Success Story 01 March 2021

Region/Nation South West
Programme Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)

Used to running her business as a one-woman operation, Osmology founder Elizabeth Drew was looking to take on her first employee when COVID-19 hit. Needing to keep the company going, but feeling a responsibility to pay her suppliers on time, Elizabeth applied to the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) for financial support that would allow her to do this.

Read what she had to say in this BBLS case study.

British Business Bank: Can you tell us what your company does?

Elizabeth Drew, founder of Osmology: I started with a small men’s lifestyle shop in Bristol. Soon, I began to notice that the guys coming in were buying a lot of scented candles, which really surprised me.

One of Osmology's range of scented candles placed on a bedside table

The more I looked into candles and fell in love with brands from across the world, the more it became obvious that there wasn’t anywhere I could easily get my hands on them in the UK. I founded Osmology in 2017, curating a range of independent home fragrance brands and selling a selection of scented candles and gift sets, as well as monthly subscription boxes.

How did COVID-19 affect your business, and why did this mean you needed funding?

I was just at the point of needing to take someone on to help me with the business when coronavirus hit. It’s been a balancing act doing everything myself. But being busy is a good problem to have, and I’ve found that lots of customers have been buying candles as gifts, or as a treat for themselves while spending more time at home.

How did you find the application process?

It was an amazingly quick experience. I applied with Starling Bank at 10.30am, at 11.15am the paperwork came through for me to sign, and at 12.30pm I had the money in my account. An hour later, I was able to pay early a number of suppliers who were struggling with cashflow. Getting these loans quickly helps everyone!

[Applying for a Bounce Back Loan] was an amazingly quick experience. I had the money in my account within a couple of hours, and was able to pay early a number of suppliers who were struggling with cashflow themselves. Getting these loans quickly helps everyone! Elizabeth Drew founder of Osmology

How did your Bounce Back Loan help your business (for example, with paying bills, paying staff, buying stock, paying down debt etc.)?

Primarily, I applied for the Bounce Back Loan so I could pay my existing suppliers quickly and bring on new brands to overcome issues in the supply chain. Some of the smaller brands I work with rely on boutique shops that have had to close, so the vast majority of their customer base has dried up. I feel a huge responsibility to keep selling and keep paying them as quickly as possible.

I also wanted to pay off expensive business credit card debt and set aside an emergency fund.

Find out more about Osmology