Vibe started out when mortgage broker Kim McGinley wanted to set up her own firm on the South Coast. Almost two years on, the firm is creating more opportunities for women in finance, offering flexible working around their families and lives.
After working in London for more than a decade as a specialist mortgage broker, Kim was ready for a new challenge.
“I decided to use my experience to set up my own brokerage,” Kim said.
“In November 2017 I started putting everything together while working full time and in January 2018 handed in my notice and left in March.
“I had no clients whatsoever starting out. It’s something I’ve built and I started by working in my conservatory at home.”
Supporting women in finance
But it wasn’t long before Kim opened her office in Lee on the Solent and was joined by two members of staff, who also happen to be working mums.
“In January this year, I took on Beth as a case manager, she came on part-time,” Kim said. “She’s been a mum for the last ten years but she had previously been in the industry and needed something flexible. She only works term times, and during the school holidays she can be at home with her children.
“In June we took Nicola on as well part time. Nicola worked for Halifax.
“We took on experienced people, and I was keen to give the opportunity to people who wanted flexibility.
“Being a full time working mum myself, it is the backbone of what I wanted Vibe to be.”
Fully female firm
“I’ve had many years of turning up to events and generally being the only women there. It has always been a very male-dominated industry.
“It wasn’t my intention to have a fully female-run business, but it’s great, it’s powerful.
“When I’m recruiting we would not discriminate. It’s just the way it has happened.”
Kim said her desire to employ those who want flexibility in their work ‘fits in with what we do and their own lives’, and she hopes to see other firms follow in her footsteps.
How I got into the industry
“For anybody who is in the financial service industry, nobody leaves school wanting to do it, It just kind of happens.
“I was studying drama at college and I realised I needed to think about a change in career.
“I worked at Abbey National and ended up working for mortgage brokers which was really good fun. What I have been doing as a loan manager for the specialist mortgage sector, you do not need a qualification for.
“Over the years there has been so much to learn as it is such a niche area.”
Although Kim had no formal finance qualifications before going out on her own, she did take a CeMAP qualification – an approved qualification in regulated mortgage advice – when she started Vibe.
Just 18 months in, her business has already been nominated for national industry awards, and she hopes to grow Vibe to 15 to 20 people in the next five to ten years.
One piece of advice she has for those going into the industry: “You have to be driven. I have been used to high targets, it keeps me going.”
And for those starting a business, surround yourself with people you trust, and don’t compare yourself to others – focus on what you’re doing.
She added: “Believe in yourself more and keep working hard.”
To find out more about Vibe, visit: vibefinance.co.uk