INVEST ST HELENS BUSINESS AWARDS:Network Space Micro-business of the Year: Face2face

“ST HELENS has been the place where I rebuilt my life and my business,” said Joanne Partington, owner of Face2Face.

“I want to shout out from the rooftops and inspire others who live and work here to raise their aspirations in spite of what life throws at them.”

Joanne moved to St Helens from Doncaster in 2011 – having experienced domestic violence.

She put her energies into rebuilding her entertainment business before opening an agency in 2017.

“I started out working on cruise ships and as a holiday rep,” she explained.

“I remember being so grateful to the agency that gave me that opportunity.

“Everyone has a story and a purpose, so one of the main drivers for me developing my business into an agency was discovering local talent. I wanted to give them a platform through Face2Face to both develop themselves and their entertainment experience.”

Two years on, the agency is a runaway success – servicing private and corporate functions with artists ranging from face painters and magicians to DJs and stilt walkers.

“Face2Face creates opportunities for local self-employed artists to work,” said Joanne. “I always give each artist the fee they ask for, which has encouraged loyalty to my brand.

“They wear my T-shirts and carry my business cards; team morale is very high.”

A prolific fundraiser for local charities including Willowbrook Hospice, The Hope Centre and Teardrops Supporting the Homeless, Joanne hosts an annual ‘thank you’ party for her customers.

She has also established Ladies That Sparkle: a support group for St Helens’ female business owners who network online and meet monthly in person.

“We have nearly 900 members who successfully promote their own products and services or support others through recommendations,” explained Joanne, who has been in business for 15 years.

“We look forward to supporting our chosen charity, Sam’s Diamonds Cancer Support.”

Joanne first considered entering herself for an award in 2010 but lost her confidence and tore up the application.

Nearly a decade later, she believes she has manifested her ‘Micro Business of the Year’ win.

She added: “I have grown as a person and I feel worthy of the recognition. I’m so happy I entered!”

Other finalists in the category were Lionheart Hypnobirthing and Kreative Kirsty.