A passion for organic skincare has led a De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) graduate to launch her own business.
Stella Verdoes always made her own lip balms and soon fellow students were asking her to sell them her products. Now she has turned her hobby into a business, Smyra organic skincare.
And her company has just got its first big boost after Stella secured a £4,800 start-up loan from First Enterprise, set up to support entrepreneurs across the East Midlands. Stella used the money to gain the necessary certification to be able to sell her products, and open and stock online shops. She has shops on Amazon, eBay and her own e-commerce site.
She said: “When I started it was just making extra for friends, and they really liked it, so I started thinking about selling it more widely. I joined the Enterprise Society at DMU and then, I took a stall at the DMU Christmas Fair where I sold out. It was so popular, and people really liked the products.
"Without the support of DMU Enterprise and First Enterprise, I wouldn't have been able to invest in my business venture and turn it into what it is today."
While she was still a student Stella booked 121 appointments with DMU Works Enterprise team to discuss her idea and help her plan how to move forward. The team also helped them by supporting Stella with a free space at an exhibition in London and helped set up a website.
After graduating in Criminology with Psychology, Stella researching business finance. She applied for a start-up loan to help set up Smyra – an organic skincare brand seeking to add value to peoples’ lives by offering a healthy alternative to crude oil-based lip balms whilst also providing an income to Ghanaian women who produce the shea butter that goes into their products – a connection she made through her mother.
She said: “The business loan from First Enterprise – Enterprise Loans kickstarted my business, allowing me to gain the necessary Cosmetic Product Safety Report (CPSR) required to be able to legally sell my products. It also allowed me to purchase stock to fulfil orders and trademark my brand. Without the loan, I wouldn’t have been able to invest in my business venture and turn it into what it is today.”
All Smyra products are lovingly handmade and 100% organic. Containing shea butter, each product contains a nourishing blend of vitamins A, E, and F whilst also providing an income for the women's co-operative in Ghana, West Africa who produce the ingredient. The range includes lip balms, glosses and lip scrubs.
For more information on Smyra organic skincare, please visit www.smyra.co.uk. If you are a student and have a business idea or would like advice you can book an appointment with DMU Works Enterprise by clicking here
Posted on Wednesday 7th April 2021