Case Studies
A stall with containers full of pots of different-coloured glitter

Make Up Or Break Up

Partner: Starling Bank
Region: North West
Location: Manchester
Programme: Bounce Back Loan Scheme

Having grown from little more than a market stall in 2014 to an almost £1m-a-year business in 2020, the future was looking bright for this eco-friendly glitter supplier. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the business faced sudden financial trouble, having spent much of its working capital on stock it now couldn’t sell. Furloughing staff and depending solely on its dwindling overdraft, the business applied to the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) for support.

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

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

Jason Guy, co-founder of Make Up Or Break Up: Ian Welham [co-founder] and I started selling glitter from Affleck’s market in Manchester in 2014, and since then we’ve gone from what was essentially a market stall to a business that employs four people year-round, 10 during the summer when we’re busy. We’re now on track to turn over a million pounds a year.

We’ve grown by doing the right thing – offering biodegradable glitter, making a conscious effort to find eco-friendly suppliers and donating profits to charity. We chose to do that before we were successful and it’s now become part of what brings us customers. We give 30% of profits to three Manchester-based charities: the Albert Kennedy Trust for LGBTQ+ members who are homeless, Mermaids to support the transgender community and George House Trust to help people with HIV.

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

At the beginning of 2020, we bought £60,000 worth of stock, based on our predicted sales for the next 12 months. A week later, the coronavirus hit. We had very little money in the bank account and loads of stock had already been shipped. Affleck’s closed so we had to divert the stock to our house. And customer uncertainty led to a decline in online sales.

How did you find the application process?

When Starling Bank announced that businesses could apply for a Bounce Back Loan with them, we jumped at the opportunity. In the space of five days, which was over a bank holiday, we had the account opened and the money put into our account.

 

The Bounce Back Loan literally saved our business. The relief when it hit our account was unbelievable. I don’t know what we would have done without it.

Jason Guy, co-founder of Make Up Or Break Up

 

What do you think would have happened to your business if your application hadn’t been approved?

We applied for a Bounce Back Loan with our high-street bank, but didn’t hear anything for five weeks. We had £1,000 left on our overdraft but £3,000 worth of monthly outgoings even after we’d furloughed staff. There was no end in sight for lockdown and we thought we’d have to remortgage the house or take out personal credit cards just to keep the business going.

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

The Bounce Back Loan we received has enabled us to pay our bills, bring back staff from furlough and boost digital advertising to maintain online sales.

In what way did the funding help your business survive?

It literally saved our business. The relief when the loan hit the account was unbelievable. I don’t know what we would have done without it.

 

This case study first featured on the Starling Bank blog page. Find out more about Make Up Or Break Up

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