AN INSPIRATIONAL mum has won a competition with a simple but life changing business idea prompted by her own battle with cancer.
Codilia Gapare, from Navigation Road, has won Northwich’s Dragons’ Den-style contest Salters Den with her business C-lash.
The mum-of-two said: “I can’t believe I have won the competition.
“I came up with the idea for my product after finding there was nothing like it on the market.
“I hope winning the competition enables me to develop my business further and raise the profile of my product.”
C-lash offers natural-looking false eyelashes for people who have lost their own through cancer treatment.
They are different to anything else on the market as they do not need to be fixed to existing lashes.
Codilia came up with the idea when she was being treated for breast cancer diagnosed in July 2014.
“When you lose your lashes nine out of 10 people will never even notice but you yourself know,” she said.
“You might not want to go out because you haven’t got eyebrows or eye lashes but you don’t have to deal with that if you don’t want to.
“It’s about looking like yourself, you just want the face you were born with.
“All of a sudden, looking normal becomes the most important thing.
“I would wake up in the morning, put on my heels and lipstick and go out and face the world – I didn’t want anyone to know I was fighting a disease unless I told them, then I would talk to them about it on my own terms.”
The ‘C’ in C-lash stands for compassion and confidence.
“I don’t want to always associate the letter c with cancer, it’s not a thing that’s going to define my life,” Codilia said.
“I’m not a victim, I’m a survivor.”
She said her prototype lashes have given an instant confidence boost to those who have tested them.
She has won £2,500 cash and £2,500 worth of financial and legal mentoring in the Salters Den competition.
The contest was launched in July and was run with Howard Worth Chartered Accountants and business advisors, Mosshaselhurst Solicitors, NatWest and Eric Johnson of Northwich Ltd.
Chris Smith, partner at Howard Worth said: “Codilia’s presentation in the den was excellent.
“Her business idea has been generated through her personal experience, so her passion and understanding really came across to all the judges. She is a very worthy winner of the first Salters Den competition.”
Second prize of six months of legal and accountancy mentoring was awarded to Gareth Phoenix with his business Gentlemen’s Practice, which sells men’s accessories online.
Vintage Poultry, the creation of Emma Baldwin and Thomas Woodward, was awarded third place with a prize of three months legal and accountancy mentoring. Their business is a homeware range featuring Emma’s watercolours.
The Salters Panel consisted of Chris Smith, partner at Howard Worth, Gerard Rooney, managing director Mosshaselhurst Solicitors, Diane Johnson, owner of Eric Johnson of Northwich Limited and Claire Morley, senior relationship manager at NatWest.Northwichguardian