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Two independent online businesses have gone from strength to strength after securing £25,000 start-up funding.

South Shields-based furniture brands Zuggi, which specialises in children’s furniture, and Mews, which specialises in solid wood furniture, were both launched by John Orr after receiving a loan from Virgin StartUp and help from TEDCO Business Support.

John revealed that since the investment, both businesses currently sell via major online shopping platforms including Amazon and eBay as well as a select number of high street retailers, with the response so positive that sales have doubled its forecasts for the first six months of trading.

Business advice via the start and grow programme, which is delivered by TEDCO Business Support in the North East and supported by the Regional Growth Fund (RGF), has been crucial to the firms growth.

John said: “We are able to sell our furniture at only a fraction of the cost of our nearest competitors and the response from customers to date has been overwhelmingly positive. The future is definitely looking bright as we now enter the second stage of our business to seek to move customers from third party sites to purchase directly from our own Zuggi.co.uk & Mews.co.uk online stores.”

Bill Hartshorne, TEDCO business advisor added: “Where he needed help was in getting his business investment ready and that involved looking at the wider marketplace and his business plans in greater detail to ensure that both Zuggi & Mews had the right strategy in place to grow and develop.

“It has been a pleasure working with John and we look forward to continuing our working relationship beyond the business launch phase as the brands continue to expand.”