A Doncaster-based entrepreneur has launched South Yorkshire’s very first floatation tank therapy and wellness centre, after securing Start Up Loan funding from alternative lending provider Finance For Enterprise.
Peter Sullivan took the plunge into launching his own business just six weeks ago, and since then he’s wasted no time in building a peaceful, calming environment where visitors can see their worries quite literally float away.
The former graphic designer became an advocate of floatation therapy in a bid to help boost his creativity, but he quickly began noticing other health benefits. Since becoming a regular user of floatation pods himself, Peter successfully lost weight, significantly improving his mobility and even his mental health. The experience inspired the Thorne-based entrepreneur to dream of launching his own floatation therapy business.
Floatation therapy was first developed in America in the 1950s and was pioneered through studies into sensory deprivation. Today, it is used for a wide range of purposes ranging from rehabilitation from sporting injuries to reducing stress and overcoming conditions such as insomnia, anxiety and depression. Advocates of floatation therapy have ranged from professional sports stars, including Wayne Rooney and Carl Lewis, to celebrities, including Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow and Elle Macpherson. However, with just 50 dedicated floatation centres operating across the UK, Peter spotted an opportunity to bring the unique therapy to South Yorkshire. Having spent nearly two years carefully drawing up his plans, he contacted Finance For Enterprise to help him put his ideas into practice.
Working with experienced Investment Manager Gillian Pickard, Peter was able to secure a Start Up Loan. The funding proved to be critical, and by drawing on the £25,000 loan combined with his life savings, Peter was able to secure the keys to a former tile warehouse, as well as purchasing two floatation tanks. Since securing the investment, he’s wasted no time in transforming the former tile centre into Thorne Wellness Centre.
Since opening the doors to his business, Peter has built up a loyal client base, and he is planning to grow his fledgling company further by introducing fully accessible floatation facilities. He has successfully added a massage therapy suite which is used on daily basis and he is hoping to add sauna facilities to the business in the near future.
Peter said: “When I first tried floating therapy a few years ago, I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams that one day I would be running my own floatation therapy business. Although the concept of floating therapy has been used for many years, there were just 50 dedicated centres based in the UK, and with the nearest one to me being nearly an hour’s drive, I felt there was an opportunity to bring the concept to South Yorkshire.
I spent just over a year carefully developing and refining my plans. Although I’d run my own graphic design business in the past, I knew that creating a floatation centre would be a very different business model, and one which would require additional funding. I spoke to Finance For Enterprise and Gillian was really supportive. Together, we discussed the finances of the business and Gillian helped me to work through my projections, and after spending time helping me to refine my business plan, she advised me that I would be able to secure support through the Start Up Loan scheme.
With the finance in place, I was able to put my plans into practice, and within a matter of weeks, the idea I’d been developing for nearly two years became a reality. Since then, I’ve not looked back. The business has built up a regular client base and I’m already looking at ways of adding new services to the business.”
Gillian Pickard, investment manager, Finance For Enterprise, said: “For many aspiring business owners, accessing finance can present a significant challenge. Peter was acutely aware that his business would need to secure suitable premises and invest in specialist equipment. He would also need to think about building a client base for his business, but he recognised that without being able to secure the necessary financial support, his business idea would have sunk without a trace.
Unlike other forms of lending, Start Up Loans are specifically designed to help new entrepreneurs to succeed, and they can help entrepreneurs like Peter, who are exploring the viability of a business idea, as well as new business owners who have been trading for less than two years. Floatation therapy is still a relatively new concept in the UK, but demand for the service is growing, and with a clear plan to build and grow his business, I’m confident that Peter’s business will have a bright future.”
Finance For Enterprise is a delivery partner of Start Up Loans UK, an initiative backed by the British Business Bank designed to help new entrepreneurs secure lending. Since the Start Up Loans scheme was launched in 2012, the programme has helped more than 75,000 entrepreneurs to realise their business ambitions. In Yorkshire and the Humber, Start Up Loans UK has provided nearly £55 million to over 6,300 new businesses.
Finance For Enterprise provides a range of tailored loans, aimed at helping SMEs in Yorkshire and the Humber, the East Midlands and Lincolnshire. The company acts as a fund manager for the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and Start Up Loans UK and provides business loans up to £250,000.