Future is twice as sweet for two fledgling firms

PERFECT MATCH Louise Licourinos, left, with Kaylie Holloway, owner of Sweetheart Gifts. Picture: Steve Reid (123423-386)
PERFECT MATCH Louise Licourinos, left, with Kaylie Holloway, owner of Sweetheart Gifts. Picture: Steve Reid (123423-386)
Picture: Pierandrea Guarnieri

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A FLEDGLING business has been given a helping hand to get established – by another firm that is itself only a year old.

Lou Licourinos runs Hula Lula, making her own bath and beauty products which she sells online.

But when one of her friends told her there was a shop in Southsea running a competition to help kick-start a new business, Lou jumped at the chance.

The competition she entered was run by Kaylie Holloway, who opened Sweetheart Gifts in a shed at the bottom of her garden just over a year ago.

Now she has a popular shop on Heidelberg Road, selling sweets to a range of customers – not least local school children.

Lou, 40, said: ‘My business is really new, as I’ve only been doing it since April, so when someone told me Kaylie was running the competition I thought it’d be a really good idea to enter.

‘She had a theme, which was either sweet-related or bath or beauty.

‘Some of my products smell like sweets, so they fitted right in, and it was fantastic for me to win because I am really new to all this and it’s going to be a big help.’

Lou’s products are now set up in a corner of Kaylie’s shop, so anyone coming in for a quarter of rhubarb and custard sweets can also go away with something that will make them smell just as sweet.

And the best part is that she doesn’t have to pay to exhibit her wares, so anything she makes goes straight back into the business.

Kaylie said: ‘I know how difficult it is to get products into shops when you don’t have a shop yourself, and that’s why I initially started selling on the internet, too.

‘So I promised myself that if I was ever lucky enough to have a shop, I’d give someone else the opportunity to get in there too.

‘So when I moved into my shop in Southsea, I launched the competition straight away.

‘Lots of people entered, and I was really pleased with the response, but quite a few had similar products so I chose Hula Lula – they were unique.’

The future already looks bright for Lou.

Just six short months after launching her business online on the Etsy website, she has been approached by top fashion magazines with a view to being in their Christmas editions.

It means that, if they are selected, her products will be featured across the UK.

‘They’ll be in the stocking filler section, and I should hear in the next couple of weeks,’ she added.