Bullied girl to 1m businesswoman at 20

Image copyright Liv Conlon
Image caption Liv Conlon was bullied at both her primary and secondary schools

Liv Conlon was just 13 when she started her first business - selling nail foils imported from China.

Seven years on and she is the owner of an interiors company with a turnover of £1m.

Surprisingly, she partly puts her success down to the kids who bullied her throughout her time in school.

"I'm very grateful to those people as it did really motivate me to go on and do something with my life," she tells BBC Radio Scotland's Stephen Jardine programme.

"I feel real gratitude towards these people because without them, maybe I wouldn't have the same drive as I do today."

Image copyright Liv Conlon
Image caption Liv started her first business at the age of 13

Despite the bullying, Liv, who was last year named Young Scottish Businesswoman of the Year, achieved five A grades in her higher exams and was expected to go to university.

But she chose to leave school at 16 to set up her second business.

"I could have done whatever I wanted at university but that just wasn't the path that was for me," she says.

"Teachers called me into the careers office, sat me down and asked if I was going crazy. They thought it was quite wild what I was doing.

"But I've always had complete belief it was going to work and fortunately it has."

'My own boss'

Her company, The Property Stagers, has grown rapidly, from turning over £30,000 one year to £1m the next.

Liv, who employs her mum Ali and brother Jack, puts the company's success down to being really active on social media and getting its name out there.

"I'd always known that I wanted to have my own business," she says. "I wasn't sure what that was but I developed a love for interior design.

Image copyright Liv Conlon
Image caption Liv's company now has a turnover of £1m. She is pictured (right), with her mum Ali Roy, brother Jack Conlon (back) and employee Claire Hedderly (left)

"My mum has always been self employed or ran her own business so I guess I just followed her. I always knew I wanted to be my own boss.

"It's great fun working with my mum. We pretty much spend every hour of the day together and fortunately we get on really well."

Liv's first business came about when the 13-year-old spotted a gap in the market.

"I bought nail foils at that age and wasn't very happy paying what I was paying for them," she says.

"So I thought surely I can get these cheaper, cut out the high street brands and sell them online."

'Inner belief'

Using a Far Eastern equivalent of eBay, Liv bought the foils for 37p and sold them on eBay for £8, making herself a tidy sum of about £5,000.

"I probably just spent it on buying sweets and having fun with my friends," she says.

Liv, who is from Bothwell in South Lanarkshire, was bullied from a young age.

"It was very challenging," she says. "It was pretty much my whole primary school and secondary school so it was hard and I did move schools in my final year.

"You just have to remember that school isn't forever and if you have that inner belief in yourself you shouldn't really care what anyone else thinks.

Image copyright Liv Conlon
Image caption Liv (left) employs her brother Jack and mum Ali

"It is really challenging at the time but once you're through it you will feel grateful to these people in your life because you've had a great life lesson.

"When someone says you can't do something it makes you want to do it even more."

Liv follows personal development/life coaches on social media and says some of them have been a "massive inspiration".

"I think there are so many amazing role models out there," she says. "It's really important to surround yourself with people that inspire you.

"I think Scotland has amazing entrepreneurs and there are so many people that have created these businesses from nothing and went on to build empires."

Image caption Could Liv become Lord Sugar's partner?

Liv hopes to double her turnover this year and is looking at possibly franchising a sector of the business.

"I am also into Bitcoin investing - so that's another idea I have in the pipeline," she says.

Liv sounds like she is the perfect candidate for The Apprentice where candidates compete to go into business with multi-millionaire Lord Sugar

"I have actually applied in the past and got through to the interview stage but something came up with the business so I couldn't go," she says.

"I watched it as a child so I guess its always been a dream of mine to be on the programme and I think I would do really well on the tasks because I have that practical experience."

Asked if she would apply again, she says: "Potentially, you never know."

Watch this space.

Related Topics

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-46921079

Comment via Facebook