FUNDING and expert support from Business Gateway Scottish Borders has helped a former corporate lawyer from Peebles turn her interest in natural skincare into a successful small business.

Susan Kilvington went to the Hawick-based advice service after launching Talla Spa Scotland earlier this year.

The 38-year-old had spent her legal career buying and selling oil fields in the North Sea, but had always maintained an interest in creating her own beauty products for friends and family.

“Friends who received my face masks, soaps and bath bombs as gifts wanted to buy more for themselves and their friends,” explained Susan.

“It was that demand which encouraged me to turn my sideline into a full time business.

“I completed a number of Business Gateway’s free start-up and digital workshops and my adviser helped me with my business plan and a successful application for a grant from the Scottish Borders Business Fund [SBBF].

“That funding, together with a access to a mentor from Business Gateway’s Expert Help programme [funded by the European Regional Development Fund] allowed me to work with a fantastic graphic and product packaging designer, buy new soap moulds, access marketing support and invest in professional product photography.”

The upshot is that Susan has just launched an e-commerce site – https:/ - to increase direct consumer sales for her enhanced product range and provide a promotional route to potential wholesale and retail stockists.

“It’s so exciting to be gearing up for my first year of Christmas trading,” she told us.

Having stumbled upon spectacular Talla Reservoir near Tweedsmuir while out walking one winter’s morning, Susan felt the beauty and tranquility of the reservoir was akin to a great spa experience.

“The reservoir was simply stunning that day,” she recalled. “The colours were lovely and it was so peaceful.

“I’d been looking for a brand name to reflect my love of the Scottish Borders and its wonderful ingredients and Talla fitted the bill perfectly – a perfect backdrop for my natural products, which use seasonal fragrances with citrus and festive notes.

“I’m actually looking to develop new products, including liquid hand soaps and facial oils which use ingredients found here in the Borders, like thistle oil, sea buckthorn oil and heather extracts.”

Wilma Norris from Business Gateway commented: “Susan understood how big business worked but needed our support launching her own enterprise.

“She is now on the right track to develop Talla Spa Scotland into a leading lifestyle brand.

“Our advice has increased her understanding of how to run her business and help her access funds to create a professional brand.”

To find out how Business Gateway can help your business call 01835 818315 or visit