AN ENTREPRENEUR has seen her business take off to a flying start after being named best rural start-up of the year.

Bellingham businesswoman, farmer and environmental champion, Sarah Breckons launched her sustainable business Spent Shells in 2018. The craft brand recycles fur, feather and used gun cartridges to make a unique range of country hats, fascinators, seasonal wreaths and baubles, keyrings, and earrings, in a bid to use waste from local rural pursuits in an innovative way.

Although passionate about art and design, Sarah had no formal corporate experience and urgently needed professional advice to get her venture off the ground, and so she turned to Business Northumberland which offered her free advice, workshops, networking events.

This year, Sarah’s endeavours paid off when she was awarded the title of 2019 Best Rural Start-Up in the Rural Business Awards.

“Starting a small business on your own can be daunting, but Business Northumberland gave me the skills and support to really go for it.

“I now have a secure network of people and business contacts so if I ever feel I am overwhelmed, I have people to call and connect with.

“I would never have even dreamed of entering the Rural Business Awards if it wasn’t for the confidence, knowledge and contacts that Business Northumberland gave me.

“We are all in this together trying to make our businesses successful.”