Helen Rolfe now lives the 'dream' after turning her passion into a business
Helen Rolfe, from Aylesbury, worked for many years in facilities management while harbouring a desire to do something different.
Armed with her love of design and an ambition to create something special, she left her career behind and started a business selling Kindle and iPad covers and cases to local customers before seeing demand for her products explode online.
Speaking exclusively to the Bucks Herald, Helen tells her story: “I suppose I’ve always been something of a frustrated interior designer and my career in facilities management didn’t really offer me many creative opportunities.
"That, coupled with the fact that I had a young family, meant my dreams of designing beautiful products stayed exactly that - just a dream.”
After working in facilities management for 12 years, Helen spotted an opportunity in the electronics accessories market and started designing “tasteful, British-designed” tablet cases aimed at females in her spare time.
Lots of positive feedback followed and the local woman launched Lente Designs and began selling her creations online.
Helen started off by selling her designs on Amazon, which she said gave her “a gentle introduction” to running her own business. “It felt like a safe way of selling and expanding and it gave me a way to check that customers liked our products and enjoyed using them,” she said.
It wasn’t long before the orders started flooding in. “While still managing day jobs, my husband and I worked every evening, seven days a week for over a year in the early days of Lente Designs. 12 months later, Lente Designs was able to expand the range but we needed to reconsider the set up. Our house was bursting at the seams with product: we were pushed to find a chair to sit on or table to eat at!”
Lente is one of more than 120 ecommerce businesses in Aylesbury using Fulfilment by Amazon and together they exported goods worth almost £4million in 2015. Amazon also operates several fulfilment centres in nearby Milton Keynes, Dunstable and Hemel Hempstead.
“In the last few years, we’ve noticed that the market has started to change. While consumer products remain popular, we’ve seen a real growth in business accessories and this is going to be more of our focus going forward. We’ve launched a new brand called Armourdog and it offers tough protective affordable cases and security stands for tablets. We’re really excited about the potential of these products and we’re looking forward to working on the latest designs in the coming months.”
For more information on Lente, please visit: http://www.lentedesigns.com/