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London-born mother in international entrepreneurs' comp

DETERMINED: Nathalie Cuffy has her eye on the entrepreneur's cash prize

IT TOOK a 14-year journey to transform Nathalie Cuffy’s kitchen table apron sketch into a range of gorgeous prints.

The Paddington-born seamstress – one of eight children raised by Dominican parents – went from making and selling embroidered purses at school to sewing for friends, family and luxury fashion brands such as Amanda Wakely and Ghost.

Like her seamstress mother, Nathalie always had two jobs – teaching dressmaking by day and sewing for her customers by night. She explains, that:

“By 2013 the stress of constantly working, raising my three kids alone and trying to run my sewing business was just too much. I collapsed with a heart attack.

My family rallied round and gave me the love and support I needed. For the first time, I could pull back from work and focus on the things that were important."

"To my joy my younger brother Alec came back into my life. We had drifted apart, but after I came out of hospital he and his wife Lynn took care of me and sorted out my chaotic finances."

What has kept Nathalie going up until now was the dream of seeing her creation - The Lobster Apron - become widely used and accepted. The Lobster Apron has integrated oven gloves which can be attached, detached, tucked away or placed in pockets. It is also height adjustable with poppers so that one size fits all. There is even a mobile phone pocket and tea towel loops!

“I had made aprons for other members of my family but had never made one for Alec, so I showed him one. I clearly remember him looking at me and saying, ‘Nathalie, we have got to do something with this'.”

She says that without Alec the company would not exist:

“He is thoughtful and determined. Alec gathered a team of people and over the course of a year they have turned my dream into a reality.”

At the beginning of that process, Lobster Homeware Ltd. was born.

One year on, Nathalie is so overjoyed:

“This has been an amazing opportunity and learning experience, going to China to see manufacturers, meeting and being mentored by such highly talented professionals. It’s amazing to see how far I have come from a sketch of my apron back in 2001.

And on top of all that to be nominated for Gift of the Year 2017 at the same time! It’s incredibly humbling and rewarding to see my efforts paying off.”

Pop-up Start-up

Lobster Homeware Ltd. is being featured in CNBC’s brand new business show, Pop-Up Start-Up, a television series that follows twelve British Entrepreneurs who are competing for a £20,000 cash prize. The six-part series has been created by business and financial news network CNBC, Alibaba.com (the world’s largest online trading platform) and Hub TV. The brand-new entertainment show, which will be shown in overseas territories and the UK, debuts on CNBC International (Sky Channel 505, Free Sat 201, Virgin Media 613) on Friday 16 December at 10pm GMT. The transmission date for the episode featuring Lobster Homeware is still to be confirmed.

Nathalie is really hoping to be in with the chance to win this international competition, which is due to be shown globally as well as in the UK:

“I am so humbled by all the feedback and positive response to my creation!”

Expert mentors and judges including branding guru Rita Clinton, pop-up pioneer Roger Wade and Pete Wild from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses provide guidance and advice to the contestants on how to manufacture, import, market and sell the products.

The series will follow 12 aspiring manufacturing enterprises who will go head to head to win a £20,000 cash prize. In each episode two candidates are given seed money and challenged to mass produce and sell their products in a pop up shop.

This will be an exciting series not to be missed.

Call Lobster Homeware

+44 (0) 333 939 8181

Email Lobster Homeware

info@lobsterhomeware.com

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