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Date added: 20 August 2013

Inspirational Women in Swindon - Part V 

Liz Brackenbury meets Jan Angelo, owner of Wall2Wall Decorating, in the fifth of our series...
 
Filling the walls of her busy office walls, photographs of Janet Angelo and her team bustle for space alongside the many awards and accolades she's won over the years.
 
Since starting her own business, Wall2Wall decorating, in 2004 as a one woman band, Jan has never looked back.
 
Jan Angelo, Wall2Wall Decorating Swindon
 
After winning the HSBC Start Up Stars award in 2006, a host of other awards then followed.
 
Jan and her business were Regional Finalists (West, Wales & Northern Ireland) in 2006. She was Wiltshire Business Awards Business of the Year Awards small business finalist 2007 and runner up 2008, and was announced Business Person of the Month 2008.
 
2010 saw her personally recognised by winning the NatWest EveryWoman Hero Award 2010, the same year the Investors in People accreditation was achieved.
  
A worthy testament to a woman who's heart is right at the centre of her business.
 
And one thing is abundantly clear. This is not only a business that’s been successful in its own right but one which has been recognised for Janet Angelo’s investment and commitment to training and supporting her staff as well as public recognition for her personally as a business woman and her many achievements in developing Wall2Wall decorating into the thriving and professional business that it is today.
 
Difference in attitude 
 
Jan started her career as one of the first women remedial surveyors in 1984, surveying old properties for damp and timber problems and other structural issues.
 
It was this job which gave her an insight into the difference between a male and female perspective in how a job was done and the things she felt could be improved.
 
Little did she realise then, just how important this would become in the ethos and mission statement behind setting up her own business just a few years later.
 
But before starting Wall2Wall decorating, Jan's life was far removed from pots of paints, brushes and business contracts!
 
"Life went from being good and comfortable to changing dramatically and it didn’t seem, for the best, at that time," Jan told us.
 
"I'd gone from having a decent life to nearly losing everything. It happened quickly and for a time the future looked uncertain.
 
"I can't lie, times were tough, very tough.
 
"Then one day I woke up and knew things had to change and it was down to me to make that happen."
 
Jan was back in business!
 
Turning a negative situation into a positive, as is Jan's style, always a grafter, and with a love of decorating, Jan saw a niche in the market for female painters and decorators.
 
Jan Angelo, Wall2Wall Decorating Swindon
With her get up and DO attitude she printed some business cards and started handing them out to friends and family. And from taking those first small steps, things started to snowball.
 
Her reputation for her professionalism and quality work grew and so did the amount of work coming in.
 
"I didn t have any formal decorating qualifications," Jan added, "but I am a perfectionist and have always taken pride in what I do whatever it may be, plus I am passionate about customer care and for a seeing a job well done.
 
"My business enabled to bring these together. It was exciting times."
 
Her business ethos hasn’t changed since those early days when she admits to only owning two sets of clothes - her trademark white overalls and her nightie.
 
"I worked all hours," she remembers, "long hours and it was hard labour, but I loved it and was determined to make it a success."
 
Male dominated industry
 
As to be expected in such a male dominated industry, Jan came across plenty of male chauvinistic comments, such as ‘what does SHE know?’
 
"I suppose that was to be expected," she reflects,  "After all there weren’t many female painters and decorators around, but those comments were like a red rag to a bull to me and only made me more determined to succeed."
 
Her business Wall2Wall decorating then became definded by what she saw lacking in the industry especially during her time as a surveyor.
 
Jan remembers: "I was frustrated at the lack of customer service and care. I remember little things that were missing, like being respectful of clients homes, workplaces and properties.
 
"Also small, but what I saw as important details were missing, like not keeping the working environment tidy and organised and not clearing up properly after a job was completed.
 
"These made me frustrated. Really frustrated!
 
"Quite often, what I'd seen on site was that blokes see what they can get away with. As a woman I saw things in a more femine light.
 
"For me, fundamentally," says Jan, "customer care is as important as the job.
 
"The two go hand in hand."
 
Jan's softer approach appealled especially to women and the elderly who may live alone and feel more comfortable with a female work person in their home, and the testaments she's received, definitely support this as a winning formula.
 
Though she has also won the respect, recognition and contracts for her high quality of workmanship, exceptional standards and delivering a quality service within the estimated time frame.
 
This was a woman on a mission!
 
As the workload grew, Jan recognised she'd have to expand by taking on more staff. A task Jan remembers as her hardest.
 
"I'd built up a great reputation based on my own high standards, quality of work, customer care and satisfaction," she said.
 
"I now had to find people to employ who met my own expectations, and mine are high!"
 
But she definitely seems to have got it right.
 
Jan Angelo, Wall2Wall Decorating Swindon
With a small staff turnover, her team has grown steadily over her nine years of trading. She now employs a fully qualified team of 14 women and men, including five who started as apprentices in the business and are now NVQ 2 qualified or working towards their NVQ level 3 qualifications.
 
And Jan is passionate about providing and supporting all her staff with access to the best training and qualifications, something that she is particularly proud of.
 
"We’re like an extended family," smiling as she explains further.
 
"I'm a real peoples person and believe in treating people as I'd like to be treated myself.
 
"I cannot stand incompetence and unfairness, not just in what I do but also for people in general.
 
"I have a strong sense of what's wrong and what's right. That goes without exception throughout my professional and personal life. I'm very fortunate to be able to combine my passion for painting and decorating with my passion for what I believe in and I won't ever compromise that."
 
What's obvious, is that Jan not only speaks but works from the heart.
 
With an array of winning awards, accolades and glowing testaments, Janet Angelo is a woman who knew what she wanted, worked hard to achieve it and definitely deserves the success of her labours.
 
Wall2Wall decorating
 
Wall2Wall Decorating Swindon
Provide all aspects of interior and exterior decorating. Commercial / Industrial / Domestic. Paper hanging including muraspec plastering, tiling, spraying and paint effects. Signwriting.
 
The Manse, Caxton Close, Swindon, Wilts SN3 2HS
Telephone: 01793 435141 or 07800 905006
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