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Bella Chic

Bella Chic

Sisters Kim Osbourne, 29, and Nicola Faisey, 26, turned their hobby into a profitable business when they set up ‘Bella Chic Furniture’. Both married with young children – and a lot of commitments – they took the brave step to start out on their own after their previous employers made them redundant.

Their strapline is ‘bringing furniture back to life’ and when you walk into their shop you fall in love with just about every piece. They describe how they take furniture that is unused or unloved, strip it right back and “upcycle” it for modern day living.  Customers can either buy straight from the shop or they can bring in something destined for the tip, and the pair will work their magic. The process is done from inside the shop, which gives customers a real insight into the preparation and care taken to achieve the highest standards of finish. The accessories in the shop are all hand crafted from like-minded local people, some of whom also have small children and are seeking ways to earn at the same time as being a full time parents.

Kim and Nicola started off selling through social media until demand got high enough to take on a larger space with a shop front. The shop keeps them both exceptionally busy and they describe how there is “never really a day off”. All the same, the sisters find that having their own business has “significant benefits – specifically having the flexibility to work your hours around childcare arrangements and knowing that what you are working towards something that can be passed on to your children.”  Nicola believes that if she still worked for someone else she wouldn’t see her husband and children half as much as she does now.

The biggest challenge the pair have found is the financial planning and managing their accounts. “There are always hidden costs you don’t realise are coming and sometimes you just need someone to make you aware of what’s round the corner,” explains Kim. The pair describe how being new to owning a business “things didn’t always make sense” and there was a fear of “the taxman knocking on your door because you have done something wrong!”

Kim and Nicola found that having a good accountant who is “approachable and friendly”, took unnecessary stress away, freeing them up to concentrate on what they were trying to achieve with the business. They explain how Beans “give you the tools to manage your business, such as ways to monitor our sales and tracking performance data.”

Although exhausting, the sisters never look back and their passion and enthusiasm will continue to bring them success.

Their advice for others like them…

Young mums wanting to take that step into starting a business “Do It! Prepare and research your market, get your finances in order, keep your feet on the ground and always keep trying. Don’t be under any illusion; it will be hard, but definitely worth it!”