A NORTH YORKSHIRE upholsterer - who made pieces for TV's Victoria – has kept going through lockdown by relaunching her business and is busier than ever.

Louise Parkinson gave up a medical career to launch Scruffy Upholstery three years ago, running workshops from the centre of Tadcaster and doing private commissions.

But when lockdown happened, her future looked dark.

She said: "When Covid hit, I almost gave up. I wasn't entitled to any financial help whatsoever, being one of the many small businesses that fell through every single net.

"I closed my high street workshop, and started looking for nursing jobs. I even put a post on Facebook telling my customers I was closing and might not find a way through.

"But it was a hard to stop thinking about it. And customers kept contacting me. In fact more than ever.

"So in the middle of May I was sitting in my garden trying to think of how I could keep going. Fast forward six weeks and my garage was emptied of junk and converted by a friend into a lovely workshop.

"Now I don't have any rent to pay and I'm busier than ever.

"Looking back, Covid has been a catalyst for my business going on to the next level."

I'm sure you'll agree that Louise deserves to be our Trader of the Week. If you would like to nominate someone for the honour, click here to fill out our online form.

We asked Louise to tell us more about her business.

How long has the business been going?

Three years. I took a voluntary redundancy from my job as a senior research nurse (cancer research) at Leeds University, then did a business course at the Ministry of Upholstery in Manchester. I still feel like it's a brand new business as the first year was just testing the water really and the last 18 months or so have been when things have started growing.

What does it sell?

I take on upholstery commissions, run workshops (when there isn't a pandemic going on) and re-upholster vintage chairs to sell via my website scruffyupholstery.co.uk

York Press:

Work in progress

Tell us how you stand out?

My business has grown to attract people who mostly love vibrant and standout furniture.

I love helping customers to find extraordinary fabrics that will give their chairs the wow factor. I am the one who answers the calls and emails, does the social media and advertising, designs the website, does the accounts (reluctantly), sources the fabrics and the furniture, responds to customers and does all of the upholstery. Oh and I make the tea. I had literally no business experience whatsoever and am winging it on a daily basis!

What is your favourite story about the business?

On holiday I bought 'Reloved' magazine and saw a stool in it that had been upcycled. I had one exactly the same rotting away in my cellar. I did mine up too and it ignited a spark of creativity in me, that I'd suppressed for years. The magazine even did a little piece on my stool! Then I went on to do an evening wood carving class in York which I really loved. That was it. Ditched the comfortable well-paid day job, retrained in upholstery and set up my business. It's been a bumpy ride but it's all going from strength to strength now. I did a few small props for ITV's Victoria series - including Queen Victoria's train carriage, Prince Albert's dining chairs, and a knighting stool! I've never watched a single episode though.