Many businesses claim to have family at the heart of their foundation, but for Emma Compson and her business, elleroo, the claim is genuine.
Let’s start by introducing you to elleroo, which Emma runs with her partner Rowena. Producing customisable jewellery, the aim of elleroo is to deliver items that capture personal moments into memories that last forever. Every item is unique and, what’s more, designed and created right here in England.
As working mums, Emma and Row found that they were capable of doing so much except for one thing…share their experiences with their two children. As a result, one of the main driving factors behind elleroo was to be able to spend more time together as a family.
“We wanted to be able to set up our own business so that we could get something that money couldn’t provide, and that is time with our family, friends and each other,” explained Emma.
Emma and Row wanted to spend time together to create lifelong memories, but had no idea what area of business to go into at the time. Through a difficult time, family once again provided a realisation.
“Row’s mum passed away from cancer,” explained Emma. “We wanted to find something completely personal to us, so that we could remember the amazing memories we had and to provide comfort. Rather than something digital, we wanted something physical and precious, which could be with us every day. It was at that point that we realised that a personal item of jewellery, engraved with memories would be perfect. We wanted to remember all of those everyday moments too, that often get forgotten”
The pair searched far and wide for the perfect piece of jewellery, but couldn’t find anything that hit the mark. Nothing seemed to be of the quality desired or the style wasn’t contemporary. There was nothing to the level of personalisation that Emma and Row were after.
“We didn’t want anything that was mass-produced and worn by many,” said Emma. “We wanted it to be completely personal. That’s when we decided to fill the gap and go for it ourselves and elleroo was born.
“Over the next two years, we spent time designing, creating and testing our prototypes to get to where we are now.We feel so proud to know that our jewellery is capturing peoples moments and turning them into memories that will never be forgotten.
It’s an emotional story that The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity is proud to have been able to support. Emma applied for one of our interest-free business loans to fund manufacture and marketing.
“I found out about the charity from somebody that borrowed from it before,” revealed Emma. “The interview with the trustees was a little daunting at first, as those situations usually are, but I very soon realised that there was a genuine interest in the business and that they were keen to provide us with the loan.”
Emma planned to utilise the loan to boost elleroo’s marketing and online presence. However, those plans were put on hold as a result of COVID-19. It’s not an ideal situation, but one that Emma and Row are taking positives from.
“It’s been very hard,” said Emma. “There’s a huge amount of uncertainty and, for us, we found that many elements of our supply chain in the United Kingdom, were affected. However, as a result of that, we’ve started looking at ways in which we can take on some of the work carried out by parts of that supply chain – so we’re in a position to keep going even if others we work with are having problems. The loan from the charity really helped out with that.
“The whole journey so far has been quite something,” added Emma. “We went into this venture knowing very little about the jewellery industry, with our interest mainly being as people that liked to wear items. However, now, we have a real knowledge of how the industry works at all stages and feel we’re in a really good place.”
The feedback for elleroo’s jewellery has been superb too. In fact, such was the impression that Emma’s interview had on one trustee, shortly after being approved for a business loan, that trustee placed two orders for bespoke items.
“That was wonderful,” Emma confessed. “It’s one thing to know that a trustee liked our plan and what we were doing, but to like it enough to part with their own money really showed how much they liked our product. We were so pleased to be able to provide the items for special occasions.”
It’s not just The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity that has taken notice of elleroo. Earlier this year, elleroo became one of a select number of small businesses to become ‘Friends of Joules’. An initiative established by renowned Market Harborough based lifestyle brand Joules, elleroo are one of just 250 companies nationally that will have their products supported and sold via Joules’ platforms. The result is that elleroo will benefit from the brand exposure of one of the country’s biggest names in fashion and lifestyle.
“We were delighted,” said Emma on being part of this year’s ‘Friends of Joules’. “It’s a new initiative too, so to be among the first businesses to be invited is brilliant. We really hope that more people find out about elleroo through the exposure we receive from Joules.”
For more information on elleroo – and to view some of their products – please visit www.elleroo.co.uk
Alternatively, click here to find out more about The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s interest-free business loans.