Express & Star

Meet the best friends running a Tipton car dealership and flying the flag for businesswomen

There was a time when selling cars for a living was considered by many to be a man’s job.

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Jodie Barber and Joanna Smith run Wink Cars in Tipton

But Joanna Smith and Jodie Barber are among a growing number of women helping to change that perception. They run Tipton-based Wink Cars, which was founded two and a half years ago, and are more than holding their own in a male-dominated industry.

The best friends met while playing football at Stourbridge FC eight years ago and in more recent years have been part of the squad at Darlaston Town FC.

After identifying a nationwide gap in the market for a female-owned dealership, the duo used the Covid-19 pandemic opportunity to start afresh and pooled together savings to get the business off the ground.

Joanna, aged 30, had already built up seven years of experience in the car trade working in family and big commercial dealerships, while Jodie, 25, gained her business insight as a self-employed beauty practitioner.

“We found a niche in the market. Some women don’t feel confident going into a car dealership when it’s all men. They feel more at ease speaking to a woman and are more trusting,” says Joanna.

“For the first 12 months, we traded off the back of an industrial estate, at the back of Jodie’s dad’s business. We moved to our current pitch in August/September last year and it’s grown from there.

"When we started, we were also both working full-time in our original jobs – I was selling forklift trucks and Jodie was running her beauty business, Wink Beauty. As the car business has grown, I’ve gone full-time and Jodie just does her beauty one day a week,” says Joanna.

Joanna has previously worked for family and big commercial dealerships