Renfrewshire Council

InCube's Bella Brilla says first year 'glitzy and gritty'

It has been a year since Renfrewshire's business incubator, InCube, opened as a base for new, local, creative enterprises and it has been an eventful year for Kirsteen Connell, owner of Bella Brilla, who designs, manufactures and retails a stunning range of bridal accessories.

At the start of her InCube year, Kirsteen, herself a Paisley resident, said that, with InCube's support, she hoped to establish a strong retail presence for her brand in Paisley.

Twelve months on, Kirsteen's ambitions are undimmed and, although it has taken longer than she had hoped to open her shop, other successes have strengthened her business and opened the door to opportunities.

InCube's community of business operates from its business base at 27 High Street Paisley. The listed building was restored to create an energising environment for new businesses and a lively presence on the High Street. InCube entrepreneurs also received advice and support to help with marketing, online retailing, manufacturing, and business growth decisions.

In November, the InCube shop opened at 9b Gilmour Street. There, Kirsteen seized the chance to display her sparkling range of accessories and meet face to face with potential customers. She says, "The experience was invaluable. It reinforced my belief that Bella Brilla Shop will be a key part of my business's future. I also learned more about retail and have been able to plan realistically to develop, in time, a store and workshop in Paisley.

Kirsteen says that the highlight of her year was, "Supplying the hair accessories for Strictly Come Dancing".  In conjunction with a fabulous new website and products, this high profile exposure would have taken my business to new levels. Unfortunately, life isn't always predictable. Personal circumstances took my time away from the business and I missed that opportunity.

"However, InCube helped me to keep my business on track during a difficult time. Its support was a great help and I have learned valuable lessons about business resilience and cooperation. I've been lucky to get some very glitzy coverage for my products and I've also had to show some real grit and entrepreneurial spirit. "

As an InCube graduate, Kirsteen has great growth plans for Bella Brilla. "I'm negotiating with a national retailer for an in-line concession and I need to get the stock and technology that the business needs to expand. I am looking to take on a PR company to get the branding spot-on too. So watch this space, Bella Brilla will definitely be part of Paisley's creative and retail revival."