Mumpreneur turns oily rags to riches in John Lewis pitchup
A former City gilt trader has launched her own range of outdoor waterproof cushions in John Lewis after pitching her home-based business to John Lewis buyers as part of StartUp Britain¬ís PitchUp initiative.
Julia Hunter, who gave up her high flying career to focus on being a mum, is also working on an exclusive collection for the retailer which will go on sale in 2014.
The launch coincides with the latest round of StartUp Britain’s PitchUp competition, which will see another 12 British start-ups pitching their products to John Lewis buyers on 9 April. The closing date for receipt of applications is 10 March.
Hunter said: "I never thought when I gave up my job to be a mum that running a successful business would be possible so quickly. I would never have got this far if it had not been for entering the StartUp Britain competition with John Lewis. It’s a really exciting moment for my company."
Nicola Gidlow, buyer for outdoor living at John Lewis, added: "Oily Rag is a fantastic product that was an immediate hit with us. We are delighted to be working with Julia to launch her fabulous outdoor cushions into our shops this year. We look forward to collaborating further with Julia on a bespoke range of John Lewis outdoor cushions for 2014.
"The PitchUp initiative with StartUp Britain has been a fantastic way for us to identify and support talented and aspiring start-ups. We have been overwhelmed by the popularity of PitchUp and look forward to seeing the next round of pitches very soon."
Hunter, along with 12 other finalists, pitched her products to John Lewis buyers at their headquarters in an event to support aspiring start-ups in October 2012.
Emma Jones, co-founder of StartUp Britain said: "Julia has done what every retail start-up would love to do – and it all happened because she entered our PitchUp competition. We’re looking forward to seeing more success stories like Julia’s as we take the competition forward into 2013."
To enter, budding retail start-ups need to apply with details about their products at www.popupbritain.com/pitchup
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