THE owner of an independent shop which opened in the centre of Brighton in 2015 is hoping to make the most of Halloween.

Peach Blossom is a party decorations shop in Church Street owned by Alyssa Williamson.

Alyssa spotted a gap in the market for stylish party decorations after discovering that shops in the area were all selling similar products.

Using her experience in the events industry as a party planner, Alyssa wanted to bring something different to market with her own start-up business.

Initially an online business, budding entrepreneur Alyssa secured a £25,000 government-backed loan from The Start Up Loans Company to open her first high street store.

She used the cash to cover the costs of fitting-out her premises and buying a healthy supply of stock in the early stages.

Start Up Loans, which merged with the British Business Bank earlier this year, provides low-interest finance and support to new and early stage businesses.

Peach Blossom has three employees and over the next year Alyssa is hoping to expand the business’s services and offer customers a styling service and balloon delivery.

She said: “It might be Halloween but that doesn’t mean your party decorations have to look like a nightmare.

“That’s why we’ve got a range of scary but stylish décor for those wishing to host their own Halloween celebrations.

“I’ve always loved party planning and working in the events industry I know how important a good first impression is.

“At Peach Blossom, I’m trying to bring something new to customers – creative and modern decorations that offer something different.

“Our Halloween range is already proving popular with customers and we’re on track to double our sales from this time last year.

“Having a shop in the centre of town has made all the difference.

“We can now reach more customers and it gives us a great base from which to build the business.

“Starting up on my own was a bit nerve wracking at first but the support from The Start Up Loans Company has helped me to inspire more people to pay attention to their party décor.”

Joanna Hill, interim CEO of The Start Up Loans Company, said: “Opening your own shop can be difficult but Alyssa hasn’t been spooked by the challenge.

“She’s putting the skills she’s learnt from her previous career to good use and has created a fantastic range for Halloween.

“It’s great that she’s been able to spot a gap in the market – many of us have a great idea but don’t have the confidence to actually give it a chance!

“When you’re trying to create a business from scratch, it can be tricky to secure financial support. Many people are put off by this but there is help on offer.

“We provide mentoring and business advice, as well as low-interest funding to make sure that anyone thinking about self-employment has the right support, and the best chance of success.”