Objective One helps Cornwall's tiara industry!
A Cornish jeweller's expansion into the tiara business is turning into a glittering success - thanks to help from an Objective One-funded scheme.
Earlier this year, Julia Schofield from Porthleven was awarded a £3,000 grant from the South West Investment Group to help develop her costume jewellery business, Tombodama.
With the help of the grant, Julia has created a new range of tiaras that are proving an enormous success. And by using the latest in high-tech communications to promote her hand-made creations, she has been bringing in customers from across the UK.
Julia explained: "I started off with a real cottage industry a couple of years ago, working from my bedroom. Then I opened up a jewellery studio in Porthleven in March."
She also applied to South West Investment Group for a grant from their Small Business Grant Fund - set up through Objective One to support Cornwall's entrepreneurs. Julia explained: "I wanted the grant for marketing, developing new products and developing the website by adding e-commerce software."
The effect of the grant enabled Julia to take on another full time member of staff and develop a new line of tiaras that come with matching jewellery. Her tiaras, which are mainly sold for the wedding market, contain semi-precious stones, freshwater pearls, Austrian crystal and hand-made beads from around the world.
The tiaras have been an enormous hit with customers and Julia has used her firm's website - www.tombodama.com - to help promote and sell her work. She said: "People have travelled from South Wales to see the shop and I've got a mother and daughter coming from York in November."
Julia has also used images taken with a digital camera to send to people by email. One customer was planning to have flowers in her hair for her wedding but changed her mind after seeing one of Julia's designs.
"But she wanted her sister in Yorkshire to see it so I took three images and emailed them to her. The sister then emailed back to say 'buy it'!"
Peter Casey of the South West Investment Group said, “The aim of the fund is to help businesses achieve their true potential, and to expand, hopefully creating more jobs in the County. Money is provided based upon the possible future of the company rather than it’s current equity.”
Tombodama - which means 'bead-maker' in Japanese - can be contacted through the website or on 01326 560200.
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