Press release

Whitley Bay creative business boosts sustainability and profits following Help to Grow: Management mentoring

Whitley Bay creative business boosts sustainability and profits following Help to Grow: Management mentoring
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation

Posted: Tue 30th Jan 2024

An iconic Whitley Bay gift shop, online sales platform and artistic community, that fights to put the region on the map, has seen a fantastic boost to sustainability and profits following high quality business mentoring.

For the Love of the North co-founder Paul Hull took part in the 12-week Help to Grow: Management course last year and followed up with 10 hours of mentoring with award-winning Y.O.U Underwear founder Sarah Jordan, a wildly successful BCorp sustainable fashion brand.

Based in the Spanish City Dome, Paul and his wife Lucy ploughed their own savings and passion into the business after Paul was made redundant when tourist information centres were closed down due to cost cuts.

Both were convinced there was still a vital role to play in the local economy for a shop promoting a dynamic, creative community and putting the North East on the artistic map. But they also knew that in order invest in the region, they needed to build a profitable and sustainable business model.

They worked with Sarah to build skills and develop confidence which allowed them to go on and produce their own-brand products, significantly increasing their profit margin and allowing them to commission more design work from creatives and artists across the North East.

Paul said:

"For us, it's really been about the move to producing our own brand products. We now have control over the whole process from beginning to end including pricing and costs, that means everything is produced sustainably and is environmentally friendly, which is our brand ethos. That change has meant that our profit margins are now much higher.

"We also secured grant funding to purchase our own direct-to-garment printer which allows us to print directly onto cotton fabric so that we can produce our own brand organic cotton clothing as well as tote bags, and tea towels using vegan ink. We also print on demand so there's no wastage and it's discouraging fast fashion.

"The increase in our profit margin means we can also do more work with brilliant local artists, paying them a decent and fair commission to create a design that can be put onto a variety of products.

"Those products we can't produce ourselves such as mugs and coasters are all made using British manufacturers, another clear part of our ethos and values that sets us apart."

The couple, who employ a team to help them run the shop and fulfil orders on the online sales platform say the big take away from Help to Grow: Management for them was 'not to put all your eggs in one basket'.

Paul added:

"We've been approached by various charities, schools, educational institutions and businesses from around the region to produce bespoke gifts for their staff and for fundraising purposes. It's opened a whole new arm of the business. If there's one thing the last few years the world has taught us, it's not to put all your eggs in one basket. The Help to Grow programme really cemented this mindset too."

The course also allowed them the opportunity to meet other businesses from across the UK regularly, build a deep understanding of the local economy and tap into a community of like-minded individuals to test ideas and ultimately trade.

Paul added:

"It's a two-way process in that respect, plus the vast resources available to study and refer to as part of the course are amazing and it's all at your fingertips."

The Help to Grow: Management course offers senior business leaders 50 hours of leadership and management training across 12 weeks, with the government covering 90% of the costs involved. They each receive one-to-one support from an experienced and rated business mentor. Training is delivered via a national network of over 50 business schools.

A consortium delivers the mentoring element of the course. Led by business support group Newable and including Enterprise Nation and the Association of Business Mentors, the consortium was appointed by the Government to develop a national network of business leaders and experts who will share their skills and experience with firms on the practical management training course.    

Emma Jones CBE, founder of Enterprise Nation, said:

"Helping businesses like For the Love of the North to have the processes and the knowledge to grow is an important step towards growing the local economy.

"Helping them to build their brand, make more efficient use of digital technologies, developing and diversifying services and products, and implementing innovative management strategies will unleash the potential of entrepreneurs and the Help to Grow: Management course is playing a critical role in this by increasing resilience.

"By having the added support of a trained mentor, businesses on the course can be supported as they put their new knowledge into practice."

Each participant is matched with a voluntary business mentor via the online Help to Grow: Management ocurse platform. The consortium is responsible for recruiting a national network of voluntary mentors and experts who will guide participants through a growth action plan hosted on the help to Grow: Management Course platform.  

Find more information here.


About Newable    

Newable is the leading provider of Money, Advice and Workspace to SMEs. Now employing over 1,000 professional staff, it has grown to become a national business with a presence from Aberdeen to Brighton, serving over 43,000 client companies each year. 

About Enterprise Nation    

Enterprise Nation is a business support platform and provider delivering support to more than 50,000 small businesses every month. Its aim is to help people turn their good ideas into great businesses -- through expert advice (including a comprehensive resources library), events, acceleration support and networking.  

Enterprise Nation was founded in 2005 by British entrepreneur Emma Jones CBE, also co-founder of national enterprise campaign StartUp Britain. She is author of best-selling business books and is a frequently called-on and regular media commentator on a range of issues which affect the UK's growing number of SMEs. 

About the Association of Business Mentors   

The Association of Business Mentors (ABM) is the UK's leading professional body supporting the business mentor and coach sector while raising the profile of the value of business mentoring to small business owners.

Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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