Name: Maria Albertsen
Company: Founder RagHeroes
Toy manufacturer Maria Albertsen (@mariaalbertsen_ ) is among the most nominated in The Journal's search for the North East’s Most Influential in Social Media and it’s fitting that her latest enterprise was started off after she responded to a tweet from Richard Branson.
Maria, a qualified and experienced youth worker, councillor and psychotherapist, is founder of RagHeroes, a Whitley Bay-based online shop which makes rag dolls for boys. She first came up with the idea two years ago when she was made redundant and her son wanted a doll but they couldn’t find one suitable for boys.
She and her son made a ragdoll and soon family and friends were asking for one too. Her first batch of commercial dolls was funded by a £750 prize from Richard Branson after she responded to a tweet from the multi-millionaire asking for business ideas. Now she sells up to 80 ragdolls a month.
Maria has since become a regional ambassador for Virgin Media Pioneers to inspire entrepreneurs in the North East. It seems being inspirational comes naturally for Maria who said she uses Twitter as a way to help people who are starting out in business.
She said: “When I first started out in business a lot of people were asking for advice. I found that sharing information with people on Twitter was easier than meeting on a one to one basis.
“I do not hold anything back. I share everything because I really want to help them every way I can.”
Maria follows an eclectic mix of people including blogger Emma White (@therealsupermum), business networking feed Sunderland Hour (@sunderland_hour) and information sharing feed North East Tweets (@NorthEastTweets)
Maria’s top five recommendations are:
North East Tweets - @NorthEastTweets
The Inspire Network - @inspirenetne
Emma White - @therealsupermum
Helen Colquhoun - @sunderland_hour
Great North Mum - @greatnorthmum