Healthy returns for weight loss camp

Victoria Wills founded luxury weight loss retreat NuBeginnings in 2008 and has been enjoying healthy returns ever since.

Where did you get the idea?

It was very personal, as I have struggled with my weight since I was eight. I’ve been to a lot of boot camps, loved the results, came back and put on weight again. Then I discovered hypnotherapy and realised that works better as a long-term solution. So I decided to open a retreat based on that practice.

How did you get funding?

I found angel investors who bought the building, which I rent from them. I also managed to get a £10,000 government grant for marketing, a bank loan and I put some of my personal savings into it. In total it cost around £150,000 to launch the business.

How have you attracted clients?

We do a lot of PR to attract the attention of newspapers and magazines. On the opening week we filled the place with journalists so they would write about us. We also spend time on Google to improve our ranking as well as attracting people through word of mouth.

Was it difficult being a start-up during the recession?

The recession was a very scary time to start a business. But I also think it has also been a time for re-evaluation, with a lot of people deciding to make lifestyle changes. We get people from all over the world and let them pay by instalments if they need to, which can be easier to do financially.

Where next?

We are opening a retreat in a beautiful chateau in France. We’ve just booked our first guest in so it’s very exciting. We have a 96 per cent occupation rate at our current retreat in Devon, so we’ll be working on building up a similar rate there.

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Small Business Success

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