Sharing Experience: Jo Day, Hudson Group
There are many paths that can lead to running a business. For me, it was a journey that began at the deep end and taught me some hard lessons early on.
In 2009, at the age of 24, I found myself in a courtroom having to shut down our family promotional merchandise company. I’d given up my job to help save the business, but sadly, it was too far gone.
However, as one door closed, another opened enabling me to reengage with an industry I love.
Grasping the opportunity
In 2010, I met Tom Wright, who is joint owner and director of the Hudson Group with Steve Flory. Hudson specialise in anything branded, from signage and vehicle livery, to engraving and clothing. We discussed working together and I knew I could bring something to the table.
With a portfolio of clients and knowledge of the promotional merchandise industry, I helped them expand by setting up a new division, Hudson Promo. Based at Needham Market, Ipswich, my role has grown considerably, while the wider company has also flourished – establishing a factory locally for metal fabrications. I run the group’s promotional merchandise, clothing and print divisions and am responsible for 13 staff members, including our West Midlands office.
After five years developing my division and following the birth of my third child, I grew hungry for more, and earlier this year, I was made a director and shareholder.
Juggling work demands with being a mother can be challenging, but I’ve had great support from Tom, Steve and the team; expectations have changed since Covid thanks to agile working – we’ve come a long way.
Be true to yourself
I’ve worked incredibly hard to get to this point because I’ve always wanted to be the best I could be. Right from the off, I remembered what happened with the family company – that was the biggest learning curve for me in how to run a business. I think much of the desire to do well has been not just for myself, but for the family, too.
However, I’ve realised you have to be patient. You may think you deserve a promotion or a higher salary, but first ask yourself what more you can bring to the business – not what it can do for you.
It’s a principle I now apply to my own team, while I’ve also learnt to delegate. Running two sites 150 miles apart is challenging, but I’m regularly at West Bromwich because I want every team member to believe in what I’m trying to achieve and to know their thoughts count, too.
I think part of the reason the Hudson Group has done so well and has such a great reputation is that Tom, Steve and I span three different generations. We learn from each other, but we also want to develop the next generation of employees, so we are well positioned to expand further and invest more in what we do best.
These are exciting times for the Hudson Group.