Louise Black launched her new business Cherry Blossom Boutique with support from the North East Business Innovation Centre (BIC) earlier this year.
Jane Imrie

North East crafter unmasks hidden entrepreneurial talents with boutique launch

A North East fashion design graduate who took the plunge into entrepreneurship with the launch of a new boutique earlier this year has adapted to lockdown life.

Former charity executive Louise Black launched her new business Cherry Blossom Boutique with support from the North East Business Innovation Centre (BIC) earlier this year, specialising in handmade gifts and keepsakes.

Louise met with BIC start-up adviser Ron Anderson who helped her create a business plan and gave her advice on marketing her business and book-keeping.

Louise commented: “Ron helped focus my ideas and lead me through step by step to create a plan that was both robust and dynamic.

“He gave me confidence in my ability but also my ideas before we finally submitted my plan for New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) approval - a nerve racking time when you care so deeply. Getting the call to say we had approval was the best feeling!”

Following the spread of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdown, Louise pivoted her business to create facemasks and increased her venture’s online presence in the face of the lockdown.

Louise explained: “Of course, [the pandemic] was something that wasn’t covered in my business plan. However, adapting truly came into force. I turned my focus to setting up my online shop on Etsy and concentrated on my social media.

“It has been tough at times. But I’ve soldiered on, adapted, listened and learnt and I wouldn’t change it for the world! I will continue to roll with the punches and build on my ideas with the support of Ron and the team at the BIC.

“I am extremely lucky to be able to do what I love whilst spending time with my daughter, watching her develop and grow.”

Paul McEldon, chief executive of the BIC added: “The BIC has delivered business support programmes to local startups and entrepreneurs for the past 25 years and this has been a particularly challenging year for many.

“Louise is a brilliant example of an entrepreneur in 2020. She has adapted and changed her business plan to keep pushing her business forward and we’re proud to be able to support small businesses such as hers.”

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