Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Award updates... Chamber of Commerce Awards 2011

I am very please to announce that I have won the prestigious title of the Chamber of Commerce business person of the year.

I am delighted with the title, as I have never won anything in a mixed sex group before. (Thats real girl power!)

What a wonderful way to end 2011!  

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

I find out tomorrow...

The day is dawning... and tomorrow I shall be at The Dorchester in London waiting to see who has won that all important NatWest Everywoman Award.

I have just had my nails done, and tomorrow I shall be visited at 6am by my wonderful hairdresser and friend Michelle - who will be making me feel powerful and confident.

I have to say I am very nervous as despite all of my achievements to date this is by far potentially the biggest one.

I wish my fellow finalists Sam (who has come to be a good friend of mine) and Carol-Ann who I have yet to meet the very best of luck. Win, lose or draw I think it will be a fantastic day

Monday, 14 November 2011

The best award news yet!!!

Official Press Release from Everywoman

9 November 2011


Showing the determination and initiative of a business owner with decades of experience, 25 year old Rachel Ducker has had an incredible career so far with her company Apparition Marketing and Design. Today the Suffolk-based businesswoman is named as a leading contender for this year’s NatWest everywoman Awards, one of Britain’s most revered prizes honouring British entrepreneurial success.

University is not the right course for everyone and Rachel Ducker saw enterprise as her future. Working for a variety of different companies, Rachel's enthusiasm and commitment toward her work allowed her to progress very quickly within the media / design industry, where she began to realise that she was more than capable of organising a business herself.  Eventually she decided to launch her own company from her bedroom at her parents’ home. Teaching herself web design, she took on her first client - a local bar - in 2009 and Apparition Marketing and Design was formed.

Today her client base is global with brands including University College London and NFU Mutual to whom she offers a one-stop shop for marketing solutions. She has recently launched a second business offering affordable mentoring services for young people and is also committed to pro-bono work for the local community. Rachel dismisses critics of her age claiming that it is “just a number” and her advice to local schools and regular newspaper column are testament to her considerable success.

The NatWest everywoman Awards were founded in 2003 to showcase the variety of female business role models, celebrating their success and inspiring future generations of entrepreneurs.

Commenting on this year’s line-up of finalists, everywoman co-founder, Karen Gill MBE, says, “The NatWest everywoman Awards have been recognising inspirational women across the country, and the finalists this year again show that anything can

be achieved, no matter what the odds. The women on this year’s shortlist have demonstrated passion, determination and dedication to get where they are, regardless of age, education or background. Given the plight of the economy it is more vital than ever that enterprise is encouraged and by recognising British success stories we will encourage more business start-ups.”

Carolyn Currie, Head of Women in Business at NatWest adds, "With the current high rates of female unemployment, never has the need to celebrate, encourage and promote female entrepreneurship been of more importance. I'd very much like to congratulate the 2011 NatWest everywoman Award nominees, who embody exactly the type of entrepreneur that will be so key to aiding recovery in the UK. I hope their stories will encourage more women into enterprise and our nationwide team of Women in Business advisers stand ready to aid them on their path to success."

Sharon Hilditch MBE, Managing Director of Crystal Clear comments, “Crystal Clear is delighted to continue supporting the everywoman Artemis Award. I am a passionate believer in this award which represents a fantastic opportunity to recognise the energy, determination and sheer hard work it takes to not only succeed in business but to also to get one off the ground. This year’s finalists have all shown these qualities admirably as well as displaying incredible commitment, drive and enthusiasm. I hope their achievements will be an inspiration to the next generation of upcoming female entrepreneurs.”

Rachel Ducker is nominated for the Artemis Award for the most inspiring businesswoman aged between 25 and under.

The winners will be announced at a lunch ceremony at London’s Dorchester Hotel on Wednesday 7th December 2011 attended by business figures, politicians and celebrities.

For further information about the Awards along with ticket prices and details visit www.everywoman.com


· About everywoman everywoman is an organisation that challenges and changes the mindsets of women in business to increase the number and raise the status of women in the economic community. Founded in September 1999 by Karen Gill and Maxine Benson, it is the UK’s largest female business community with over 40,000 members and growing. Through its programme of events, projects such as Modern Muse, training and awards, everywoman offers members support, skills and recognition. Members are supported to clarify their goals; ensure they have the right mindsets to realise them; gain skills to generate long-term success and are recognised for their achievements. Its ambition is to become the world’s largest and most influential female business network, inspiring generations of businesswomen and championing their cause, talents and prospects on a global scale. Karen and Maxine were both awarded the MBE in January 2009 for services to women’s enterprise.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Further award success...

After winning the East of England Young Businesswoman of the year award last year, on Friday we I found out that I have won an award.

The title is "Women of the future" for Ladies at11 sponsored by Natwest.

I am delighted to be nominated for another prestigious award.

Unfortunately, I cannot make the ceremony next Friday at Sandhurst Park on the Isle of White, but I would like to congratulate all of the winners and finalists.

For more information about you can view my website at www.rachelducker.com

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Sailing into relaxation!

A few weeks ago I set my self the challenge for one of my EADT 'Water off a ducks back' articles, to completely switch off from work and leave my "business hat" at home.

It timed in very well for my partner James's birthday weekend, so whilst doing some research on the internet I came across a The Salthouse in Ipswich. I have been there on a few occasions for some amazing dinners, however never stayed the night. To my surprise they were offering a sailing package in collaboration with their neighbours Viking Mariners also situated on the Waterfront.

I have never been sailing before and thought it would be a fabulous experience for us both to share.

After a blissful night in our Marina room at the Salthouse, which overlooked the beautiful harbor and featured a giant copper bath in the middle of the room, I started to feel very relaxed and James was thoroughly enjoying his birthday treat, especially as the food was so good. (He often uses his stomach to judge a stay!)

We had timed our stay perfectly for the Martine and Beer Festival along the Waterfront. It was great to be arose by the Parade walking by as we enjoyed breakfast in our room from the Balcony.

We also had the morning free to wander through the old rope making exhibitions, watch displays and even had the pleasure of meeting some pirates and hearing stories from the deep blue sea!

We could not waiting for our sailing trip to come around, it was booked for an afternoon sail starting at 2pm.

We arrived at the Viking Mariners shop and I was amazed to see such trendy, quality sailing items such as boat shoes, sailing tops, jackets. I usually shop in Crew Clothing and I have to say I was more drawn to the good hear than I am in Crew.

Once there, we met Chris who had been the friendly person behind the scenes organising my surprise sail. She had very kindly given us some waterproof clothing (just in case it rained) and introduced us to our Skipper Lee.

As I mentioned, we had not been sailing before so we had taken the precaution of some sea sickness tablets. I still had my hesitations and when I mentioned this to Lee, he immediately put us at ease and said we wouldn't need them.

Upon boarding the Catamaran 'Alchemy,' I was amazed by the size and luxury that greeted us.

As we pulled away from the harbor, James and I gave each other a look that said 'this is going to be fantastic.'

We also had on board with us a very lovely lady called Annie. I must say she really took care of us, bringing us lots of tea and biscuits and generally helping us to feel at ease and relaxed during our trip. I particularly got on very well with her, and it was nice to have her company whilst James chatted to Lee.

To my surprise Lee allowed us to sail the boat. The sailing part was quite easy however navigating the boat through the River traffic was a slightly different concern. Once ten minutes went by I felt I started to get the hang of it and felt more confident navigating through the traffic.

As I mentioned, James is very guided by his stomach, so when Annie brought our a plate of Chocolate Donuts and Carrot Cake, he was sold!

It was really lovely to enjoy the Coastal Suffolk Scenery  from the water, and I felt ultimately relaxed. It was also great to pass under the Orwell bridge rather than driving over it.

An hour or two past and the clouds darkened, as we felt a drop or two of rain and put on our sailing jackets, where most people would be disappointed we certainly were not as then, we really felt like we were sailing!

Shortly after we decided to hibernate in the cabin, where I was brought a nice cold glass of Rose wine in a snug little seating area.

The thing that I liked so much about the experience with Viking Mariners is that for four hours I felt like the boat was my home, we were given clear freedom to explore and could either sit back and relax or get involved as much as we wanted to.

We were sad to arrive back at the harbor but were buzzing for the next few days and stated immediately to each other how we would love to do it again with our friends. The great thing is the options that Viking Mariners have.

I was particularly interested in the Spa Day on the river that Chris was telling me about. They also do leadership team building days out, corporate and social days out and special celebrations like we had, so something for all occasions and as far as I am aware not many companies offer this?

I would 100% recommend anyone experienced in sailing or newbies like us to try an experience with the guys at Viking, you will not be disappointed!

To get in touch with them visit http://www.vikingmariners.co.uk/ or to view the Salthouse website see http://www.salthouseharbour.co.uk/.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Sound of Silence Chairty Event

I cant wait to get involved with a new charity on October 29th, at Suffolk New College, Apparition Martketing and Design are helping to support a brand new event named 'Sound of Silence.'

I was asked by Lina Hogg, (of Picasso HR and Suffolk Business Women) who is heading the event to get involved on a pro-bono basis and given the cause I was happy to do so. 

We are inviting a number of businesses to hold stalls during the day as well as a number of performers including my younger brother J.Ducker who has kindly donated one of his songs "When the night has dawned" to the event to raise money. Check him out at > www.jducker.co.uk.

Also we have the beautiful Gracie Wright fresh from L.A, performing and selling her E.P during the day. Born a London Lady (now a Suffolk Gal,) Gracie tours all over the world performing, so we are incredibly lucky to have her performing for us. Check her out at > http://www.myspace.com/gracielecoixwright.

We also have an art exhibition as well as an African Drumming band.

Lina is working with an organisation called Women for Women International (UK). http://www.womenforwomen.org/about-women-for-women/women-empowering-women.php .

Women for Women International is a shining beacon of hope for those women in war-torn countries that have been victims of brutality and targeted for rape and sexual violence. WfWI helps female survivors of war to rebuild their lives by providing them with skills, knowledge and loans that enable them to support themselves, their families and their community.

We are planning a public screening of a short documentary to gain awareness and raise funds, with support from Suffolk New College, DanceEast and many other wonderful individuals, called THE GREATES SILENCE – RAPE IN CONGO.

Here is a link to a short documentary narrated by Meryl Streep which you might find helpful to understand the work of WfWI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikH7pKFmkyE

Stay tuned for more details or visit www.makeanewdawn.org.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Apparition launches Apparition Music Promotions...

So... I have been very busy again and would like to announce the launch of my third business, Apparition Music Promotions.

The idea came from my younger brother JDucker who is a musician based in Suffolk. I felt there were not enough local companies out there supporting our local talent so Apparition Music Promotions was born.

Along with my Creative Agency Apparition Marketing and Design and Time2Shine (mentoring young people and start up businesses) - but now I am delighted to add something else to that list...

This week we are launching 'Apparition Music Promotions,' is a small promotions agency helping and supporting up and coming talent from across the UK.

The website is now live check it out here > Music Promotions Suffolk.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Don't forget whats important...

It is funny how every day you have your routines. Mine at the moment is get up - make the bed - clean the house then start work and I will stay there until I am finished.

The sad thing is sometimes when we get into this routine we can start to forget the great things we have around us, our family, friends or the things that we already have.

Today it is a Saturday and even though I shouldn't be working I am, which is bad. So I thought I would end my mini extra hour work morning to say thank you to the ones that I love.

To James for putting up with me!

To Archie for keeping me grounded!
To my mum, dad and brother Jay for always being there!  

And to my extended family!

Esther Ling Photography

Is anyone in need of some new photography?... Well we know just the person!

A few weeks ago I had Esther Ling round to take some shoots for a new website we were working on.

Esther is an expert in wedding and portrait commissions within the UK and Internationally. After looking at some of Esther Ling's Wedding Photography I was so impressed with her work, I had to request her services!

It was about time I had some photos done for my new website found at www.rachelducker.com.

Esther captured the exact image I was looking for and I was extremely impressed with the results.

Her approach is Intuitive, spontaneous, informal and I can confirm this is the person that I took my photos.

Check out a few of the shoots below:

 Thanks very much Esther!

The Anglian Business Awards

Terry Hunt, my editor at EADT (Archant)

We had a fabulous night last week at the Anglian Business Awards.

It was a very smooth running evening with great Adnams Champagne, a guest speaker John Humphries from BBC radio four, who was very funny plus amazing food from trainees at Milsoms.

To see Archant put on such a wonderful event I felt very proud of my association with the EADT newspaper paper.

As some of you may know our Suffolk Creative Agency Apparition Marketing and Design were up for the best start-up business of the year along with my good friend Hayley Sparkes and Together Property also based in Bury.

Hayley and I decided to put on a united front and we went to the event together along with our partners Craig and James. In a professional way we agreed to be happy for who ever won and if it was one of the two of us it would be a win win!

Rachel and Hayley finalists for the start-up business award

Sadly we were not successful this time, however I am very proud to announce that Gorgeous Star PR set up by Hayley won the award.

Gorgeous Star PR announced as winner!

I first met Hayley she worked for SK spa in Bury St Edmunds, she really wanted to set up her own business and I said well why don't you?

So I referred Hayley to my accountant who helped her to set up the business and donated her a website. This was enough to get her up and running and the rest was down to her! She has a great way with people which is what judges commented on during the awards.

Also during the night I bumped into a few good friends of mine, my good friend Esther Ling who is an amazing wedding photographer in Suffolk, along with her husband Ed Ling (who most of you may know! I swear he is Mr Facebook!)

Rachel with Esther Ling

Rachel with Ed Ling

And lastly the end of the night ended with a catch up with my good friend (head of the IOD and Ipswich building society) Paul Winter who was shortlisted for business person of the year award.

Rachel with Paul Winter

Another highlight was meeting those Crafty boys and girls from Crafted Media, who very kindly poured me one more glass of champagne (that I probably shouldn't have had) to celebrate their success of winning best small business. Which is great for the design industry in the area! Well done guys and ps. Tom I am on to you!

Two of the Crafted Media team!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Finalist for The Anglian Business Awards

I have received the some wonderful news that my first company, Apparition Marketing and Design Ltd, has been selected to be a finalist for the best start-up business in the 2011 Anglian Business Awards.

I am delighted to share this news, as it has been a really hard working year for all of the Apparition team.

I would personally like to thank all of our clients, team and friends for their invaluable support.

The awards will be announced next week at the Trinity Park Conference Center on 7th July.

Tickets are available at a cost of £75+VAT from Archant Suffolk on 01473 324559 or from events.suffolk@archant.co.uk

I have to say I am delighted I have had a few personal struggles lately and this has been a little reminder that I am still on course with my plan. Win or lose I am proud to be in this position with a number of other fantastic business people.

Will let you know the outcome soon!

10 reasons I love being a businesswoman...

1. I love being able to help others grow their own businesses.

2. It excites me enough to get me out of bed every day!

3. I learn something new when I least expect it.

4. It has helped me to grow up.

5. It has brought to me many other opportunities including radio and TV work.

6. It has given me the chance to express my views in my own newspaper column.

7. I can help my family and friends through other  business ventures. 

8. I can act as a mentor to people who need a little extra help.

9. I have proven to myself I can do it without a degree.

10. I feel really happy about my life because it is part f it.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

I have launched my second business...

A few weeks ago I decided to launch my second business 'Time2Shine.'

Time2Shine has been designed to help young people and first times businesses. Our goal is to support and encourage those who want to be able to work for themselves, providing them with the correct tools to steer them in the right direction for the future.

We aim to mentor those willing to learn, offering advice and guidance about the issues important in business, develop confidence and help every step of the way whilst offering a fundamental business package. 

I am very please with how the first few weeks have gone, there have been lots of interest and we have also teamed up with Suffolk EBP. We will be launching a workshop soon along with a competition to help local sixth formers in schools in Suffolk.

If you want to check out the new site visit www.time2shineltd.co.uk.

The Vanessa Show Reel

I have regularly appeared on Channel 5's Vanessa Show and some people have still yet to see it. So I managed to get some footage and put it into a show reel!


Saturday, 28 May 2011

My business celebrates its second birthday!

So it is official my first company, Apparition Marketing and Design a Creative Agency in Norfolk and Suffolk, has now made it past two years in business.

I really can't say where the time has gone, but it has certainly been a busy two years for us.

Below we have listed just a few of the highlights...

Opening the Apparition Studio
Appartions Christmas open evening
Raising money for the Halesworth Christmas Lights
With T.Coffeey MP
Talking at the IOD inspirations event in Southend
Charity Fashion Show
Winning EEBW award
Talking at the Swan Hotel in Beccles
Promoting all over the place!
Writing a weekly business column Water off a ducks back in EADT
On a billboard!
Regular appearances on the Vanessa Show on channel 5
Working with some amazing international clients!
And some local ones!
Talking at WiRE and helping other women in business
Becoming Mark Murphys Apprentice Guru on Radio Suffolk!

Apparitions First Birthday!

Judging EEBW awards 2010