Lockdown sees number of people launch their own businesses

A study by website building platform GoDaddy found that 20 per cent of people were considering starting their own business or side job during lockdown

Monday, 3rd August 2020, 2:19 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd August 2020, 2:22 pm
Hope & Graze

The survey found the top reason for people wanting to start their own business was the prospect of being their own boss (24 per cent) and a further 21 per cent wanted a sense of purpose.

Jessica Fleischer lives in Hastings and has been a kickboxing coach for nearly four years. She set up I am Fighting Fit and runs small group outdoor pop-up sessions.

She said: “My meal prep business wasn’t doing very well, I was tired and stressed and not making money, working part time in the pub to support my income, alongside coaching in the gym.

Kat from Scarlet's Boutique

“Lockdown came at the right time for me, as I was under a lot of pressure and I’m not sure what would have done”

Jessica started coaching people online and the lockdown period gave her more time to focus on the development of turning a hobby into a business.

She added: “I have been part of several online communities, learning about marketing, branding, social media and time management.”

Simon Grimley lives in Polegate and has more than 17 years experience in the flooring industry as a fitter and flooring surveyor.

Jessica from I am Fighting Fit

Simon and his wife Clare set up their business just before lockdown.

Grimley Flooring is a flooring supplier and fitter, selling carpet, vinyl, LVT and laminate, as well as associated services.

He said: “Business preparations were already underway when the lockdown hit. During lockdown we were unable to work but we used the time to develop our website and social media profiles, as well as creating informative content through a feature we’ve called the A-Z of Flooring.

“The restrictions are easing now but people are understandably cautious of having strangers in their house. We’re taking all precautions and following the guidelines to the letter, including the wearing of PPE while talking with clients, and an antibacterial cleanup on completion of our visit.”

With shops shut at the beginning of lockdown Katie Keleghar saw an opportunity to help others.

Katie, who lives in Hastings, said: “I made the decision to launch Send because of the need to keep human contact during lockdown. The need to keep spirits up, to reach out and support each other. With buying gifts in the normal way pretty much off the table we wanted to offer an alternative option. My nan doesn’t like speaking on the phone, so unable to visit her I began writing to her at the beginning of lockdown and the letters lifted her so much, gave her something to look forward to and kept her feeling as though she was involved. That idea of happy mail was part of the decision to launch.”

Her first sale came after two days. Boxes include party in a box, thank you boxes, one for mental stimulation and one to give someone a pamper.

Seaford based The Ark UK sells items featuring art work from face masks, greeting cards and gifts.

Mandy Turner, who set up the business, said: “All the artwork is done by me and the originals can be brought as well as this I take commissions/requests. The Kingfisher is my signature piece and first of the series to be drawn.”

YouGov reported that with shops shut three in ten Brits turned to shopping online for clothing and non-essentials in March and April, with 40 per cent of people doing their grocery shopping online.

Scarlet’s Boutique is an online ladies clothing website, based in Eastbourne but posts all over the UK.

Kat Wood said: “I’ve been working in retail for most of my adult life, I absolutely love it! I had children young so have never been in the position to be able to start my own business.

“In February this year after years of speaking about it and longing to have my own website/brand, my husband gave me the boost I needed and has made me believe I can follow my dream and start my own brand/website.

“My website launched the first weekend of lockdown, but I’m still very hopeful, following my dream and keeping at it.”

A study in May 2020 by Statista found that 38 percent of respondents said they missed going to restaurants and pubs.

Which has seen people look for other ways to treat themselves to nice food while at home.

Nikki Elliott-Taylor launched Hope & Graze at the end of June, she offers grazing boards and boxes in Eastbourne and for collection from nearby towns.

Nikki was made redundant from a job at a local restaurant due to COVID-19

She said: “I was so scared that I had no transferable skills to be able to get a new career, as I had always worked in hospitality, and we were all uncertain of the future of our restaurants.

“But I noticed that more people were getting treats delivered to their homes, and people had complimented my grazing boards that I had made up for a couple of family events, and suggested that I start selling them to our local community.”

She mentioned her idea to one of her husband’s friends, and two days later he called to see if she would make his girlfriend a platter for her birthday.

“The idea was born that maybe I could create something out of this random skill I had from years of watching chefs create masterpieces made to spec.”

She adds: “The old saying goes ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’ I always thought that as I hadn’t met any self-made millionaires yet, that couldn’t possibly apply to me! But actually, all it’s taken is for me to send a message out to some friends that I’ve made over the years, let them know that this new business belongs to me, and I would appreciate any help I could get, and I was so overwhelmed with the amount of help that people stumbled over themselves to offer. I’ve used them as sound boards for my ideas, managed to collaborate with my good friend who just so happens to be a qualified pastry chef and baker, my other friend works in marketing, so she set up my entire website and policies for me, my old manager sent me all of the health and food hygiene information from our old restaurant, and many others have promoted my work for me...all paid for in friendship.

“I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of mistakes I’ve prevented making and the time and money saved, which I’m so grateful for.

“So, be confident and let some people know the face behind the business, as you just might get a lot more support than you thought you would.”