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A Cheshire-based businesswoman is setting contemporary trends in homeware

A £6k Start Up Loan from BEF helps support the growth of Scandi homeware specialist, NINA D.

NINA D specialises in a luxurious range of Scandi inspired table mats and placemats, coasters, serving trays, table runners and napkins. The business is the brainchild of Swedish born, Nina Daniels, whose lightbulb moment struck during a visit to her favourite boutique in Stockholm. What started as a shopping trip to replenish placemats turned into the realisation that Nina could own a successful business selling her own creations.

The lightbulb moment came just at the right time for Nina. Following a divorce in 2017, Nina had moved with her son to Altrincham for a fresh start. Unfortunately, the positive outcome dramatically changed when her son’s father unexpectedly passed away in 2019. As a result, Nina could no longer balance employment with childcare and needed to make a further change to support her son following the bereavement.

Thankfully, Nina’s lightbulb moment turned into another fresh start that is going from strength to strength. Nina has drawn on her degree in Theatre Design and diploma in Illustration to deliver tableware designs that are inspired by a place or a person close to her heart back home in Sweden. Nina’s personal connection is represented in her art through colours and texture, often resulting in shapes and patterns. Nina takes immense pride knowing that the materials and process used are sustainable.

NINA D first launched with a capsule collection of placemats and coasters, before producing the designs on Swedish birch trays. To complete the range, handmade European table linen in matching colours was introduced. The business currently has 12 UK and international stockists, and sells online through its beautifully designed website which offers home delivery and click-and-collected via Nina’s Altrincham studio. Each order comes beautifully gift wrapped with a personal handwritten greeting.

When Nina approached BEF in August 2022, she wanted to secure a modest, low-cost loan to support stock acquisition for the upcoming Christmas season.

Nina said: “I looked at various loans and credit cards which would have put me in a worse situation with such high interest rates. Doubtful if I was able to order certain new stock for the fourth quarter. Thanks to this funding the Christmas season was a success, in fact the best to date. Without this funding, I am unsure my business would have moved forward this well. We’re now going into 2023 with ambitious plans to launch a new tableware design, expand our wholesale platform and showcase my original artwork at a Manchester Art Exhibition.”

Following support from Julie Micklethwaite, Start Up Loans Manager at BEF, Nina secured a £6,000 Start Up Loan in October 2022. Once the loan was granted, the funds arrived swiftly which enabled NINA D to cover immediate product orders in preparation for the fourth quarter which is the busiest time of the year in retail.

As part of the process Nina wrote a brand-new business plan, reviewed her personal survival budget and updated her business forecast for the year ahead. This proved to be an extremely healthy exercise that helped Nina understand how to grow her business.

Nina continued: “From my first point of contact to completion, I felt very supported and guided through my application process. Julie was always on hand to clarify any queries. She also kept me up to date with the timeline from sending my application to decision making. This was important as I closely watched business outgoings, making sure I stayed in credit.”

Since receiving her Start Up Loan, Nina’s creativity, commitment and business acumen have been rewarded twice, most recently with a listing in the #ialso 2023 Top UK 100 Female Entrepreneurs. In November 2022, Nina was a runner up for the ‘Micro Business of the Year Award’ by Altrincham and Sale Chamber of Commerce.

Julie Micklethwaite, Start Up Loans Manager at BEF, said: “Nina’s uplifting personal story is an encouragement for any woman who is considering starting their own business. I’m delighted to have helped Nina at a crucial time for her business. I am confident that Nina’s unique expression of Scandi design will be the centre piece of many dining experiences across the UK and beyond.”

Start or grow your business with a Start Up Loan delivered by BEF

A Start Up Loan is a government-backed personal loan available to individuals looking to start or grow a business in the UK. You borrow £500 to £25,000 over 1–5 years at a fixed rate of 6% per annum. Up to four founders and partners can apply per business.

Apply online now.

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