Arran Fordham - 019A former North East landscaper has launched the new year with his own beauty empire at the age of only 21, thanks to the help of a local enterprise organisation.

Arran Fordham, of Sacriston, Durham, was left out of work at the age of 19 after losing his first job, which came at a tough time after a string of personal problems.

This then led to a year of unsuccessful job applications and unemployment before he spotted a gap in the market in his local village Framwell Gate Moor.

The former student made the decision to open his own beauty salon, Look Lush, but did not have the business experience or funding to develop his first shop independently.

Following a recommendation from a family friend, Arran contacted Pinetree, an organisation which provides business support and access to finance to start-ups and growing North East companies.

Arran said: “Without Pinetree I doubt whether it would have even been possible to develop a successful business on my own. They really gave me the help and support I needed both financially and through key advice and guidance. It has given me the opportunity to stand on my own two feet and provide for myself, as well as do my bit for the local community in creating jobs.”

Arran worked with Pinetree business advisor Carole Aitken. She helped him develop his initial idea of a beauty salon, specialising in tanning, into a clear business plan. Carole also helped him secure a £500 grant and a loan to help buy equipment to get the business up and running.

The salon, Look Lush, now employs four beauty therapists and offers a range of the latest treatments including body wraps, shellac manicures, botox and dermal fillers as well as classic treatments such as facials, massages and waxing. Following its initial success, Look Lush is now set to expand to a second salon in 2015.

Arran continued; “We have developed such a large and loyal customer base already that our next step is to open another salon so that we can cater for everyone.

“Pinetree has given me support beyond the initial launch stage and will assist me in the opening of the next salon; they are always on hand to help and have been a fantastic support.”

Since 1991, Pinetree, which is based at the Pinetree Centre in Birtley, has been working to help a range of clients that include students, unemployed individuals, ex-offenders, people with physical and sensory disabilities, ex-service personnel, people aged 50+ and those individuals and businesses who have been refused mainstream finance, offering loans of up to £25,000.

Pinetree adviser said: “We help people of all ages back into employment here at Pinetree, however it is not very often that someone so young can have such ambition and dedication to a business project.

Arran came to us with a clear idea of what he wanted and we helped him launch his own business with one to one advice and access to finance which was essential to him. He worked very hard and we are all delighted to see him doing so well with a business, which could provide a lifelong successful career if he keeps up the good work.”

Anyone with a business idea who has been declined mainstream finance should contact Pinetree on 0191 492 8215 or via the website