It’s no secret that opportunities occur when you least expect them. This is something that Jo and Sally—two business women from Leicester—experienced first hand when they attended a Back Her Business launch event and were offered a life-changing opportunity.
The Back Her Business programme has helped countless women start their businesses since its foundation in 2019, helping to close the gender gap in business through a combination of grants, coaching, and opportunities.
Having crowdfunded to produce their North42 Rhubarb and Blood Orange Gin, Jo and Sally were invited to be guest speakers at theprogramme’s Birmingham launch event to explain how crowdfunding helped them start their dream.
While there, they were approached by the team at Selfridges and were given an unforgettable opportunity. They were offered a pop-up shop in the department store where they could sell their new Leicestershire gin to the public.
Though, to build their point-of-sale display unit, they needed £5,000. After already having run an immensely successful crowdfunding campaign, they decided to turn to the crowd once again, this time with the backing of the Back Her Business programme.
When asked what inspired the duo to start their own business, Sally Davis explained, “We have always wanted to work for ourselves. We have experience in the business area and wanted to develop a business from startup. We had found a building which was up for sale and looked into purchasing it to be a restaurant and bar. We purchased the building and project managed the whole refurbishment and now have a restaurant and bar with our own North42 Gin being sold in our establishment. We always wanted to develop and create our own gin, and with both our love of gin and food, we wanted to create a gin that could not only be drunk as a drink but also be paired with food.”
To incentivise support for their crowdfund, they utilised their rewards and sold gin, exclusive balloon glasses, and VIP experiences in return for pledges. Within 42 days, £7,811 had been raised from 53 supporters. This included £2,500 from us as part of the programme.
Sally told us, “The initial crowdfunding helped us tremendously which meant we were invited to the Back her Business launch to be a guest speaker. This enabled us to meet Selfridges and take our brand to the next level.”
She continued, “It was amazing to meet our target and to receive the further funding which has helped towards our development, brand and production costs.”
Since their second crowdfunding campaign closed, North42 has been going from strength to strength. The duo have set up their pop-up stall in Selfridges and are looking forward to completing their future business ambitions.
Sally said, “We now have our gin sold in a number of restaurants and bars in the Leicestershire area though we now want to extend and grow our business into other areas of the country.”
After running two successful crowdfunding campaigns and receiving a match-funding grant of £2,500 from the programme, we asked the duo for their top crowdfunding tips to inspire others to use the programme to make their dreams a reality.
“Crowdfunding is a great way to gain support for your brand/business. We certainly found that rewards were a great way to get people to invest as they are buying something in advance. You certainly need to be driven, determined, and passionate about the business you are wanting to develop and create and you need to ensure that you set goals and targets.”
Feeling inspired by Jo and Sally’s story? Check out our Back Her Business programme and find out more about the grants, coaching, and opportunities on offer!