Exclusive

From benefits to boss: How disabled mum turned her business set up with tax credits into £100k success

19 November 2023, 13:10

Emily started BamBonn Haircare just before the pandemic
Emily started BamBonn Haircare just before the pandemic. Picture: Handout
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

“I always wanted to work in fashion,” Emily tells LBC. “Other children would say they want to be a doctor or a vet…while I was drawing clothes to go on plastic dolls.”

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Emily Pomroy-Smith's journey to fulfil her “lifelong obsession” wasn’t straightforward, having taken an unusual journey to get there.

Like most people, Emily thought the best route would be through education, so she went and studied fashion at university.

Fulfilling her dream took a hit when she was forced to drop out of university in order to care for her sick dad.

“I had this choice…I couldn’t look after my dad, stay at university and keep a roof over our heads, so I had to work,” she told LBC.

Amid the financial crisis, Emily ended up going in a completely different direction: working in property.

It wasn’t the most fulfilling career for her, but she was “content” and it allowed Emily a “reasonably comfortable life”.

That was until she was made redundant, while on maternity leave.

BamBonn was started from Emily's bedroom
BamBonn was started from Emily's bedroom. Picture: Handout

With her financial situation worse off, and no job on the horizon, Emily was forced to start claiming benefits, all while trying to stitch baby clothes and sell them to make ends meet.

“It was an opportunity for me to start my own business…but it didn’t go particularly well,” she said.

“I was really struggling to make ends meet.”

Emily's fortune started to change just before the pandemic, though not in the way she expected.

In January 2020, she shared her method for making hair wraps on social media - and it went viral.

From benefits to boss

BamBonn Haircase has had incredible success
BamBonn Haircase has had incredible success. Picture: Handout

Emily's business rapidly turned from an idea inside her head into a fully-formed business just three months later.

What happened next she could never have imagined. In fact, all she wanted was to earn enough to pay for childcare.

"That was the height of my ambition," she said.

Read More: Hunt warns of ‘difficult decisions’ on benefits but mulls inheritance tax cut

Read More: Jeremy Hunt to 'face red wall revolt' if he cuts inheritance tax while squeezing benefits

By September 2020, Emily's business - BamBonn Haircare - had turned over £10,000.

In her third year of trading, the company turned over £100,000 and has had a 40 percent increase in sales since July.

BamBonn Haircare has also gone global, shipping products to 40 different countries.

But, as a disabled mum, Emily's success has not come easy.

Emily suffers with with EDS type 3, POTS, MCAS, chronic migraine, osteoporosis, raynauds and chronic fatigue.
Emily suffers with with EDS type 3, POTS, MCAS, chronic migraine, osteoporosis, raynauds and chronic fatigue. Picture: Handout

Several years ago, Emily was diagnosed with EDS type 3, POTS, MCAS, chronic migraine, osteoporosis, Raynaud's and chronic fatigue.

"Coming to terms with my new normal was challenging to say the least, from wearing four inch heels on my wedding day, to needing a stick, and eventually a wheelchair, coming to terms with being disabled wasn't easy," she said.

"I definitely went through a grieving process."

Emily's disability can affect how much time and energy she is able to put into her business, often at a moment's notice.

Through the years, Emily has been forced to learn how to "pace herself", so she doesn't burn out, a process which appears to be working.

Bambonn Haircare

Despite achieving massive success in a short amount of time, Emily says she is just enjoying the little things again - the extra takeaways or meals out they wouldn't have been able to afford before.

"We might even potentially be able to go on overseas holidays again," she said.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Tattooed woman in black hunted by police after schoolboy, 12, was brutally attacked during attempted robbery

Tattooed woman in black hunted by police after schoolboy, 12, is attacked walking home from school

A decision not to charge police officers involved in the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation has been upheld by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Stephen Lawrence murder detectives will not face prosecution, CPS announces

Justin Timberlake has been arrested for “driving while intoxicated”

Justin Timberlake arrested for 'driving while intoxicated' in wealthy Hamptons enclave

Three children went missing after a day at Thorpe Park

Three children missing after day out at Thorpe Park found safe and well by police

Exclusive
Keir Starmer responds to callers about Palestine.

Starmer says he would take 'full part' in resolving Israel Gaza conflict, pledging to recognise Palestine as part of two-state solution

Former footballer Joey Barton has apologised to Jeremy Vine for defaming him on social media and agreed to pay £75,000 in damages.

Ex-footballer Joey Barton apologises to Jeremy Vine and pays £75,000 in damages over defamatory posts

SAS doctors have accepted a pay offer from the government

SAS doctors accept new pay offer from government after months of negotiations

British teen missing in Tenerife after desperately calling friends from 'the middle of nowhere' on night out

British teen missing in Tenerife after desperately calling friend from 'the middle of nowhere' after night out

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer during LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast

'We would seek a better agreement' Keir Starmer tells LBC where he thinks "botched" Brexit deal can be improved

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer during LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast show

Keir Starmer defends plan to repeal law protecting veterans from prosecution due to ‘lack of support’ in NI

Exclusive
Sir Keir Starmer took questions from LBC listeners this morning with a few weeks until the nation goes to the polls

Starmer refuses to rule out council tax hike, bins plans for football levy and admits he would have served under Corbyn

Exclusive
Sir Keir emphasised the importance of single-sex spaces

Trans people will be accommodated in 'side rooms' of single-sex wards, Sir Keir Starmer tells LBC

Three children went missing after a day at Thorpe Park

Three children missing after day out at Thorpe Park as police launch urgent search

Exclusive
Sir Keir Starmer skewered by LBC caller over Jeremy Corbyn

'I didn't think we would win': Keir Starmer skewered by LBC listener over supporting Jeremy Corbyn

Exclusive
Sir Keir Starmer speaks to LBC

‘No magic wand’ to recruit more teachers as Starmer insists removing ‘tax breaks’ for private schools is ‘tough choice’

Sir Keir Starmer took questions from LBC listeners this morning with a few weeks until the nation goes to the polls

'It would be foolish to write five years worth of budgets now': Starmer refuses to rule out council tax rises