Background and contacts

About iwoca

iwoca (www.iwoca.co.uk) is the only provider of short term finance to online retailers based in the UK. iwoca aims to empower entrepreneurs and to help fuel the growth of e-commerce by providing its customers with access to funding for inventory, technology, employees or international expansion. By looking directly at their sales data and customer feedback scores, iwoca can make a fair assessment of an online business.

About The Digital Newsroom

The iwcoa Digital Newsroom is a simple and useful resource for you to keep track of all the latest news stories. High resolution images and complete press releases are available to download from here, and you can connect with our various social media profiles easily. Suggestions for improvements are welcome.

Contact Details

Katie Bawler & Lauren Preece
Manifest London
t. +44 (0)203 1379 270
e. iwoca@manifestlondon.co.uk


Hug seller turns cuddles into cash with pioneering loan

ebay entrepreneur receives iwoca loan to expand hugs business and triple turnover

In today’s economy the UK’s workforce could be forgiven for being a little stressed. Help is on hand though in the shape of stress-relieving hugs delivered by an innovative businesswoman backed by iwoca, a provider of short term finance to online retailers.

  • Entrepreneurial Josephine Simmonds, 24, started offering cuddles for cash on ebay, selling £2 lunchtime hugs to stressed office workers.
  • A small loan from iwoca has now enabled Josephine to expand her business and triple turnover.
  • The loan from iwoca will enable Josephine to hire additional huggers to work at multiple locations, initially across London and then in other cities around the UK.
  • Simmonds sets up ‘Buy It Now’ hugs on her ebay account for £2 each, making a set number available at a specific location.
  • The hugs are ‘collection only’ and Simmonds delivers the hugs over a two-hour lunchtime period.


Josephine Simmonds, hug seller, commented:

“My friends would often joke that I was really good at giving hugs so I started out selling hugs as a fun way to make a little money. I soon realised though that if I could scale it up, I could turn it into a decent sized business and iwoca was able to give me the financial support to do this.”

Christoph Rieche, CEO & Co-founder at iwoca, commented:

“We wanted to demonstrate the flexibility in our funding and thought what better way than to offer a loan to help a fun business selling hugs online. iwoca supports online businesses of all types, from large limited companies to innovative sole traders selling unusual things like hugs!”

Josephine continued:

“I was able to deliver hugs myself initially but such was the demand for my stress-relieving remedy, I needed to employ additional people to grow my business and dole out hugs in more locations. However, as a small online business I found it difficult to get access to the funding required to help me grow. After looking at my previous trading history and customer feedback on ebay and speaking to my own dedicated customer relationship manager, I’m pleased to say iwoca offered me a loan.”

Christoph continued:

“There are over 300,000 businesses selling online in the UK but traditional lenders such as banks just aren’t set up to properly service this growing sector. Since we launched in March 2012 we’ve provided thousands of loans to online businesses across the UK from £500 up to £50,000. Our aim is to empower entrepreneurs and help online businesses to grow.”

All photo credits to Joe Okpako.

Attached Files


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