Jillian opening her shop with local MSP Fulton McGrego

Lifestyle expert launches stylish new business in Coatbridge

Realising that something had to give in her fast-paced career led Jillian Letham to give up her job, move home to Coatbridge, and launch her own business.

Now, the 30-year-old is looking to use her years of experience working for leading names in the home décor market to establish Heart Style.

Using advice from Business Gateway Lanarkshire, Jillian opened her first home and giftware shop last month (December) 128 Bank Street, Coatbridge, completing the first step in her journey to establish a national brand.

Jillian said: “There’s a big gap in the market for a leading home and giftware shop in Lanarkshire, and being based in Blairgrove Shopping Precinct is the perfect location for my first shop which offers affordable, trendsetting luxury items for the home. My aim is to quickly build a team, as I have so much I want to achieve in the next six months particularly online. Market research highlights that 70% of people research interiors online before buying so launching the website is crucial to help build brand loyalty.

“I’ve a clear vision for the business thanks to the support I’ve had from Business Gateway. Right from the start I have soaked up my adviser Sharon Harvey’s expertise and the knowledge provided by the free workshop programme. Being accepted onto its SMART Accelerator Programme has also broadened my mind and given me a wealth of knowledge that will help me achieve my goal of establishing a leading lifestyle brand. I can’t rate Business Gateway highly enough.”

Sharon Harvey, Business Gateway, said: “With our help Jillian has been able to gain the knowledge she needed to turn her idea into a business that has the potential to grow quickly, and that is why she was awarded a place on our 14-week SMART Accelerator Programme. Designed to help speed up business growth, the programme is open to Lanarkshire-based companies with innovative products which are ready to be launched. The next stage will see Jillian access our fully funded consultancy support to create a marketing and online digital strategy to further drive growth.”

Having graduated in 2007 from Glasgow School of Art with a BA Hons in Textiles, Jillian accepted a position with a leading homeware specialist in Glasgow working with the likes of Next and Laura Ashley helping to establish their home accessory collections.

Jillian then joined one of the largest import/export home decor companies in the UK in 2012, which saw her work on multi-million pound accounts for the likes of Primark and New Look. In 2015, she fell pregnant with her son, Henri, and returned to work after six months of maternity leave but by Christmas 2016 she’d knew something had to change.

She said: “I’d wanted to become a director at the company, but after having Henri my perspective changed. When I went back to work it was all systems go. However, I wasn’t home till late and only had a short window with him before he went to bed. I was then back on the laptop. I then gained more accounts, went full-time but I knew something had to give, as I wasn’t going to get the time back with my son. My father passed away in May 2017 and we had to travel to America to collect his ashes with my mum and sister. The journey gave me the opportunity and time to reflect, and my mum encouraged me to start my own business and launch Heart Style - and I’ve not looked back.”