The Lovely Gift Group

Seedcorn Fund Case Study

Left to right, Ian Brown, Finance Yorkshire; Helen Davies, The Lovely Gift Group; Alex McWhirter, Chief Executive, Finance Yorkshire.

Brough-based The Lovely Gift Group specialises in personalised keepsakes and is home to brands The Lovely Keepsake Company, Lovely NICU Gifts and Lovely Memorial Gifts. It is targeting £750,000 turnover this year.

The company

Owner Helen Davies launched the keepsake business after her experience of giving birth to premature twins who spent 10 weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Hull Royal Infirmary.

Helen said: “It was such a special time in the NICU and I wanted to treasure and remember it. The nurses were giving me mementoes like the twins’ oxygen masks but I didn’t have a keepsake box to put them in.

“My experience gave me the germ of an idea for a keepsake business to give people innovative ideas to display or protect special items from people, places or occasions from all through life, that bring them a lot of comfort.”

Bestsellers include comfort bears, personalised keepsake boxes, bears and cushions made from loved one’s garments, handprint frames and meaningful baubles that are especially popular at Christmas.

The challenge

Helen was keen to grow the business, expanding into new markets including the funeral care and pet memorial sectors.

Finance Yorkshire involvement

A £300,000 investment from Finance Yorkshire’s Seedcorn fund is enabling The Lovely Gift Group to purchase engravers, cutters and printers as the company moves into wholesale as well as being an online business. The investment will also enable the company to increase its staff from five to 10 in the coming months.

The investment rationale

Alex McWhirter, Chief Executive at Finance Yorkshire, said: “Helen and her team at The Lovely Gift Group have established a strong range of products for several sectors where demand is growing for keepsakes and memorial items. The innovative ideas and inventive aspects of their growing product range is nothing short of impressive.

“Our Seedcorn fund is ideally placed to support SMEs like The Lovely Gift Group to help them to achieve their growth ambitions and create jobs. Finance Yorkshire looks forward to supporting The Lovely Gift Group in this exciting new chapter for the business.”

Future expectations

In the next phase of expansion following the investment, the company is supplying its own brand keepsake products ‘Angels, Wings & Feathers’ to funeral care providers including Central England Co-operative.

Another wholesale opportunity is being launched with the ‘Oh So Precious’ brand range in the pet and veterinary sectors, offering owners keepsakes to remember their pets.

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