“I make everything by hand,” says Kay Welsh, whose bespoke wedding stationery business has just received the thumbs-up from voters for funding from Fund101. “But a few designs require a bit of cutting and at the moment I’m having to cut everything by hand.
“It’s really time-consuming and limits the amount of customers I can take on. And there’s human error, too,” the 27-year-old owner of Invitation Only continues. “One slip and you’ve wasted a lot of material.”
Kay applied for £439 from Fund101 for a machine that will cut her stationery automatically from computer-drawn designs. The machine will enable her to expand her range, improve her productivity and, crucially, serve more customers. Thanks to your votes, Kay’s now able to make the purchase.
“For example, I cut out a pull-out invitation and the outer envelope of that is all hand cut,” she explains. “An electronic cutting machine will make it easier and it’ll be able to do more intricate designs, too.
“I’ll be able to do things like emblems on the invitations. I’ll probably chop my fingers off, though!” she laughs.
Chester-le-Street-based Invitation Only started three years ago as a favour to a friend who had been let down by her wedding stationery supplier. Kay’s invitations were so remarked-upon that she realised she may be onto something. So she placed an advert in a wedding magazine and turned it into a business.
For now, Kay runs Invitation Only as a part-time venture alongside her full-time job as a business development manager in the wholesale food industry. She’s content to keep it that way.
“At the moment I’m really enjoying it as it is,” she admits. “It’s a little bit like my escape, really. You never know what comes round the corner, though, so I would never say never – and I would like to take on more customers.”
How Kay got the votes
“I put a message on our Facebook page which gets quite a lot of visitors and I printed a leaflet with instructions on how to vote and took it everywhere I went. I went to a wedding fair and a house party where I’d been invited to go along with my candy trees. My boyfriend took it to football as well.”
What she’s doing next
“I want to buy the machine as soon as possible. Then I’ll spend a few nights getting to grips with how it works and get some new designs out there, so I’ll be ready come January when I start to get really busy again.”
Don’t forget to cast your votes in Fund101 – we’ve got hundreds of start-up and small business applying for sums to help them with everything from marketing materials to an oven for baking cakes!