There’s always a right time to set up a business according to retired nurse and co-founder of Newton Abbot based lingerie business, Bloomin’ Sexy.
During her career as a nurse and midwife for the NHS, Carol Westwood noticed that women were suffering from a lack of body confidence after giving birth – most women feel uncomfortable and can’t find good quality lingerie that made them feel fantastic. And that didn’t chafe!
The birth of Bloomin’ Sexy
With business partner Jill who designs the lingerie, Carol set about providing a quality solution for her niche, and together they created Bloomin’ Sexy.
Like a third of women out there who suffer from thigh-chaffing, Carol tried various solutions, from shorn-off leggings to cycling shorts, specialist creams to talcs, but she wanted something feminine and sexy – something that would make her feel proud of her body rather than ashamed.
She searched all over the world, but it seemed sexy and comfy anti-chafe knickers just didn’t exist…so she decided to fill the gap in the market.
From birth to business
So Carol and Jill had the idea, they had the gap in the market and they had the expertise to fill it. But as most business owners find out, it wasn’t always a smooth sail from concept to success.
“I made some silly investments in our business in the past because we didn’t have the advice or support we needed to make those investments viable.” Says Carol. “But now, we are working with Jane Tope from Business Information Point, and feel much more supported and secure that we can ask advice from Jane before making investments.”
The business advice that Carol and Jill received is through the Growth Support Programme which is available to eligible Devon and Somerset sole traders, micro businesses and SMEs.
The programme is fully-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and enables each business to access 12 hours of free business support from their local business adviser.
“Carol has been great to work with. She is so open to advice and support from her adviser and through her workshop attendance. Carol knows her own products so well that she can make informed decisions herself based on her early experience of knowing what doesn’t work for her.” Says Jane Tope, Business Adviser at Business Information Point.
Business Information Point have been providing tailored, small business advice in Devon for over 25 years. During that time, they’ve helped literally thousands of people start and grow their own business, and continue to work tirelessly to support self-employed individuals and small businesses through a blend of practical, down-to-earth advice and interactive workshops.
Carol says “knowing that there’s someone there to give advice is really important for us, and it was suggested that we needed to get out and about with our brand so that people could feel and see the quality of our products rather than relying on online sales.”
Whilst receiving support from the programme, Carol and Jill took the marketing module, the financial assessment, the digital diagnostic and also attended a couple of marketing workshops too.
If you're a sole trader, micro business or SME in Devon or Somerset and would like to learn more about how you can access the free business advice for your business, email firstname.lastname@example.org or register your interest here: