Claire Tyler - £5,000 over 2 years, 2 jobs saved
“Foundation East’s finance and support has been life changing for us. They helped us to start our first business and were there when we needed to adapt it. They gave us the freedom to pursue this new path and we are now tooling others up to pursue their own avenues too.”- Claire Tyler -
The effect of the stock market crash on the Greek economy is well documented. For Claire Tyler’s family, it meant a complete life change. Tony Tyler, who worked in the Greek stock exchange, found his industry in crisis, whilst Claire's familys clothing manufacturing business, found itself in a growth stage.
Claire and Tony made the brave decision to return to the UK and breathe life back into the family business. The couple had no security or trading history so could not secure a loan from their bank. They were referred to us and, based on a viable business plan, we agreed to lend them the funds they needed to regenerate the clothing business.
The business model relied on employing part-time workers on a piecework basis. The company grew broadly in line with the plan, providing employment and fulfilling orders for a range of high street brands. It was however vital that their workforce received fair wages, but cost pressure from the Far East meant it was increasingly difficult to provide a competitive service, and sadly this resulted in a decline in orders.
Determined however to not allow the business to fail, and to make sure the factory and sewing machines would be put to good use, the couple seized upon an opportunity to provide sewing machine training to people who were making artisan clothing and craft products to sell via media sites such as Etsy and Instagram. Claire discovered that there was good demand for bespoke training courses in the Luton area and this resulted in the need to acquire further sewing machines. Knowing she was unlikely to secure mainstream finance she once again approached us for a loan to expand the new enterprise.
“We’re working with about four students every day now. We never know what we will be teaching next. We decided to keep the factory feel as many students want to train inside a factory environment, so they can understand first-hand how the manufacturing process works. Training the younger generation is very rewarding. They come to us with energy and ideas and leave with all the practical skills they need to realise them. It’s great to be able to help them to learn the techniques to make a good product”.