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How one Scottish entrepreneur raised eyebrows with her business growth

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When entrepreneur Lynn Stevenson revealed she wanted to invest a large amount of money into growing an eyebrow threading business, she was met with scepticism by friends and family. “Everyone was trying to put me off, telling me I couldn’t generate a good income from it,” she recalls.

Seven years later, Lynn’s business, Glamour Eyes Ltd, which runs over 130 eyebrow bar concession stores nationwide, reached £4.5 million in annual turnover. As Director, Lynn is not stopping there, as the business is now eyeing further growth with support from our Bank.

Glamour Eyes provides eyebrow shaping, threading, and other beauty services to customers in Superdrug outlets across the UK and Republic of Ireland, employing over 350 staff across frontline, as well as back office roles at its headquarters in Kilmarnock.

As Director, Lynn founded the company in 2012 using her own funding, choosing to purchase a concession contract directly from Superdrug and establish her first batch of stores, which grew from two to 12 over the next three years.

When Superdrug decided to strip back the number of eyebrow concession businesses working in its outlets in 2015, Glamour Eyes secured a major regional tender contract to remain as the leading operator in Superdrug outlets in the North of England, Scotland, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The company then had to scale up rapidly and Clydesdale Bank worked with Lynn as Director to help her secure an Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) loan, which funded the transition of Glamour Eyes from a small business into a large-scale operation.

After subsequent growth, the company now plans to set up a further 10 of its stores in Superdrug outlets over the next year, adding 20 new staff and eyeing a target of £5.5 million turnover. It has received a £100,000 working capital facility from the Bank, which will allow it to optimise its cash flow while taking on the additional expenses associated with expansion, including new staff costs, outlays in shop fitting and added stock.

Things weren’t always headed in this positive direction though. Moving back from South Africa with a young family in 2012, Lynn was at a crossroads. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do” Lynn recalled. “I had a young family and knew I needed to start looking for ideas.”

“By chance, I came across the concept of concessions within Superdrug and on closer inspection I found out somebody was selling a contract. I decided to cut out the middleman and get in touch with Superdrug directly, and they gave me the opportunity to start on my own.

“My relationship with Clydesdale Bank really came into its own during the tender process, as they helped me to secure the EFG lending that set the stage for greater scale for Glamour Eyes. The company couldn’t have thrived and grown to where it is today without their help and I’m very grateful.”

Sharing her advice for female entrepreneurs looking to start a venture, Lynn said: “If you think that your idea or business is one that is viable – if you feel like it would be a good business, go for it, don’t ever hesitate. I had many people trying to put me off throughout, but you’ll never know until you try whether it actually will be a success.”

Sue Douthwaite, Head of Small Business at Clydesdale Bank, said: “As a Bank, we have a proud history of supporting female entrepreneurs like Lynn across Scotland, working closely with business owners to understand their needs and provide a platform for growth.

“We’ve developed a range of flexible products and services for businesses of all sizes, and can also help them to acquire alternative finance, as in Lynn’s case with EFG lending, which helped her to become well-established in the sector.

“Ambitious and determined business owners like Lynn are integral in helping to encourage the next generation of female leaders to start their own enterprises. We believe strongly in backing women in business, which is why we’re proudly supporting a number of events to promote the growth of female entrepreneurship, including the 2019 Women’s Enterprise Scotland and the Women Who awards, both of which recognise the dynamism and hard work of the UK’s female business leaders.”

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POSTED IN: Finance advice,Growth,Startup


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