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Sarah Spence

Member Article

Business start up from top to toe

One start up client has dipped her toes into her new business with the help from the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC).

Kirsty Blunt from Hartlepool was a qualified hairdresser running her own franchise but left to follow her dream of becoming a foot care practitioner, she contacted the BIC and was appointed business adviser, Debbie Simpson and in under three months The Foot Lady business became established.

The assistance given is being part financed by the European Union’s ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007-13, securing £1.47m ERDF investment. Working in a consortium led by North East Enterprise Agencies Ltd (NEEAL) local Enterprise and Development Agencies in the North East have matched this ERDF investment with £1.47m of their own funds. Kirsty explains: “The help I have received from the BIC has been fantastic, Debbie has helped me so much in pulling the business plan together and I used to come once a week for meetings and the Enterprise Club. “For anyone out there wanting to start their own business I’d say just do it if you have the motivation and the passion then its crazy not to, I would definitely recommend the BIC. Even now I know I can still give her a call should I need any advice at any stage of my business.

“The reaction to the business has been really good so far, clients seem to be impressed with the price and advice I give. I like to think I add a personal touch. I have learned lessons along the way too, it is a lot different from owning the franchise because I am working a smaller scale without the big name behind me, I have noticed that this time round I am focusing a lot more on creating a brand. “Also I had no idea how shy people would be at showing me their feet and I can safely say I have never seen a pair the same! “In my hairdressing role it was all about making the client feel good about her appearance its similar to that but so much more satisfying as I work with clients who are in physical pain from hard skin to bunions and arthritis . One client couldn’t put her shoes on her feet were that swollen but now the same shoes are too big! It is wonderful to know that by the time my client leaves the session they experience relief from the pain.

“My clients all vary in age and as well as visiting in my clinic I do make home visits too.

“I have many plans for the future I am currently working on having another clinic set up in my home so I will be practicing from two in the North East and further down the line I would to train and inspire others.”

Kirsty has also become the first person in the North East to offer Keryflex, which changes the appearance of toe nails; restoring the appearance of a natural nail unaffected by acetone, nail polishes and detergents.

Debbie adds: “Kirsty already had a good business background from the franchise but none the less she has listened to my advice and gone out there and got what she wanted! This working partnership worked both ways for I managed to get her advice on my own feet too!

“I wish Kirsty all the very best for the future and she knows she can call anytime for help.

“If you are thinking about becoming your own boss, and would like confidential and independent business advice and support call: 0191 516 6149 or email businesssupport@ne-bic.co.uk.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Sarah Spence .

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