How Karol-Ann Hewgill has sold more than 50,000 bottles of wine from her garage in North Yorkshire

A businesswoman who found herself out of work just before the first lockdown is toasting success with her online wine sales venture.

Karol-Ann Hewgill has now sold more than 50,000 bottles of wine from her garage in Austwick through her company Lekker Wines.

Starting with a range of 150 wines, mainly from her native South Africa, she now stocks around 450 varieties from countries including Italy, France, Spain, Argentina and New Zealand.

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Ms Hewgill, who has been supported by AD:VENTURE, a business growth programme for early stage businesses in North and West Yorkshire, plans to launch her own wine warehouse which would also be open to the public.

Karol-Ann Hewgill at her garage in Austwick.

She said: “I can’t believe I have my own business. I always thought I would work for somebody else, but now that I do work for myself I know what I want to achieve.”

Initially Ms Hewgill sold to the public through her website, but soon had local shops, hotels and bars asking for trade pricing and bulk ordering.

She turned to AD:VENTURE, who gave her a grant of £4,806 to pay for improvements to the website, and for IT equipment and marketing materials.

Ms Hewgill was also given a business mentor and attended several webinars and workshops.

She said: “I really can’t recommend AD:VENTURE enough. It’s been an absolute learning curve and it’s very helpful to have some support and to know that you can just contact somebody for advice.”