Debbie Gallacher.



What is your business called?

Love Your Planet Limited.

Where is it based?

Broughty Ferry, Dundee.

What does it produce, what services does it offer?

Customers can shop in store or online for a large selection of foods including grains, pulses, cereals, nuts, herbs & spices, tea and coffee, snacks, and sweeties. They buy what they need from large dispensers instead of buying pre-packaged food. They can also come in and make their own peanut butter.

We provide in store refills of household cleaning products and a wide selection of personal hygiene products. We also stock household products to help customers ditch plastic for good. We aim to offer a way for customers to shop plastic free. If customers don't bring containers, we provide paper bags for them to use.

A big success for us has been our baking bags – a paper bag that includes all the dry ingredients weighed out along with a recipe.

To whom does it sell?

The local community, tourists and with support from Business Gateway, customers can now shop online. We recently launched a new website that enables customers to shop using click and collect or a delivery service for the business, which means we can now ship globally. All deliveries are plastic-free.

What is its turnover?

We have been trading since 28 September 2019 and turnover to 31 May 2020 was £80,000.

The first thing I did when lockdown was announced was call my Business Gateway adviser, Stuart. Since then, he has offered continued support and kept us up to date on crucial guidance. It is because of this advice that we continued trading throughout coronavirus. It was sink or swim, so we quickly adapted our business to meet the demand and help our customers.

When lockdown was announced, we had to think about how we could make it easier for people isolating to buy items. We quickly introduced an online delivery service which has proved very popular.

How many employees?

Three. I work full-time and employ a Saturday girl. As the shop became busier due to coronavirus, my daughter Caragh was also employed on a part-time contract to operate and expand the delivery side of Love Your Planet.

Why did you take the plunge?

In my work as a chartered accountant I met with lots of business owners who were all passionate about what they did, and this showed in how well their businesses performed. I liked the idea of opening a shop that would be unique to the local area and I, like a lot of people now, want to help the environment by reducing the waste through shopping. I decided to open the shop to allow people to make small changes to the way they shop to reduce waste.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

Working as a manager with MHA Henderson Loggie Chartered accountants. My portfolio included SMEs from lots of different sectors and third sector charities.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

I wanted to make a big impact when I opened the shop, so I needed the funding to make the shop as well stocked as it is and look as impressive as it does.

I had some personal savings to get the ball rolling and Business Gateway helped me to obtain funding through a bank loan and Transmit Start-ups.

What was your biggest break?

Securing the lease on the premises I am in just now – the shop is on the main shopping street of Broughty Ferry, with a lot of footfall and parking is easy. The shop has a massive window that lets in lots of light which is perfect for the ambiance of the shop. Broughty Ferry has a fantastic community of locals and fellow traders who have all made me feel welcome and have supported me from the beginning.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

I really enjoy the fact that everything I do for the shop impacts on my customer’s experience. It is very important to me that every customer’s needs are met to their satisfaction and that they enjoy their experience shopping at Love Your Planet.

I love speaking to my customers and get lots of great chat from them and speaking to then has helped grow the business every step of the way.

Our baking bags came about from a conversation with a customer. It was October and I hadn’t long opened, and a lady came in to weigh out all her ingredients to make her Christmas cake. She couldn’t believe how much cheaper it was, everything was already weighed out saving her a job, there would be no food waste and there was no plastic.

What do you least enjoy?

I honestly can’t think of a single thing I do not enjoy about owning my own business.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

To grow my customer base, promote the online shop and get better at what I do! I am learning every day. It’s a massive change going from being a chartered accountant to owning your own business.

What are your five top priorities?

Provide a shop where customers can reduce their packaging and food waste at affordable prices, inclusion for all customers, customer satisfaction, good quality products at affordable prices, continue to adapt my business to meet the continually changing market.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

That when people offer you their help take it and do not try to do everything yourself. I have been very lucky with all the support I have received from family, friends, work colleagues and the Business Gateway network. Everyone has a different skill set and can look at a problem from a different angle which is a great source of knowledge.

How do you relax?

I don’t! I was working full time for a year as well as planning and preparing the shop. I stopped working full time two weeks before I opened the shop. Since the opening things have been very hectic so I am busy all the time. However, when I left my job to open the shop, I gave up my car and now walk to work most mornings. This takes me around 50 minutes along the banks of the River Tay. The views are stunning, and the walk is very peaceful. This is relaxing and sets me up for a great day in my shop.