UKSE's Steve Lyon with Jane Keightley

Member Article

Pandemic staycation demand spells success for ironing service

Isle Iron secures holiday lettings client after 300% increase in UK holiday bookings

An ironing company launched during lockdown has seen an unexpected boost in business enquiries fuelled by the unprecedented demand for staycations as a result of the restrictions imposed on international travel.

Isle Iron, based in the Isle of Axholme, was established by entrepreneur Jane Keightley who was furloughed from her job as Administration Co-ordinator for Club Doncaster Foundation during the pandemic.

However, establishing the business in September 2020 when many other workers were in a similar position meant she struggled to secure a sustainable client base.

Thankfully, with staycation demand increasing, resulting in a 300% increase in bookings and enquiries for domestic overnight holiday trips in Great Britain in 2021. Jane spotted an opportunity, and Isle Iron successfully landed a holiday lettings business as its first commercial client.

To start her business, Jane needed a Kickstart grant from UKSE – a business that invests in steel areas across the UK – allowed Jane to purchase all of the necessary equipment to meet the requirements of the contracts, as well as invest in a card machine and marketing materials.  

Currently, Jane still operates the business on her own by limiting her customer base to 15. Eventually, she does plan to expand once the aftereffects of the pandemic have dampened.

Commenting on the growth of the business Jane said: “Like so many people I was extremely anxious about what the future might have in store when I was placed on furlough last year. I didn’t know if my job was safe, or how long I might be out of work for.

“It was the motivation I needed to launch my own business, but finding clients was a real challenge given that so many people were in the same situation as me – either at home with plenty of time to do their own chores, or worried about money.

“Thankfully, one of the sectors that was experiencing an uptake in demand was British tourism, with travel restrictions forcing lots of families to stay here in the UK rather than head abroad.

“After seeing my advert in a local publication, a holiday lettings agency sought out my services due to an increase in bookings.

“Thanks to the UKSE Kickstart grant I was able to purchase all of the necessary equipment to deal with the commercial contract and to really press ahead with my growth ambitions.

“Now, the business is running steadily and once the uncertainty of the pandemic has passed, I am looking to consider expanding with another staff member.”

Steve Lyon, Regional Executive at UKSE said: “While this has been an extremely challenging year or so for many people, it has also shone a light on the grit and determination of so many entrepreneurs who have taken the opportunity to launch their own businesses.

“Jane has taken a difficult situation and turned it into something positive with the launch of Isle Iron, and we are delighted to see that she is already on track for further growth and expansion as a result of growing demand for her services.

“We wish her the best of luck towards the future.”

Established in 1975, UKSE helps businesses in steel areas with investments, loans and premises. The organisation supplies equity finance of up to £1m to existing companies which are growing, particularly those creating jobs.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Isabella Storey .

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