Esme 2024 01


Esme Nicholson has come a long way since launching her dog grooming business, Lulu Dog Services, during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite being a challenging time full stop, let alone to take the leap of faith into entrepreneurship, Esme Nicholson has come out the other side and her business is thriving – thanks in part to The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s interest-free business loan.

“The loan made everything possible really,” Esme said when catching up with the Charity recently.

“Business is thriving, I’m fully booked almost all the time and working additional days to keep up!”

At the same time as running a successful business, Esme has also been able to open up the shop to enable work experience students to make some new, furry friends.

“They absolutely love the chance to work with the dogs, and I’m glad I can provide a different kind of ‘working environment’ as I never had the chance to work with animals when I was younger. We now also have another business working in our shop a few days a week which is great.”

Based in Clarendon Park, Lulu Dog Services provides a host of grooming options, including fur clipping, bathing, nail clipping and, in Esme’s words, making them “look beautiful yet practical”.

Looking ahead to the future, Esme added: “We’ve started boarding a few of our regular dogs over the summer, which we love doing! We plan on doing more day care and boarding in the future, as well as keeping up the dog grooming!”

When seeking funding to make her business a reality, Esme first discovered STWLC through a friend, who had herself benefited from the charity’s unique interest-free business loans. From there, Esme reached out to one of the charity’s marketing consultants – Martin Hageman – who explained how the charity worked.

My advice would be to any new upcoming business needing the loan would be ‘go for it!’

Esme Nicholson

“The application process was very straight forward, although I did have my business-savvy dad to help me through,” explained Esme.

“The loan helped me with a lot, as I didn’t have the initial bulk to buy my very expensive equipment,” she added.

“My table and bath came to just under £2,000 which was the biggest amount I spent. It also helped with me opening my shop, paying for the flooring, a lick of paint and the advertisement for the front of my shop and car. Little things like leaflets, beer mats and the local pub helped a lot and spread the word when I couldn’t work. Leafleting became my primary job through lockdown with lots of hand sanitizer in between!

“My advice would be to any new upcoming business needing the loan would be ‘go for it!’ Although the process got tricky sometimes with the business plan and lots of numbers, if you know your business inside and out you will be successful. The interviews were very relaxed and all the trustees were lovely throughout.

“I have, and will continue to, recommend The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity for helping my dreams come true!”

To find out more about Lulu Dog Services, please visit

For more information on The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s interest-free business loans, please click here.

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