When Amber Prebble was ready to go back to work after having her daughter, she worried that the opportunities available to her might be limited.
So rather than give up her dream of becoming a dog groomer, Amber, 20, decided to go back to college and set up her own business, ensuring that she could earn a wage while maintaining enough flexibility to care for her young daughter.
“Unless a place is mega-busy, dog groomers don’t tend to hire assistants so it’s hard to find work,” explained Amber, of Dover, Kent, “The only job that was available was six days a week, working full-time, and I can’t do that and look after a child.”
But as she studied at college to gain her qualifications, Amber faced another dilemma – making sure that her sums were accurate and that she’d have enough money to support herself and her daughter once the business launched. That’s when she turned to the Government’s New Enterprise Allowance scheme, which offers money and help to unemployed people who want to start their own business.
Participants receive access to a volunteer business mentor who provides them with guidance and support as they develop their business plan and through the first six months of trading. Once participants have demonstrated they have a viable business proposition with the potential for growth in the future, they are able to access financial support.
Amber said: “I’ve always wanted to be a dog groomer, but my knowledge of the business side of things was next to nothing. I mentioned it to Jobcentre Plus during a routine appointment and they recommended NEA programme. As soon as I met Julian at PeoplePlus, my plan became a lot clearer. We went through my business plan, personal survival budget and cash flow, making it a lot more efficient and he answered my questions about book-keeping and tax. It’s quite scary, setting up your own business, but he helped me with all the details until I was confident that I’d got my sums right and I could support myself.”
With Julian’s help, Amber was able to secure a £2,000 loan, which she used to buy the equipment she needed, including a dog grooming bath and grooming table. When she changed her original plan to run a mobile dog grooming business to taking on fixed premises, the loan also kicked in to fix problems with the hot water supply to the salon.
After ten sessions with us, in June this year, Cuts and Clips was launched at That Dog Place Limited, a dog day-care and training centre on the Pennypot Industrial Estate in Hythe, Kent – and Amber hasn’t looked back since.
“It’s getting busy, slowly,” said Amber, “I’m getting steady work, a few dogs a day, doing full grooming - bath, nail clip, ears cleaned - to clipping specific styles, working on all breeds.
“The best thing about being self-employed is being my own boss. I am able to book clients in around my daughter and I get to do something that I love. It doesn’t even feel like work.’
Amber added: “I would definitely recommend the NEA to other people who are thinking of setting up their own business. Even if you already have a business plan like I did, it was invaluable for getting help for things I wasn’t fully confident about. For me was record keeping and tax. But after seeing PeoplePlus, I knew I was doing the right thing.”
If you are interested in using Cuts and Clips, Amber can be contacted on Amberlily95@hotmail.com.
We've helped tens of thousands of people turn dreams into reality on the New Enterprise Scheme. To find out more click here.