An Edinburgh entrepreneur whose slimming aid recently won a top funding prize is working on a new version that could soon be stocked in High Street pharmacies.
Liz Casely is founder and CEO of Slim Lizzie, which manufactures Slissie – the UK’s first vapour-free anti-snacking aid. The product, which harnesses the power of appetite-suppressing flavours to beat cravings for unhealthy food, is currently only available online.
Slim Lizzie recently won £100,000 in funding from Scottish EDGE, a dragon’s den style competition for start-ups, to help build Slissie into a household name. Liz is now receiving a package of support from Johnston Carmichael – partners of Scottish EDGE – to help expand the business and achieve her aspirations of Slissie being stocked in pharmacies.
Her plans include creating a new version of Slissie and securing further investment to begin exporting.
A former banker, Liz started the business after becoming a mother and finding it difficult to lose weight.
She said: “I’d never had a problem with dieting or losing weight, and then I had two babies, two hip replacements, and was eating far too many biscuits with my coffee. I felt very lethargic and wasn’t able to shift the baby weight and realised I needed to disassociate eating biscuits with the coffee, and various other things such as snacks in the evening; snacking was my downfall.”
After researching how to break her unhealthy habits, Liz discovered certain tastes could help to control appetite. She began creating a hand-held device, similar in appearance to a pen, through which natural flavours are sucked to reduce food cravings.
The entrepreneur trialled a disposable version before developing an electronic version which went on sale in September 2015. Just over a year later, Slim Lizzie was one of the top winners in the 2016 Scottish EDGE competition.
As part of her prize, Liz gained access to business advice from SME specialists Johnston Carmichael. The firm’s growth experts are now working with Slim Lizzie to help transform it from a start-up into a successful and profitable business.
Liz said: “We’ve been through all our research and development; now we’d like to create a model that can be stocked in shops, which can be taken into the likes of Superdrug, online, and go into international markets. We want something that is more robust, easier to use, and is easily understood by our customers.”
The business owner is working with Johnston Carmichael to explore its investment options such as crowd funding and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme.
She added: “What’s fantastic about working with team at Johnston Carmichael is that we have access to everything we need under one roof. It just saves so much time knowing that your adviser knows exactly the right person to bring in and aid the transaction at any point in the relationship.”
Stewart Pennington, business advisory director at Johnston Carmichael, said: “Slim Lizzie is an exciting and innovative business with worldwide growth potential. We’ve been extremely impressed by Liz’s drive, ambition and attitude and we can see why she was such a success with the Scottish EDGE judging panel.
“We look forward to assisting Liz as she seeks to develop the business and secure new markets. We understand the opportunities and challenges of growing a start-up and we are perfectly placed to help Liz achieve her growth ambitions.”