Style of the city meets incredible female entrepreneurs doing it for themselves.
Elizabeth Daniel owner of Brecon Beacons Holiday Cottages is a business force to be reckoned with. In 1978 with just one cottage and as a single parent to two small children, Elizabeth against all odds single-handedly grew her business and now over 35 years later has 400 cottages on her books.
Style of the city chats to this remarkable, inspirational woman who simply ‘did it for herself’.
Why did you decide on starting a holiday cottage business?
I decided to start my own cottage business when my husband left me and I was left with two little babies and two cottages with no means of an income, I had long term tenants in the cottage and they trashed it and once I re-did it up again I thought well the obvious thing is to holiday let it. I started off with a couple of cottages, put an advert in the Sunday Times and the enquiries started rolling in.
Have you ever felt any hurdles being a female business owner?
Over the years I have actually felt that people haven’t taken me seriously, I may not have been a particularly good business woman financially but I stuck at it and I have got a lot of new owners by being approachable and very honest. I have never played any games that some business people play and I think it’s an advantage being a woman in this sort of business.
Many cottage businesses come and go, why do you think yours has stood the test of time?
Over the years I’ve built a really good reputation and we are recommended locally, all of our owners recommend us and visitors recommend us so a massive amount of our work is done on recommendation.
What areas do you cover with your cottages?
We cover the whole of the Brecon Beacons National Park. This crosses 5 counties; Carmarthenshire, West Glamorgan, Mid Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Monmouthshire and Powys. It’s an area steeped in history with plenty of culture and adventure.
What can people expect from a self catering cottage?
You would get complete privacy and you can do exactly what you want when you want. You don’t have to get up for breakfast at a certain time, you can take your dog if you wanted. People like the independence that having a cottage brings. You chose simplicity or luxury in your holiday cottage whether it’s a hot tub you want or a swimming pool
Is there any tips and advice you would give somebody wanting to start their own business?
My tip if your starting your own business is to be straight with people and then you build up a good reputation. Keep your head down and keep going. Take any opportunity that comes along. I’m sure I’ve been a bit cautious and could have grown this business more, but I grew it slowly as my children got older. At one time I use to even clean my own cottages but thankfully I’ve got a team of 10 members of staff and we use a reputable cleaning agency.
To find out more about Brecon Beacon Holiday Cottages log onto www.breconcottages.com