A mum who turned her passion for handicrafts into an online business is preparing for expansion.
Gemma Markland always dreamed of being her own boss, but wanted to find the “right niche at the right time”.
Inspiration finally came when she was looking to buy a gift for her cousin’s 30th birthday in June 2016.
The 29-year-old decided to make a frame - and that was the first step in what would become Bespoke Gems, her business offering a host of luxurious items that can be personalised.
Gemma, who lives in Standish, said: “I struggled to know what to get her so I thought I’d make her a frame as a keepsake. I’ve always been a crafty person and it kind of spiralled from there.
“Friends and family started to order things so I made a Facebook page.
“It mainly started with those photo frames and I remember being really busy with orders in the run-up to Christmas. But when January came it was very quiet and I wondered what I could do that would sell all year round. So I started to think about weddings, particularly as I was about to plan my own.”
Gemma started selling personalised bridal gifts, such as robes, slippers, gift boxes and photo frames.
She then saw the potential for a whole range of personalised gifts and clothing, which saw her business boom during 2017. It was so successful that she reduced her working hours as a school office manager in Ormskirk, before leaving altogether to focus on her business.
Gemma has not looked back, with her firm generating around £24,000 a month in sales and former Hollyoaks actor Jorgie Porter posting a photograph on social media of her wearing pyjamas from Bespoke Gems.
The business is now on course to make a minimum £250,000 turnover in 2019, up from an £86,000 turnover in her first year.
Many different items are on offer, from passport holders to make-up bags through to robes, slippers and pyjamas.
Gemma sells gifts on her own website, as well as through handicraft giant Etsy, from the home she shares with husband Kyle, 27, and daughter Grace, 10.
They recently moved house from Appley Bridge to Standish to have more space, but Gemma is already looking for a business unit in Standish so she can expand the business.
She also hopes to take on staff, having run the business herself, including, until recently, doing all the accounting using her finance background.
She said: “My husband does help out loads, he’s always doing bits and bobs, and a friend comes and helps me when she can, but otherwise it’s me pretty much 24 hours a day.
“My phone is always going, night and day, because I’m dealing with orders from all over the world now.”
Orders are already pouring in for Christmas, with personalised items proving more popular than ever this year.