My employer deals with many many clients, several of which I would like to approach to offer the services of my new personal businesses. I have never personally dealt with any of the clients I would like to approach.
I would like to contact them directly, via contact methods displayed publicly on their website - I would not use any personal contact details from contacts who have dealt with my employer, nor would I mention any specific contact names or the fact that I have any connection to my employer.
My question is, is it ethical for me to approach these companies when the only reason I know they exist is through my employer? Do I need to ask permission from my employer even though I will be using publicly available contact details?
If it makes a difference, my employer is a warehousing company and my new business is web design, so I would be asking them if they would like an updated website and will not be in competition with my employer.