BUSINESS AN interest-free loan from the Isle of Wight Lottery added up to a dream come true for fashion graduate Gemma Aspland.
The £5,000 loan meant she could open her vintage clothing and accessories shop, With Love Betty, and build a new future for herself.
Gemma, 26, could only borrow half the amount she needed through a graduate loan from her bank but just when everything seemed to be going wrong, she met the business team at the Isle of Wight Lottery.
Gemma, a fashion graduate from Southampton Solent University, said: "They were amazingly helpful, supportive and encouraging.
"The process was quick, and I got such good feedback on my business plan that it gave me real confidence."
Gemma opened her doors at her Watchbell Lane shop for the first time on September 1.
She said: "I have always wanted my own shop but I did a lot of research before deciding it would work.
"I talked to lots of people and did surveys, and realised I could fill a niche for vintage fashion.
"People love it because it makes you feel unique, and I have pitched my prices lower than most chain stores."
The shop offers unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. As a fashion student, Gemma is able to offer alterations to garments, as well as fashion advice.
She said: "Vintage clothing is beautifully constructed, using quality fabrics and stunning details.
"The pieces were built to last and that is what will appeal to my customers.
"My vision is to sell unique pieces, which reflect today’s fashion trends, in an environment which is visually exciting, enabling the fashion-conscious women of the Isle of Wight to express themselves through individuality."