A Bawtry-based husband and wife team who sought to inspire property owners by making the most of their homes have expanded their company Meliora’s operations after calling on help from a unique business support programme which aims to help entrepreneurs in the Sheffield City Region to unlock their business potential.
Leon Roden first began thinking about working for himself back in 2017. Having spent more than a decade working with major kitchen and bathroom suppliers, Leon became increasingly frustrated with the generic, often off-the-shelf designs, frequently preventing customers from maximising the space available to them.
When an opportunity arose to team up with two ex-work colleagues, Leon jumped at the chance. However, when Leon and business partners couldn’t agree about the future direction of the business, Leon and his wife Kelly Roden decided to acquire the fledgling business in its entirety, placing an emphasis upon creating unique, one-off rooms.
Having never run a business before, former legal secretary Kelly decided to attend a meeting at Doncaster Chamber and it was there that she learned about the practical help and support available through the Sheffield City Region Launchpad programme.
Launchpad is a unique business programme which provides free help and support to new entrepreneurs during their all-important first three years of trading. Conscious that they needed to build and develop a customer base, they turned to Launchpad to help them generate new customers by harnessing online and social media opportunities.
Kelly spent time learning about how to maximise Meliora’s online presence, taking part in a range of courses which explored the business potential of social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram, using the latter to showcase the unique, creative solutions to maximise space in the home.
Such has been the success enjoyed by Meliora since engaging with the Launchpad programme that the business has recently relocated to larger premises, choosing a historic seventeenth century Grade II listed former stable block in the heart of Bawtry as a base for their business and the husband and wife duo are now aiming to develop their business further.
Kelly Roden, Director of Meliora, said: “The construction sector is quite a male dominated industry and having seen Leon’s passion and the many hours of hard work and determination to get his business off the ground, I could see that he was becoming increasingly disillusioned and frustrated. We had a number of heart-to-hearts and decided to use our life savings to buy out his business partners and take Meliora in a different direction.
“I don’t have a business background and I was very conscious that there was a lot to learn. A meeting with Doncaster Chamber gave me confidence that I was doing the right thing, and after signing up to the Launchpad programme I was introduced to Caroline Bond, who helped us to identify our strengths and weaknesses and gain a better understanding of the steps we needed to take to build and grow our business.
“Leon’s previous customers always seemed to be impressed with the quality and standard of his work, but we weren’t sure how to spread the word. Caroline suggested that we turned to social media and after spending time learning about the different channels open to our business, the power influencers can have on building a brand, and harnessing the possibilities different channels offered we’ve never looked back.
“Joining the business was one of the biggest gambles of my life, but with the help we’ve received from Launchpad we’ve gained a much greater understanding of the many different roles business owners undertake, as well as helping us to develop a future growth plan for the company. It’s great knowing that even if we’ve got a relatively simple query, Caroline and her team are only a phone call away.”
Caroline Bond, Launchpad Business Advisor said: “Entrepreneurs can often find their business rapidly changes and evolves. Kelly and Leon came to Launchpad with a clear idea of what they wanted to achieve in their business, and having invested much of their savings in the business, they came to Launchpad unsure how to unlock the potential in their stunning designs.
“They were acutely aware that to build a business they needed to attract customers, which meant marketing their services more effectively. Through our one-on-one sessions and taking part in some of the Launchpad workshops, we were able to help them to overcome the barriers they were facing and securing new premises is a real statement of intent.”
Launchpad is the Sheffield City Region’s key business support programme for new business. Financially supported by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by local authorities within the Sheffield City Region and the Prince’s Trust, the programme provides free help and support to budding entrepreneurs in the City Region. Entrepreneurs who access Launchpad are those who are thinking of starting their own business or have started trading within the last three years.