A regional entrepreneur who drew a line under her design career to open up her own shop has created 19 jobs thanks to her new venture.
Last year Newcastle-based Deborah Hodgson opened up her first shop, Cuba Lily, in Darlington and has since gone on to open two further shops.
The former interior designer is enjoying her business success after trading in her pencils for Pandora jewellery.
She said: “The last nine months have gone so fast and we’ve had huge success, in the current climate we never expected to do so well so quickly.
“At present we’re going to concentrate on continuing to build our existing shops but we’ll certainly be looking at future expansion possibilities.”
The three Cuba Lily branches sell both Pandora jewellery and the Toy watch brand and the Darlington venue is the first store in its area to sell the latter.
In her previous job, Ms Hodgson was involved in design of top hotels, bars and restaurants, an experience, which put her in a strong position to start her new business.
She added: “Interior design is a heavily fashion led business, so when I got the chance to open Cuba Lily I understood the principles of keeping up with the fast paced fashion world. Strange as it may sound one career led me into another.”