New Sunderland venture is a vintage idea

NEW BUSINESS: From left, Bic adviser Janice March with Alex Lillie and Elizabeth Lillie, from store Vintage Lillie.
NEW BUSINESS: From left, Bic adviser Janice March with Alex Lillie and Elizabeth Lillie, from store Vintage Lillie.
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ELIZABETH Lillie is looking backward to go forward.

She has opened her own vintage furniture shop – Vintage Lillie, in Fulwell – with a little help from the North East Business and Innovation Centre (Bic) and adviser Janice Marsh.

I still can’t believe we have our very own shop and having all elements under one roof is brilliant.

Elizabeth Lillie

Elizabeth took redundancy from the city council, where she had worked since she was 17, after spotting a niche in the market for vintage furniture with a modern twist.

“I visited the Bic because I’d never run a business before and was unsure what would be involved, but Janice helped me with every step of the way.

“She was so supportive and guided me through the business plan and other aspects required to being your own boss.

“I still can’t believe we have our very own shop and having all elements under one roof is brilliant – the main showroom, a room for painting and storage as well as a room for painting workshops, which will be coming soon.

“The main focus of the business is selling reworked furniture and other interesting pieces.

“There are worked pieces that undergo a total overhaul and everyone in the family has an input.

“My daughter Alex works quite closely on suggesting colours that I wouldn’t have thought would work, but sure enough, those pieces sell too, it really is a family collaboration.

“Most of my stock is sourced through auctions and I am always on the lookout for interesting pieces.

“I am also working with local businesses and stocking some of their crafts in the shop too. I’ll give anyone a chance. It feels amazing to be my own boss.

“It takes hard work, communication and above all else, dedication.

“I think about the shop day and night, but because it’s a passion it doesn’t feel like work.

“Fulwell is bustling with great footfall and although the business only opened last week, we have been inundated with customers and support from local residents, which is very encouraging.”

Bic adviser Janice said: “It is fantastic to see Elizabeth settled into her premises.

“The shop looks absolutely amazing and I am so pleased all of her hard work has paid off.

To contact the Bic’s business support team, call 516 6149.