Kelli Aspland, co-founder of Solar Buddies was the only Welsh winner of a NatWest everywoman award at a glittering ceremony in London last week.
The 17th annual 2019 NatWest everywoman Awards celebrated Britain’s most inspiring female entrepreneurs, each recognised for their outstanding achievements. These awards champion women in enterprise from all walks of life, providing a platform to share their journeys to success. This year’s winners include women who are transforming and disrupting their respective industries, from art and social enterprises to wellness and beauty – all the winners are role models whose success will encourage future generations of female talent.
Kelli a businesswoman, mum and entrepreneur from Cwmbran received The Aphrodite Award open to women from across the UK who founded businesses whilst raising children aged 12 years and under.
Together with her best friend Laura Waters, both were full time mums before forming Solar Buddies in 2014 to develop, patent and manufacture a specialist sunscreen applicator designed to make applying it easy and mess free. It also tackled the ‘no-touch’ policy many schools have, thereby preventing teachers helping their younger pupils to protect themselves from the sun.
With no previous business experience, Kelli and Laura teamed up with product design students from Cardiff Met University and developed their refillable applicable which is now sold directly and via retailers across the world. Solar Buddies recorded an increase in revenue of over 200% in the last two years alone.
Whilst setting the business up, Kelli was also managing the serious medical conditions two of her four children were receiving treatment for. These required frequent hospital appointments and overnight stays.
Commenting on winning the award, Kelli said,
“This is a dream come true. I am so proud of everything Laura and I have achieved with Solar Buddies and look forward to continuing to grow and develop the business both here in the UK and internationally. I am fortunate to have a fantastic and now healthy family who have been very supportive throughout our journey so far and hope that others might use our story as a source of inspiration to go out and do something similar themselves. To be shortlisted amongst so many talented businesswomen was wonderful, to win this award is something else. I am so proud.”