An eco-friendly business started by two sisters from Lancaster is flourishing and can now count Jameson Irish Whiskey, Greenpeace and Waitrose as customers.
Louise and Victoria Lawson started Bough to Beauty Bespoke in February after spotting an opportunity to provide event and conference organisers with a sustainable wood alternative to plastic name badges.
Now just six months on the business has started to flourish thanks in part to Boost Business Lancashire, the county’s business growth hub, and they’re now diversifying to offer a wide range of bespoke wooden products, from personalised corporate gifts to events signage.
Boost Business Lancashire is the £7.2m Lancashire Business Growth Hub, offering free and part-funded business support to ambitious and growing businesses.
After taking part in the Lancashire LEAP Start-up Boot Camps, run by Winning Pitch as part of Boost, Lou and Vix as they’re known, are busy planning further growth.
Vix explained: “Customers like Jameson, Waitrose and Greenpeace are a perfect fit for us; people are impressed that companies like those believe in what we’re doing.
“I’m not sure we would have attracted them if we hadn’t been encouraged to focus on our growth plan for the business.”
Lou, 43, a former operations manager for a London theatre company, said the sisters, originally from Brookhouse, were volunteering on an organic farm in Portugal when they had the idea to start a business creating bespoke jewellery by upcycling wooden products.
They came up with the idea for wooden name badges while promoting the business at events, saying they were uncomfortable with the plastic name-badges that would be used once and thrown away.
It prompted them to begin making biodegradable wooden name badges from sustainable oak and walnut, so companies and event delegates could reuse them after the event to reduce waste.
A chance conversation at one of these events led to a commission from Jameson to make bespoke name badges for its graduate trainee scheme.
Through the Lancashire LEAP programme - a series of workshops for new business owners - the duo were able to develop a growth strategy and improve their financial management skills.
“Lancashire LEAP made a huge difference,” added Vix, 35, who worked in marketing and research before going into business.
“More important than anything else, it brought our thinking together and made the business idea clear in our minds. We became much more certain about what customers we wanted and why we wanted them.”
Rona McFall, of Winning Pitch, which delivers the Lancashire LEAP programme on behalf of Boost, said: “The programme allowed Lou and Vix to create a growth action plan with achievable targets. We are so thrilled to see the business going from strength to strength.”