A Pontefract woman has turned her dream of owning a florist and gift shop into reality with the support of the West Yorkshire Enterprise Agency.
Kay Brenton was made redundant from her desk job with the NHS in 2013 and was placed onto the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) to help her set up in business for the first time.
She had always considered working in a creative industry and says she didn’t know where to start but the support of the NEA was key:
“It really wasn’t easy setting up my own business and it was a very steep learning curve - and I’m still learning. But I was given good, solid advice and the weekly payments really softened the blow of not having a wage to rely on.”
She took a floristry course to give her the basics of the industry and then decided to open a shop, named Kitty & Rose after her late grandmothers, on Gillygate in the town centre selling hand-tied bouquets for all occasions, as well as doing wedding and funeral flowers.
In addition to floristry, Kay stocks her own label candles, hand creams and lip balms, as well as exclusive ranges from East Of India, Gisella Graham and Heaven Sends.
She worked with a mentor from the MYMentor network as part of the support from the Enterprise Agency and says this, plus the additional training sessions laid on, were crucial:
“It was great to be able to share worries and ideas with others starting their own businesses. In addition, my mentor was lovely and always on hand via email or text.”
Having gone through the process, she advises those thinking about starting their own business to go for it:
“If it is something you are passionate about, and you aren’t afraid of a little hard work, then you have to go for it. Life is too short for what-ifs.”
Andrew Choi, Head of Operations at the West Yorkshire Enterprise Agency, adds that Kay’s experience shows the importance of the opportunities presented by the New Enterprise Allowance:
“Making the decision to start your own business can be difficult and lonely so the support offered by the West Yorkshire Enterprise Agency can be crucial. Kay had always dreamed of running her own florist and gift shop and the support given by the New Enterprise Allowance, and the time and effort of her mentor, have given her the start she needs to make Kitty & Rose a success.”
Watch Kay's enterprise story: