Posted: Wed 15th Feb 2023
The Next Generation programme aims to give thousands of young people aged 18 to 24 the support they need to start a new business or grow an existing one.
Created in partnership with Launch It, the programme provides free training, events, content, access to advisers, peer groups, funding and much more. It's designed to help young people who might not have easy access to the finance and opportunities they need to go into business for themselves.
Here, we talk to Lauren Moorhead, whose scented candle business Essence No1 is growing and expanding its product range with the help of guidance and support from the Next Generation programme.
Next Generation has allowed me to take my business to the next level much quicker than I'd have been able to without the support. It's also taught me vital skills in business and introduced me to some great networks.
I started making candles as a hobby to ease my anxiety, as I'd use them a lot and I found some peace in making them. Over lockdown, my crippling anxiety hit, and my depression left me in a dark hole. It got to the point where the thought of going out to my part-time retail job triggered a panic attack.
The day I had a panic attack at work was the day I left and didn't go back, and it was then I decided to sell my candles. At first, I made them for friends and family, then began selling them on Etsy. I found a passion in making products to help people help themselves and take that first step.
That first step might just be as simple as lighting that candle in your room, and taking some time every day for yourself. This is when I started to build the brand.
What matters on the outside is just as important as the inside. Essence No1 is all about reminding you to put yourself first.
All the products help people create that safe space, wherever that might be. We get so caught up in our busy daily lives that we sometimes forget to take time for ourselves. Essence No1 products remind people to take a moment for themselves. Self-care is self-love after all.
I used the last of my student loan savings and started the business, then invested the profits back into the business. I then worked non-stop to get more funds to invest.
I also took out a small business loan when I needed to and have applied for several small business grants. I'm still applying to grants to help fund and grow the business.
My network, business mentors, websites, and a number of companies that help small businesses, such as Enterprise Nation.
Dealing with my mental health while keeping up with my growing business. I say that running a business is hard enough as it is, but running a business when you're depressed and have general anxiety disorder is an extreme sport.
I've had to learn how to be OK with the fact that I might need a bit more time to recover when I go through those harder times. And I've learnt how to reach out to people around me when I'm not OK and need some help.
Social media and marketing. I'm always taking part in any sessions to do with this, and doing my research.
I'm great with the ideas, but not so great at the whole putting together of it. I'm looking at going on a more in-depth course to know how to do this, and potentially hire some more help.
Be your number-one supporter – you need to believe in yourself and your business more than anyone else.
Accept that you'll make mistakes. You're human and neither you nor your business can grow without learning from the mistakes you've made.
Always put your mental health first. You're not failing if you need to take a step back from the grind and hustle of being a business owner. It's OK to fall off track and put yourself first – you can always get back to it when you're ready.
We have a range of new products coming out in 2023, which we're developing right now!
The plan for Essence No1, though, is to keep developing products that improve people's mental health in their daily lives, and help break the stigma around mental health to get people talking more casually about it.
I hope to open a branch of stores, where people can come in and actually feel at ease the moment they enter. I want them to have a moment of peace when they walk in and have that sensual experience. The power of scent is so strong, and I want to educate people on that.
The Next Generation hub can help you with the education, inspiration and funding you need to achieve your business goals. Sign up to the hub today
Take the first step to successfully starting and growing your business.