Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Kick-start your aspirations with a Start Up Loan

Grace Gordon is the founder of leather goods brand Grace Gordon.

When I decided to set up my own accessories brand last year, the biggest question was how am I going to fund this venture? I already had some practical experience, having spent my early career working in high street retail, most recently as a merchandising assistant specialising in denim. But there were lots of financing options out there and countless pieces of advice, and I had no idea how to choose the right one for me.

I looked at bank loans but friends in the fashion business suggested I approach government-run initiative Start Up Loans Company, because it offers advice and support as well as funding. After showing a business plan and investing my personal savings, I secured financial backing of £8,500. I was assigned a mentor of my choice and given a detailed repayment plan.

What I’d feared would be a lengthy process was actually extremely swift. The money was in my account the day after approval, which meant I could get going straight away. I launched the company in November 2013, selling a small collection of leather handbags in three styles.

The loan came with help and free learning opportunities on all aspects of business. I attended a Google talk on search engine optimisation and a workshop on how to get ‘cash flow confident’ at The British Library. The most common advice I encountered was the importance of having at least a basic knowledge of the workings of every sector of your business, so you can accurately estimate the return on investment of financial and physical input into each area.

I launched my new, eponymous brand online on August 18 and will look to wholesale from autumn 15. It consists of about 17 styles, including pouches, backpacks and holdalls. I would encourage anyone with similar aspirations to contact their local Start Up Loans delivery partner - find them at - and discuss the options. With a relatively small budget and a lot of late nights, I’ve survived the first year of running my business and can see a bright future for myself and the brand.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.