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Elmbridge Lifestyle Magazine - Local Entrepreneurs

Liz Viney, 54, lives in Surbiton. A keen gardener, she set up The Little Hanging Garden Company after she was made redundant. ❝I was at a total loss when I was made redundant from my job in adult social care at the end of last year. I struggled to find work and had to sign up at the job centre. In the first three months I spiralled into a black hole. It was while I was at my lowest ebb that I happened to be looking for a birthday present and found what was described as a ‘living wreath’. I loved the idea of having something different from a standard hanging basket that you could plant up and hang either in or outdoors. But all the stockists were in America and I could not find a similar supplier in England. I couldn’t even find a supplier of the frames to make one up myself. So I convinced my husband Chris, who is a painter and decorator, to make me a frame and after many prototypes we got it right. “The first frame I made contained herbs and got a positive response from everyone I showed. Feeling inspired, I mentioned my idea to my job centre work coach who immediately made me an appointment to see a government business start-up advisor, who said, ‘Excellent idea, go for it.’ I had to keep in close contact with a business mentor and I signed up to do a ‘Develop your Enterprise’ course at Richmond College which teaches you about starting a small business. I had to do a business plan and was awarded a small start-up loan of £2,500 and The Little Hanging Garden Company was born. Since then I have not looked back. “I make living wreaths which are priced from £35, kokedama from £10 and terrariums from £5.50 and I sell at local markets (I am doing Christmas fairs in Ham Dec 2, Richmond Dec 3 and Wimbledon Dec 10). People can also email or contact me via Facebook

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