“I really thought 2020 was going to be my year, and it has been, just not as I expected. I used my own money and a micro loan from the Development Bank to cover start-up costs, including purchasing items I need to make our signature Gaea products. I’m glad I had that backing, especially as so much changed for us as a business and the whole retail landscape in a very short time.”
Cruelty-free bath product start-up Gaea opened their first shop in Caerphilly town centre at the end of February 2020, with the support of a £10,000 micro loan from the Development Bank of Wales.
The start-up is the brain child of local entrepreneur Bridget Lewis. She used the money to rent her shop space and to purchase materials to make her range of bath and beauty products as well as providing working capital for her first few months as a new business.
When the United Kingdom went in to lockdown in March this year, Bridget’s shop had been open for just three weeks. When she closed her doors that week, she did not know what to expect over the next few months. Just three months later, she launched an online shop delivering Gaea’s products across the UK to meet demand, which has grown during the pandemic.
The move from physical store to online retailer happened after she was overwhelmed by support from customers.