A Wirral-based family business has been set up during lockdown and opened its doors to the public.
Cara, the owner of Teddy’s Balloons and Gifts, took the leap from employed to self employed during the 3rd stage of the UK’s coronavirus Lockdown. Offering luxury balloons, banners, gifts and T-shirt printing, Teddy’s Balloons and Gifts also offer 3rd party small businesses a place to sell their creations.
Cara began her journey in 2017 making personalised gifts for friends and family. She then went on to sell on social media and via Etsy.
“I was barely making a profit, but making the gifts made me feel like I had purpose, it was a great way to help me manage my anxiety and I loved seeing people’s reactions to their one-of-a-kind items”.
In 2020, Cara’s business direction changed and she decided to launch her balloon business which took off almost instantly.
“I have been around a while I’ve tried and tested a few things and I saw that my gifts were selling slowly, but the balloons just went BANG!”
After struggling with postnatal depression and bulling in the workplace, Cara decided that now was the time. She set about to create her dream and open her own shop and left her career within the NHS in November 2020.
“I was petrified. I had a safe and secure job and I feel like I’m jumping out of a plane with no parachute”.
Cara’s husband Andrew supported her throughout the process and said: “I am so proud of her. This is what she has always wanted, and seeing her fade away over the last 12 months has been hard, she has her spark back now.”
Cara approached the Wirral Chamber of Commerce who enrolled her onto ERDF funded Business Growth Programme which provides a minimum of 12 hours free business support for businesses including start-up advice to early-stage businesses through to more specialist support to those more established.
“I spoke with my adviser and we got on straight away, he could see my vision and most importantly could keep up with my 100mph mind.”
The Wirral Chamber of commerce provided Cara with all the help and support she needed to complete her business plan as well as cash flow forecast to enable her to apply for a small business loan.
“I couldn’t have done it without them” she stated “Paul (Rittenberg) was amazing, I had a tight timescale and he worked with me to make my dream come true, I definitely owe him a pint!”
Thanks to the support she received Cara was able to secure her loan and begin the process in opening Teddy’s Balloons and Gifts.
“I got the idea to open my shop at Larton from my stepdad, he just mentioned in passing about some empty units he had seen, and that’s where it all began”.
Cara spent her childhood at Larton Livery and described her finding her shop there as fate, “it was like coming home” she said. “I had so many happy memories here, I’m so excited to make more.”
Cara secured an old shipping container to convert into a shop and that’s where Teddys Balloons and Gifts was born.
“I had a vision for my business, I wanted it to be cool and quirky, but also eco aware and decided that instead of finding a shop front on the high street (which probably would have been much easier) to convert an old unused container and give it a new lease of life”.
Cara, along with her stepfather and husband, took on the mammoth task of converting the container in-between raising 2 small children and working full time, and in April 2021 Teddy’s Balloons and Gifts finally opened their doors to the public.
“it was definitely a labour of love, there has been literal blood sweat and tears, but we did it and I am so proud of us.”