Creative Industry Finance

Sally Beerworth opened The J.O.E Foundation in May 2011. She wanted to help people going thru a breakup. Either with money or just a smile.

The Joy of Ex Foundation is about making people laugh. I want to make sure that no one going through a break up ends up snorkelling in vodka or cake mix.

I have three too many university degrees and worked in the business side of advertising for around 11 years, including at Saatchi & Saatchi London. I had decided that I wanted to write funny stuff but also wanted to do some good, however I wasn’t really sure what that would look like as a career, so in 2011 I set up a Facebook page where I posted said funny stuff. People started asking me if I sold merchandise, so I designed and printed some post cards and one tote bag. Things moved quickly from there and we had sales of over £130,000 within the first year. Now we sell at more than 60 retailers across the world and employ five part-time staff.

The Creative Industry Finance programme literally saved my business and me.

When I applied, I was in the unique position that more people wanted Joy of Ex merchandise than I could afford to print, so my biggest challenge has always been sourcing the cash flow to meet that demand. I started out with £1100 to my name, but I have been over trading since day one.

I’ve been able to expand my distribution hubs in the UK, US and Australia with the help of loan finance and business support, and in November 2012, we took part in the GREAT Week of Creativity in Hong Kong, which is all about showcasing British design and craftsmanship.

I get emails every week from people thanking me for making me smile. What could be better?

“The programme literally saved my business and me.”

– The Joy of Ex

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