BU graduate Ali Bennett took home the Young Entrepreneur award at last month’s South Devon Business Excellence Awards.
The Business Studies graduate received the award in recognition of her successful and fast-growing business Sparkly Nails, an online store selling specialist nail art supplies. Stocking everything from gems and foils to stickers and providing a wealth of complementary information, tips and expert guidance, Ali’s determination and innovation has seen her become one of the top suppliers in the UK, despite the less than favourable economic conditions.
Ali founded the business just after completing her degree at Bournemouth University in 2004. Finding that she couldn’t get all the supplies she needed to complete a beauty course, she turned a gap in the market into a new business opportunity by catering to the increasingly fashionable trend of nail art. Starting with the remaining £800 of her student loan, Ali purchased a selection of nail art gems and a web design package before teaching herself – with no previous experience – to build an e-commerce website.
Sparkly Nails is now a regular feature in many of the national fashion magazines such as Vogue, Company, Now, Shout, Mizz, Chat and Grazia, as well as having been featured in The Times and on ITV’s This Morning. The company also landed a high profile opportunity to exhibit at Channel Four’s T4 Stars of 2011 event – with the only other two brands invited being major stockists in Boots and Superdrug.
Over 10,500 clients are now on the Sparkly Nails database, with Ali having built the company up from 25 orders a month in 2004 to over 300 orders a month today – with a 13% increase in sales in the last year alone.
Nice one Ali, we say!
Check out Ali’s business at www.sparkly-nails.co.uk