In 2013, Emily Pitts started Womenclimb after becoming a climbing instructor at Manchester Climbing Centre. She noticed that she couldn't find much information about climbing on the internet that was written by women and when she climbed outdoors, she struggled to find many female climbing partners. Emily had come to climbing at age 30 with a small child in tow. She fell in love with the freedom that climbing gave her and how it helped her to relax from the stresses of everyday life and work.
With the help of Lee and Adam from Webcentric 360, she started www.womenclimb.co.uk as a blog. The blog developed, she ran some events and started a social media presence, with no prior knowledge of social media, marketing, events management or blogging. It was a BIG learning curve and to this day she learns something new every day.
The path to Womenclimb today wasn't a smooth one - there have been ups and downs along the way. In 2018, Emily had to make a decision about Womenclimb's direction. Since 2013 she had worked full time whilst running Womenclimb and being a single parent. What she realised is that there is only so long that one person can work two full time jobs! She was exhausted and crunch time came. It was at this point that she met Simon Crossland from inversion and started life coaching with Lucy Blue. With their support and encouragement she made the decision to put every bit of energy and passion into running Womenclimb as a socially-motivated business with a membership. She researched, investigated, learnt, developed ideas and put everything into one massive Gantt chart. In September 2018 she put the call out for volunteers to help her and since then the team has expanded to over 20 volunteers, who have helped shape Womenclimb, its content and its meetups.
Emily still works full time and on a voluntary basis, but in May 2019 the team launched Womenclimb membership. This has been a roaring success with 100 members joining in the first month and 5* feedback from everyone attending our meetups. Membership income has helped to pay for volunteer expenses, website costs, website upgrades, equipment, merchandise and all sorts of things that you don't know about until they come out of your bank account!
It’s an exciting time for us. Our meetups have proven to be massively successful, so we plan to expand the meetups programme for 2020. At the same time, we want to keep providing great information and support through our social media channels and website. Emily is also hoping to be able to reduce her working hours to focus on the continued growth of Womenclimb, ensuring it’s the best it can be so that we can empower more women to get out climbing.
Here's a peek into our meetups....