STARTING your own business can prove hectic during any time, but some city entrepreneurs have had to face the added burden of getting off the ground during a global pandemic.

Despite the city coming to an abrupt standstill in March when the government lockdown led to shutters falling on shops, pubs and restaurants, throwing hundreds if not thousands of businesses into unknown territory, some Worcester residents saw an opportunity.

Some might say that starting a business when the economy has taken a huge hit – and with so much uncertainty around the High Street and jobs, and with much of the city only starting to venture outside again after months of being stuck indoors – would be a crazy idea but for some, it seems, the coronavirus crisis has only spurred them on.

For one St John’s family, the strain of setting up just one business during the pandemic did not seem to be enough.

Leaving her healthcare assistant role for the NHS after more than a decade, mum-of-three Daniele Blann started making and selling vegan and palm oil free soaps, bath bombs and shampoos inspired by trying to find a remedy for her son who suffered with eczema, as well as her other son’s school project on the effects of palm oil on the environment.

Mrs Blann first started making soaps using natural ingredients to help combat her son’s eczema after finding other products were filled with nasty chemicals, and she then began distributing the products to other mums looking for similar environmentally friendly treatments.

Dad Craig also started window cleaning business Clean Out during the lockdown after giving up his job as a tool setter to be closer to his family.

With three children to look after and keep occupied during lockdown, Mrs Blann set about making her soaps and shampoos into a business.

“I wanted to do something, especially something that my children can help me with but needed to do from comfort of our home,” she said.

“My eldest son was working on a project about the rainforest and the effects of palm oil which made me think about products and their ingredients. With this in mind I investigated all cleaning products I use on my children and was horrified to see all the harsh chemicals in them.”

The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown has also pushed Mrs Blann to help those in need of a little encouragement when it comes to regularly washing hands by creating soaps filled with toys as an incentive to children.

She added: “My three-year-old son has suspected autism and life was just becoming really hard during lockdown. I just needed to do something, particularly something the kids could help me with as well.

“I just couldn’t sit around doing nothing. My son has really bad eczema and I wanted to make something for his skin that would help. Some companies have such terrible ingredients in their soaps and creams and I think it just makes it worse.”

Meanwhile, Nicola Young left her decade-long job as a dental nurse to train and qualify for a job in the aesthetics industry giving wrinkle-free injections, dermal fillers and microblading eyebrows only for the lockdown to bring an immediate halt to any chance of putting the training into practice.

“I was a dental nurse for ten years and I have always wanted my own business and to work for myself,” she said.

“It has been very difficult because I trained and then qualified just before the lockdown started so I haven’t been able to see anybody,” she said.

“I just can’t do anything. I’ve just had to use the time to work on getting myself out there and find a salon in Worcester that I could work in.

“I’ve been on maternity leave and I thought that would be the perfect time to do everything I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to work myself so when I ended my contract with the dental practice in Worcester, I thought this was the push I need to now go and do what I’ve always wanted to do and go into the aesthetics industry."

With more restrictions getting lifted next month, Miss Young will finally get the chance to show off her skills for EveryGirl Aesthetics at the All About Me salon in Sidbury.

“It has been hard work whilst having a baby and going to the training but now my maternity leave has come to an end and the lockdown is about to be lifted so it’s perfect timing really to start working now,” she said.

The coronavirus has actually proved to be a blessing in disguise, according to one business selling garden furniture which was set up by a Worcester entrepreneur. He has seen sales increase throughout the lockdown after a difficult and stressful start.

Paulo Anacleto, who lives in Northwick, set up JJ Rattan alongside Bridgnorth-based business partner Jack Thompson, just before the lockdown hit the city but, as Mr Thompson explains, the unprecedented circumstances forced the company to change tact and has allowed the business to go from strength-to-strength.

“We’re in a position of strength because of what we went through,” Mr Thompson said.

“I wouldn’t change a thing. It has been the best thing that has ever happened to us. I don’t like the idea of people suffering and losing their businesses. I have been there. I don’t like it one bit but the lockdown has forced us, compelled us, energised us to become stronger."

Mr Anacleto has literally been going the extra mile for customers, clocking more than 13,000 miles in a month to ensure everybody was satisfied.

“The coronavirus is going to be around with us for some time to come and we now have to learn how to adapt to it if we want to be successful in business,” Mr Johnson said.

The Worcester News’ Love Local Business campaign encourages our readers to spend their money locally to help traders recover from lockdown.

Love Local Business campaign sponsors include Crowngate Shopping Centre, Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, the University of Worcester, Visit Worcester, Tom Cook Carpets, Worcester City Council, Worcester BID and Worcestershire Business Central.

To get involved, contact Dale Godliman on 01905 742372 or