Entrepreneurial mum of two Kate McKnight is set to bring stylish and affordable babywear to Blackpool with the launch of her new business, thanks to Start Up Now, the North West arm of the government’s national £150m Start Up Loans programme.
Before starting her new business Kate had been working three jobs each day for the minimum wage and was pregnant with her second child, now ten weeks old, when she was inspired to set her own baby clothing business.
Kate, who lives in Blackpool with her husband and two daughters, will be launching Baby Bay at Mini Mall market on Church Street this month where she will be selling stylish baby clothes, accessories and gifts for newborn babies and young children. She will also be the only retailer in Blackpool to sell custom made Nappy Cakes, a highly popular gift item in the US and Europe, and will also be offering gift baskets for new parents. Kate, who came to the UK from Poland nine years ago, is also looking forward to welcoming the local Polish community with her unique blend of personal service and range of products.
Kate, 33, says: “I had been buying and selling children’s clothes on eBay personally for a few years because I was struck by the lack of affordable, stylish clothes for babies and young children. When I was pregnant with my second daughter I decided to research the idea of creating my own retail brand, stocking the kind of clothes that I would like to buy for my own children and to give as gifts. Having already completed a business course at college in Poland I also had experience of working in many retail outlets in the UK, so felt confident I knew my market and what kind of business I needed to launch.
“I attended a number of the Get Started business courses run by Blackpool Council which led to me being introduced me to the Start up Now team who were able to give me a low interest loan and other business support. Now I just can’t wait to start trading!”
Kate is also aiming to set up a website for her new business and plans to employ two or three members of staff over the coming year.
Kate received her loan from Start Up Now, the North West arm of the national £150m Start Up Loans programme delivered by Business Finance Solutions. Start Up Now will see £15 million allocated to new start-ups across the North West over the next two years, creating around 3000 new businesses and over 5000 new jobs in the region.
Paul Breen, Director of Business Finance Solutions, said: “Kate is exactly the kind of person who will really benefit from the support available from Start Up Now and we’re delighted that we could build on the help that she had already received from Blackpool Council. Kate knows her potential market inside out and has already built a great network of mums and potential customers in her area, all of which bodes very well for the launch of her business at Abingdon Market.”
Over 800 BFS Start Up Loan recipients in the North West are now running their own businesses, creating employment and economic opportunities across Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire and Cumbria. Start Up Now is available to everyone over the age of 18 in the North West.
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