Celebrating Swindon and Wiltshire’s most inspiring women – 2023

By Nick Batten on 24 March, 2023

To mark International Women’s Day 2023, which this year took place on Wednesday 8th March, we’re celebrating some of Swindon and Wiltshire’s most inspiring women. 

Through our social media channels, we asked our readers which women in our community inspire them and created a list of 20. The list is printed in our Feb/March magazine and from Wednesday 1st March, every weekday throughout the month we are profiling and championing each of these fantastic women online and via our social feeds.

Today we put the spotlight on Claire Anello…

Claire is the owner of Swindon-based Stargazey Workshops and The Piggy Bank Club (as a Partner with Utility Warehouse.) 

After finding herself a single mother of three young children and unable to get a nine-to-five job due to childcare costs, Claire used her passion for upholstering and soft furnishings to begin working in her spare room and renting a village hall to run upholstery classes. However, due to the 2008 recession, the demand for commission work fell and the classes were suddenly empty. 

Claire was then offered the chance to work in a florist where she did an NVQ in the workplace. Although loving floristry, she also ran a successful cleaning business with a friend and joined Utility Warehouse as a Partner. 

Eventually, upholstery and soft furnishing became popular again and Claire started up Stargazey Workshops in 2017 – teaching upholstery, soft furnishings, floristry, and many other subjects while also continuing to grow her UW business. 

Claire currently leads a large growing team, heading towards 300 personal customers. They have helped nearly 800 families save money.

Alongside all this, Claire has managed to bring up three children, trek Machu Picchu, the Cuban Mountains and the Sahara Desert for charity, supported Macmillan and completed charity driving challenges for Marie Curie (which included driving a tank). She is still a supporter of People against Poverty having visited Romania with them, jumped out of an aeroplane and abseiled down a big drop. 

Claire said, “My aim is to inspire others and help them create a better life – as this business has done for me.”

For more information about International Women’s Day visit: internationalwomensday.com 

This year’s theme is Embrace Equity. Follow the conversation on socials using the hashtag #EmbraceEquity.

Pictured above: Claire Anello, Owner of Stargazey Workshops