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Fit for a gentleman
We couldn’t have achieved similar results without the Start & Grow programme Jon Walker, The Mantique
Having grown up on the South Coast, Jon Walker and his girlfriend Liz Raffles knew of all the quality retailers in Winchester providing men’s clothing but found that sourcing luxury accessories and gifts for men outside of London was very difficult. They saw a gap in the market to sell 100% British products ranging from quality leather bags, briefcases, laptop cases, socks, underwear and grooming products.
With a clear idea in mind they set out to make this business a reality but, with a background in the financial services industry for Jon, and 14 years as a professional yacht skipper for Liz, they had no retail knowledge whatsoever. They were hoping to receive support, through the Start & Grow programme, that would help them shape their business and a mentor that would see them grow as time progressed.
“We are delighted with the support we have received and we look forward to having our meetings with our mentor” says Jon.
Through the programme Jon and Liz were matched with Sue Davitt, a knowledgeable and experienced business adviser from Enterprise First, who provided The Mantique with feedback on their business plan, one-to-one mentoring and access to various funding sources through Virgin StartUp. They began trading from their premises in Winchester in November 2015 and they now has a fantastic e-commerce site that allows customers to shop online and get their purchases delivered.
At present, Jon and Liz are the only members of staff, however they are looking to grow the business in 2016 by taking on one or two more employees and, within the next three years, plan to open up more shops.
Under the Start & Grow scheme Jon and Liz received 9 hours of support and advice, and leveraged finance for the business of £8,300.
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Jon Walker and Liz Raffles received business support and advice through Enterprise First.