Event planning business in Barry overcomes the adversities of Covid-19 to secure its future and plan for growth in 2021.

Being faced with significant challenges and some difficult choices, Barry entrepreneur Carolyn Oliver got in touch with the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service for help to keep her business afloat despite the Covid-19 pandemic. She worked with a business adviser on crisis and contingency planning to safeguard her business and her job, while planning for future expansion and growth.

  • business advice to safeguard the business and associated jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic
  • a £6,000 loan secured via the Development Bank of Wales
  • help to facilitate a move to new, bigger premises to help future growth.

Introduction to business

Based in Barry, Your Day Your Way was launched by Carolyn Oliver in 2014. The business offers a specialist independent event planning and decorating service across South Wales, catering for a wide range of events, including weddings, Christenings, graduation balls and proms, charity events, corporate and private parties.

What challenges did you face?

For us, 2019 was an amazing year and 2020 was looking to being even better. We had planned to move to a better shop and employ a team of staff to GO BIGGER. And then Covid-19 hit us…Here are just some of the challenges that I was faced with because of the pandemic:

  • lack of income
  • no weddings taking place
  • no events taking place, including even small private parties
  • no open venues
  • no business

I was really grateful to receive a Welsh Government grant, which kick started my imagination again and gave me a boost to keep going. However, with the overheads mounting, it wasn’t going to be enough, so I started to panic again. I’d research the internet every day to see what was available, scrolling through every government website to see whether I could access any further funding but it didn’t seem that I was getting anywhere.

Business Wales support

Carolyn approached Business Wales as she feared her business and her livelihood were at risk due to the adverse effects the pandemic was having on her sector – funds were running out quickly and there was no work prospects until March 2021. She worked with a business adviser, Yusuf Behardien, who provided extensive support, including help with her financial forecasts, survival plan and setting goals.

Yusuf helped Carolyn apply for and secure a £6,000 loan from the Development Bank of Wales as additional capital. He also looked at new revenue streams and strategies to diversity during the quiet periods. Carolyn was able to implement a ‘hire only’ service, which led to the need for bigger premises, which will also provide further expansion opportunities in the future.

Yusuf is now exploring further options for raising funds including the Cultural recovery fund to help with the challenges of Covid-19.

Outcomes

  • business advice to safeguard the business and associated jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic
  • a £6,000 loan secured via the Development Bank of Wales
  • help to facilitate a move to new, bigger premises to help future growth.

The wedding and event industry has been impacted so badly that I was about to give up. Pack up six years of hard work and find a new job… when Business Wales started to pop up in my news feed. I had a look and dropped them an email, although I thought this was for new start-ups, not established businesses.

I was put in touch with Yusuf, my business adviser, who has been a legend. I was giving up, but he had other ideas.

After going through the last six years of my business, he turned my way of thinking. We did a forecast for the next 2 years and things became much clearer.

Yusuf put me in touch with the Development Bank of Wales, who fast-racked a small business loan for me, which was amazing. I found bigger premises, but was unsure if this was the right time to move. However, after going through everything with Yusuf, we decided it was in the business’ best interest to do it.

I have had so much support from Business Wales over the last 2 months, and all for free I must add: I didn’t realise how useful the webinars would be, I had access to a vast amount of experienced people who taught me new skills – from clouds to Microsoft and Facebook – all useful knowledge I didn't know existed.

Thanks to Business Wales, I have relocated my business, have a projection forecast for the next 2 years, I have gained so much knowledge and I’m confident that my business will survive this crisis.

Future plans and ambitions

I am really excited to have a new venture coming up. I have teamed up with Aspirations UK in Barry to provide micro wedding, small birthday parties and afternoon teas. This will provide me with a small income to tie me over until the pandemic is over.

Financially I am looking okay, so I am still looking to employ new staff albeit later than planned.

All of this is thanks to the help and support of Business Wales.

If you want to read more success stories of how Business Wales has helped other people like you to start or grow their businesses, visit https://businesswales.gov.wales/case-studies or follow @_businesswales / @_busnescymru on Twitter.

Share this page

Print this page