to be ever more aware of holistic remedies to help and improve the quality of their lives.
“This, coupled with exercise and mindfulness is having great effect as developing more stable and grounded individuals and families.”
Suzanne Pattinson is our guest for Day 28 of Milspo’s #TheBigSupport campaign with Small Business Britain here to tell us about Soul Purpose Jewellery
“Soul Purpose Jewellery is beautiful handmade and personalised sterling silver jewellery, made for women with soul and purpose.”
“The Milspo Network is a daily reminder that I’m not alone. Having a place where like-minded people interact and support each other is so powerful and some days I need to see other people doing great things to remind me that I too can achieve what feels like the unachievable!”
“During lockdown I’ve taken the time to invest in the admin side of my business, something I’ve been putting off because I enjoy being at my workbench so much!
“It’s also reaffirmed why I’m doing this. Not only does it make my heart happy, it gives me balance, allows me to spend time with my children and enables me to move around the country with very little disruption to my working life.”

It’s Day 29 and our penultimate business in Milspo’s #TheBigSupport campaign with

Small Business Britain is Strongmumma Clothing. Nicola Craig tells us more.
“We design fun, uplifting and inspiring clothing and accessories for the whole family: for all Strong Mummas and their families. Everyone has a story to tell so wear your story with pride.”
“The Milspo Network has enabled me to make connections and friendships with fellow military wives who totally understand the constraints and challenges faced been a military wife, mum and small business owner.
“When I need advice or want to outsource work, I ask the group and know their advice is invaluable.
“I recently started a rebranding of my website and have onboard an amazing military wife who runs a logo design company, knowing we are helping each other is a good feeling.
“During lockdown, I designed an “NHS proud” bag for my mother who works in our local hospital and the response was huge. So I popped the design on my website and as a result I have been donating 15% of profits from the sale of that bag to @nhscharitiestogether.
“I have been sent so many messages from people who are sending them as gifts to nurses and friends who work for the NHS.
“Knowing my design has brightened up someone’s day makes me happy.”
Well we can’t believe it’s Day 30 and the last day of Milspo’s #TheBigSupport campaign with Small Business Britain. We hope you’ve enjoyed discovering some new products and services, and hearing from the inspiring people behind them.
On our final day we hand over to Willow Hearn and her business, British Babies
“British Babies is a unique collection of organic baby and toddler clothing and accessories, all made in the UK.
“With unisex designs from newborn to 3-4 years printed on super soft organic cotton, they are a gorgeous and eco-friendly choice of clothing.
“The designs are completely different to what you find on the high street. Everything is beautifully wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and all packaging used is recyclable.
“The Milspo Business Network is a valuable networking tool for myself as a self-employed military spouse, as I can network with many others in similar circumstances who understand the professional pressures and difficulties faced..
“It is a great, safe forum for us all to confidently ask questions, provide feedback or share information.
“As regards the COVID-19 pandemic, the advantage of working from home is that I can continue as business as usual.
“We have seen an increase in sales as more people are shopping online and larger retailers are unable fulfil orders and are experiencing long delays. We are still able to turnaround orders as per our usual schedule.
“We have also been offering a weekly giveaway to expectant mothers on our Facebook page with the aim to put a smile on their faces during these daunting times.”