Taking 10 with...Barbara Cooke

Taking 10 with...Barbara Cooke

Sunday 6th May 2018

By Michelle Hammond

Q1 - How did your childhood influence your work ethic and attitude
towards business?

My parents ran their own successful distribution business and had fantastic work ethics of working hard, but also playing hard and loving life. They instilled this into all us five children, we were all working from an early age to earn pocket money. We were taught never to take anything for granted, which is something I have tried to instil in my children as well.

Q2 - What do you believe the principles of a successful business are

Believe in yourself, be passionate about your products, love your customers, create loyalty amongst your staff, and be in control of all the numbers both top line and bottom line.

Q3 - Looking back, what was your best business decision?

Starting BC Softwear over 16 years ago. I worked from home for 5 years on my own before it really took off, it was really tough at times, and there were many times I wanted to give up and go back to the well paid jobs I used to have in the IT software world. I am delighted I didn’t. It’s a great business, which I am truly passionate about, and I love the industry we supply. 

Q4 - Who has influenced you the most through your career?

My mother is the most inspirational person in my life, she continues to be my mentor in life, and although she is 86 this year, she is as sharp as ever and always manages to see another angle or perspective on things.

Q5 - What was your most difficult / worst business decision?

For many years in the early days I concentrated too much in supplying the commercial laundry sector, over 80% of my turnover was to laundries, which could have been the complete downfall of the company, since this sector has seen huge changes, including direct imports and massive consolidation. Fortunately, I saw the light before it was too late.

Q6 - What would you say was the single most advantageous character trait for success?

A belief in yourself, and determination to succeed

Q7 - What happens when you’re stressed or overwhelmed?

A good and sometimes even just a quick workout in the gym is great for stress relief. My dog who comes to the office every day has a great calming effect on me or I go for a drive, I’ve always found driving relaxing.

Q8 - How do you invest in your own wellbeing. How do you look after yourself?

I go to the gym regularly, have regular beauty treatments of nails, feet and facials, and
occasional massages, and try and maximise sleep as much as I can.

Q9 - If you could change one thing about the spa and wellness industry what would it be and why?

It’s been great to see how the spa world has evolved over the last 12 years or so,
particularly in promoting it to all types of audience today, whatever the background or age, and particularly in the areas of wellness, so I can’t really see anything in particular I’d like to change. It’s a great industry. 

Q10 - Finally, What’s your favourite quote or the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Never give up, until you have exhausted all options. 


1. What’s your favourite book ?

I have read so many books in my life, it’s impossible to name a single one, I always
buy the latest Lee Child book featuring Jack Reacher, he is a hero, I love his stories
and intrigue. It’s great to escape and immerse yourself in a good book.

2. What’s your favourite film of all time ?

As a child I loved best of all the Sound of music, and have seen it several times as a
adult, it’s such a great love story with great singing from all the children. I also fell in
love with Roger Moore as James Bond in Live and let die as a young teenager.

3. If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why? 

Maggie Thatcher, her steely determination in leading the country was always highly

4. You get taken to your favourite place to be, where are you taken? 

On the beach, with a warm and calm sea, or anywhere with a great sea view and the
sun shining.
5. Your perfect dinner is?

With my family and close friends, with lots of banter, lots of laughter, not forgetting
lots of wine!

6. Your go to drink is? 

Gin and tonic in a large balloon glass or fish bowl as I call them. 

7. Your favourite sweet treat is? 

I don’t eat a lot of sweets or dessert, but occasionally chocolate.

8. What’s your favourite essential oil / scent? 


9. You go for a treatment - what do you have and why? 

Deep tissue massage, to relieve stressed shoulders and aching muscles. 

10. What’s your favourite flower?

Love all flowers, whatever is in season, so tulips and daffodils in spring, so many summer flowers, and gladioli in late summer. It’s the one consistent treat to myself, I always buy fresh flowers for home.

11. You want to sleep deeply, what do you do?

A large glass of red wine and a good book. 

12. You want to energise fast, what do you do?

A quick interval training session. 

13 The theme tune to your life is?

‘That’s life’ by Frank Sinatra 

14 What makes you laugh to your belly?

My sons when they occasionally get together (the oldest lives in NYC) with their
constant banter, and usually taking the mickey out of me!

15 What’s your favourite season?


16 What’s your favourite colour?

Fuchsia pink 

17 Your favourite time of day is?

Early morning 

18 If you could have been anyone or anything else, what / who would you be?

A Wild life explorer 

19 What’s your current TV guilty secret?

All animal documentaries and Battersea dogs home. 

20 Magic dust - you can learn one new skill instantly, what is it?

To be able to sing.

Barbara was born in Sweden, and spent her early childhood there until the whole family moved to UK, in her early teens. She completed a Business degree at London University, after which she started a successful 20-year career in IT software, selling business solutions software to large corporates.

Following a short spell of redundancy in the dot.com boom and bust of the early years of 2000, she got the idea of a complete change of career, following a visit from friends who had moved to Turkey, who were looking at exporting products from Turkey. One of the products was honey, the other was towels. Towels were quickly chosen, and Barbara also chose the hotel and spa industry as the target audience. That was the start of BC Softwear, the name which was a pun on Barbara’s background, which has grown from nothing 16 years ago, to the substantial company it is today, supplying over 85% of the UK Spa industry.

Learn more about BC Softwear

Connect with Barbara: 

Email: barbara@bcsoftwear.co.uk

Follow BC Softwear: 

Facebook: @BcSoftwear

Twitter: @BCSoftwear

Want to learn more about what’s possible, practical and beneficial in the treatment room for those with chronic health conditions?

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