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Gemma Machin

Gemma Machin

Meadow Cat Hotel

I wanted to create something unique and exciting for Cornwall’s cat owners, and with the help and support of Outset, I’ve achieved exactly that.

Gemma’s story

Searching for a specific product or service and finding it doesn’t exist often sparks ideas for starting a new business. With support and coaching from Outset Cornwall, these ideas can become successful realities and fill that gap in the market.

When Gemma Machin began looking for local accommodation to care for the family cat while they went on holiday, she couldn’t find anywhere that suitably matched what she wanted.

Combining her desire to be her own boss with her love of animals, Gemma saw an opportunity to open her own luxurious facility especially for cats, and approached Outset Cornwall for support with developing her plans.

“Coming from a teaching background my skills in the business arena were limited, so I really wanted to get an overview of how to start and grow a business successfully,” says Gemma. “I thoroughly enjoyed the weekly routine of attending the Outset sessions and meeting like-minded people, plus I was excited to be learning new and useful skills.”

Utilising the market research theory she gained in the Introduction to Enterprise sessions together with the practical elements of finance and marketing from the Business Start-Up sessions, Gemma developed a comprehensive business plan which helped her apply for finance to fund the construction of the new building.

Gemma says: “I found the Outset programme to be a valuable, enjoyable and enriching experience, and instrumental in helping me achieve what I wanted. The most useful aspect has probably been the insights into using social media for marketing purposes, which really helps grow my business.”

Having completed the programme and secured the funding she needed, Gemma could finally give the go ahead for work to start on building her new purpose-built facility and once finished, launched Meadow Cat Hotel in May 2014.

Designed specifically with cats in mind, the luxury boutique hotel comprises spacious heated suites, offering high standards of hygiene, care and security, plus a range of hotel-style services including gourmet menus, CatCam, pamper treatments and a chauffeur service.

“I wanted to create something unique and exciting for Cornwall’s cat owners, and with the help and support of Outset, I’ve achieved exactly that,” says Gemma.

“Thanks to Outset Cornwall, I’ve learnt lots, had some great opportunities including exhibiting at Royal Cornwall Show, and even won one of the first Outset Cornwall Awards. Most importantly this has al massively helped boost my confidence in both myself and my idea, for which I’m very grateful.”