Kelly Chamberlain is a woman constantly on the go – running three businesses as well as looking after her two young daughters.

Kelly Chamberlain, entrepreneur, of The Bear Garden, Tower Ramparts shopping centre

Kelly Chamberlain, entrepreneur, of The Bear Garden, Tower Ramparts shopping centre - Credit: Archant

Kelly is a businesswoman who is always on the go

The 33-year-old entrepreneur is an expert at juggling her various roles and 18 months after launching her shop, The Bear Garden, in Tower Ramparts, she shows no signs of slowing down.

Kelly, who lives in Ipswich, started her very first commercial enterprise as a 15-year-old, setting up a market stall alongside her mother’s and selling beach towels in the summer holidays.

Now she is celebrating success in the midst of her second year of trading for The Bear Garden as well as continuing to teach dance and drama to the area’s schoolchildren and operating a wedding and events business on the weekends.

Kelly said: “People often say they don’t know how I do it, but it’s just who I am. It can be hard, and sometimes I think it would be nice just to have a nine-to-five job that I left behind at the end of every day, but I don’t think I could really do that. I wouldn’t be happy.


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“There’s a lot of balancing and juggling but it’s all about priorities and organising your time. It also helps that I have some really amazing people working for me.

“I have some staff at Tower Ramparts who are just amazing and I know if I am spending the weekend running around sorting someone’s wedding out then The Bear Garden is in safe hands. Without them I just wouldn’t be able to do it, it would be impossible.”

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Always more comfortable to give others the credit that she clearly deserves herself, Kelly attributes her current success to a lucky break she had back in 2004.

She said: “I was passionate about teaching children dance and drama and launched my first business, Polkadot Dance, with a grant from the Prince’s Trust.

“I think the fact that the Prince’s Trust had such faith in me is what has made me always want to work so hard. I wanted them to see that they were right to invest in me.

“I worked all hours and after a while I was running courses for couples’ first dance classes and I really loved being involved in their special day. That is what inspired me to go more in to the wedding business.”

Kelly decided to complete a wedding planning course to learn the ins and outs of the business before focussing on the more theatrical elements that automatically appealed to the performing arts side of her nature.

She now runs Polkadot Chair Cover and Props Hire and spends her weekends creatively dressing wedding venues and staging dramatic settings for individual big days all around Suffolk.

When she is not delivering props and dressing venues, Kelly still finds time to keep The Bear Garden, Ipswich’s only independent bear building business, going from strength to strength at Tower Ramparts.

She said: “The Bear Garden is going really well. We’ve got a new delivery of bears exclusive to us for this area that are being launched this weekend and it’s been a really busy Easter holiday.

“The business was an idea that came out of the blue, as it was all my daughter Isabella’s idea. She knew what the venues were offering and said that we needed one here in Ipswich.

“To be honest I just saw a bit of myself in her. I know I got where I am because someone had believed in me, and I really wanted to show her what could happen if someone showed that little bit of faith in her.

“I absolutely love it now and we call her the creative director because it was all her idea after all and I want her to realise the importance of that.”

Whether eight-year-old Isabella or her two-year-old sister Lola realise how important they are to their mum or not, Kelly’s priority is always to balance the needs of her three businesses with those of her family.

Her husband, Neil, works at Felixstowe docks and between them they juggle the demands so that family comes first and all three enterprises are thriving.

Kelly said: “It is going really well at the moment and I am proud of that but I’m not very good at accepting the credit for that. There’s nothing magic about me.”

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