Shelena Richardson juggles being an accountant with running her own wine business as well as having a family. Catherine Scott reports.
As a schoolgirl, aged 10, Shelena Richardson knew what direction she wanted her life to take.
The child who loved maths announced she wanted to become an accountant. “Everyone thought it was a really bizarre ambition at that age,” she says. She went on to train in accountancy and work for a number of local accountancy firms before launching her own book-keeping company 11 years ago, aged just 25. Her current practice, Blue Stone Book-keeping was founded in 2012 and is thriving.
But now another love is taking her in a new direction. She also developed a passion for fine wine and went into the wine trade.
Initially she ventured into a partnership with one of her accountancy clients, who worked in beer and wines, as a silent partner.
But when the business was sold on after 12 months, Shelena decided to try again as a sole director, registered the trading name Onlinewinecellar.co.uk in 2014 and began trading in 2015.
Onlinewinecellar.co.uk sources quality wines, ciders and beers from around the world and Shelena is developing her knowledge and palate via global wine fairs and The Wine & Spirit Education Trust, which provides globally recognised education and qualifications in wines and spirits
“In my job I get to sample some stunning wines,” says Shelena.
“I go to The London Wine Fair every year, where 10,000 wines and spirits from all over the world are showcased, and to tastings with suppliers in London, Leeds and Manchester. It beats accounts any day!”
She began trading from November 2015 and supplies wines and beers to the public and as corporate gifts for companies.
Online Wine Cellar has a stock of over 450 products, including a specialist range of organic wines, gift collections and wines for vegans and vegetarians.
The 36-year-old lives with her two children, aged nine and six and works long hours to juggle her two very different businesses.
Shelena’s partner works abroad. His career as a leading security consultant sees him protecting crews and vessels (from trade ships to superyachts) against threats ranging from land-based extremists to Somali pirates as they travel through high risk areas of the globe. Her father is Jamaican (he settled in Sheffield in 1973) and she is the niece of Sheffield-raised Uriah Rennie, but she says her most inspirational person is her mother.
“My mum, Novlette Balela (Rennie), is a confident, caring and hardworking woman who supports me in whatever I do. She taught me that having a career and a family and aiming high is more than possible,” says Shelena
“Mum has a doctorate and became the UK’s first black female chief executive in the sports sector; she was awarded an OBE in 2007 for her work with Sporting Equals, the UK’s leading organisation for promoting racial equality in sport.”
Shelena’s top tips to avoid a hangover
Avoid dehydration - Drink one glass of water for every glass of wine
Drink red wine with a moderate tannin content instead of white
Go organic - Wines with chemical additives are more likely to cause hangovers.
Read the label - For a wine that is less likely to give you a hangover, choose one with alcohol levels of 12.5-13.5.
Go for a smaller glass - it’s too tempting to fill up a large glass