A Cumbrian businesswoman is creating up to 10 jobs after buying a popular online jewellery retailer and moving its operations to Irthington.
Sarah Patterson already employs five people in the village with her own online gifts company, by Molly&Izzie, but is now set to triple the size of her business with the acquisition of London-based Lily Belle.
Lily Belle has a national profile as one of the first companies on the successful Not On The High Street website. It has been trading for 14 years and offers a range of high-end jewellery gifts.
Sarah plans to run the Lily Belle brand separately alongside by Molly&Izzie which has grown rapidly in the three years since she began making personalised jewellery and wish bracelets from her kitchen table.
Sarah, 33, said: “The opportunity to buy Lily Belle fell into my lap, It wasn’t something I was planning to do, but I couldn’t let it pass by.
“Lily Belle is a highly successful and nationally known brand. I like the idea that we are reversing the normal trend and bringing a London-based success story to Cumbria and basing it here in our Irthington studio.”
By Molly&Izzie is already a successful online business processing over 100 orders for its gifts on a quiet day – a figure that goes through the roof at Christmas and also peaks around any special events such as Mother’s Day.
The company has an extensive range of wish bracelets which come with inspirational or funny messages. This month dozens of them are being posted out every day for families looking for end-of-year gifts for teachers.
Sarah – who lives in Irthington with husband Ryan and children Merryn, six, and Arlo, three – originally started her business as a something to do as a new mum, but it quickly snowballed into a slick operation with an expanding staff including office manager Helen Ivison.
Sarah said: “I soon realised that I needed staff to help fulfil the orders that were flying in. It just went crazy around Christmas and now we have a team of five. We have taken orders from virtually every country in the world and export a lot to the United States.
“I offer everyone flexible working and no matter how fast things develop when we bring Lily Belle on board I will stick to that and continue supporting this community. I love living in Irthington – it is a lovely village and has a great school – and it’s important to me that as we expand we can offer the kind of jobs that fit in with people’s family commitments.
“We expect to be hiring five full-time and five part-time staff to help meet the demand for Lily Bell products. It’s a new chapter for me, but no matter how big the brands get nationally I will always keep it locally based.”