A young couple from Skelton, in the borough of Redcar and Cleveland, have fulfilled a dream of launching their own business, with a helping hand from Beyond Housing’s New Directions programme.

Chelsea Gibson and Jake Vaughan had started making scented wax products as a hobby but, with a growing interest in their creations from friends and family, had started to believe that there might be a growing market for their craft.

“At this stage we’d managed to sell some of our products, but had to plough our small income straight back into purchasing the materials that we needed in order to make more.” said Chelsea, “We realised it would be difficult to grow our business like this.”

Both Chelsea and Jake had considerable previous experience in retail and customer service and had drawn up a business plan with help from a local business coach, who referred them to New Directions for further advice and support.

The couple had their first meeting with Beyond Housing Youth Employment Initiative Advisor Julie Hearl in mid-June and together they began a weekly series of advice, guidance and support sessions, often held at the East Cleveland Training and Employment Hub at nearby Skinningrove.

Julie was also able to access sufficient additional funding through the New Directions programme to enable Chelsea and Jake to invest in the materials they needed to increase the production of their products.

“This was just the boost we needed,” explained Jake, “With Julie’s help we managed to hit the ground running and start to really grow our hobby into a lively business. The support from New Directions has been overwhelming and I think our experience is a great example of just how helpful the programme can be. We would recommend it to anyone who wants to get started in the way that we have.”

Julie Hearl, Beyond Housing YEI Advisor, said: “It’s been so rewarding to be able to help Chelsea and Jake grow their fabulous idea into C&J Scents, which now looks like becoming a very successful business venture.

“C&J Scents is a great illustration of how the New Directions programme can deliver tailored support to people in the Redcar and Cleveland area who are aged between 15 and 29 and are not in education, employment or training. It’s there to provide one to one advice and guidance on any of the issues that might be preventing young people from getting into work or education.”