After losing his job in 2011, Gary Lloyd was looking for a new challenge. Gary noticed an advertisement in a magazine for a diploma courses in counselling at a local college and straight away realised that this was something that he would really enjoy. A previous ten year career running a health food shop, in which he also ran personal development workshops in London meant he was able to develop transferrable skills for the counselling diploma.
Going back into the education field would mean that Gary had to also find a part time job, this meant some long hard nights studying and working but it seems to have paid off as Gary is now looking to launch his first set of products whilst also providing counselling and other therapy services.
In August 2014, Gary acquired his website domain, which is where it all began for his start-up. He originally offered his counselling and healing services on the website and in April 2016 Gary will start selling his first product, a range of aromatherapy reed diffusers under the brand name Shui Me. This came about when Gary bought his first reed diffuser, he loved the product but was convinced that he could produce a better quality one, so he wasted no time and set about doing it. Shui Me currently has three blends; Relax, Purity and Uplift, each made with 100% organic essential oils and an alcohol-free base oil. Gary sees this as just the start of his product range but he knows he has to learn to walk before he can run.
Gary first heard about the Start & Grow programme through a Google search that led him to Virgin Startup. After contacting Virgin Startup he was referred to the Business West team; Virgin’s delivery partner for the South West region. The help that Gary received from Business West resulted in Wellbeing Bristol and the new Shui Me brand progressing quickly, with the majority of his support focused on businesses trademarks and intellectual property.
"Business Advisor Alyson Willis has always been a phone call away, and I'm able to pick up the phone to ask important questions. As part of the Start & Grow programme I have access to three full years of business support, and one year of chamber membership, giving my business a voice when it comes to vital debates about both current business issues and the future development of the city I operates in."
Gary Lloyd, Shui Me
Gary is currently gearing up to launch his range of Shui Me aromatherapy reed diffusers at a selection of trade and lifestyle shows. Gary sees this as a great opportunity to hand out goody bags containing his product to the press and other important attendees.
After the launch of his product Shui Me, Gary is hoping to expand the range, starting with a range of companion candles for the reed diffusers and then expanding both ranges to a set of six blends. His overall vision is to have a body care range including shower gels and moisturisers all made with natural ingredients and organic where possible.
The Start & Grow team will be on hand to support Gary with both his brands as he moves forward. Whether that is with securing finance, attending the right trade shows, or even developing the product so it can be sold and used in shops and hotels across the country.