Horsebox gin bar galloping towards success with help from St Helens Chamber

14 Aug 2017

Business Featured Startup

New business The Gin Joint, which is run from a refurbished double horse box, has capitalised on the ever growing popularity of premium gin and prosecco.

Carly Timmins realised that she could turn her passion for mixology and gin into a business after being made redundant last year.

She said: “I was made redundant in October and then I bought the horse trailer, Ginny as she’s called. I have refurbished her, doing all the work myself.

Ever since a young age, Carly has always enjoyed taking on DIY projects and being handy runs in her family.

She explains: “I’ve always been around my Dad who was very handy and did everything round the house. I watched him and learned from him and I’ve taken that forward.”

After seeing a horsebox that had been converted in a café, Carly felt inspired to marry her love of DIY and gin together, with the aim of going into business.

She said: “My girlfriend and I love gin and when I was made redundant I asked myself, ‘what do I like doing?’. I love making drinks, I’m chief drink maker for our friends and apparently I make good gin. So I thought that’s what I am going to do. “

After approaching her local Job Centre, Carly was referred to the St Helens Chamber Start Up team who were able to offer her support on a variety of business issues.

Because Carly was unemployed, she was eligible to receive the New Enterprise Allowance, a package of support from the government to help people into self-employment.

Carly said: “I was referred to St Helens Chamber by the Job Centre once I told them I would like to be self-employed. I then met my Business Adviser, Cathrine Hickey and she helped me to write my business plan. I met with her every 2 weeks, for a one to one where we would catch up on how my business plan was going.”

Carly feels that the help and support from St Helens Chamber Start Up service and her dedicated adviser were central to the Gin Joint getting off the ground.

She said: “My adviser’s experience and knowledge were paramount to me staying positive and being successful.

“Cathrine also threw ideas at me and was very helpful, obviously using her experience and knowledge to help me and help my business and I am still in contact with her now.

“I attended a four week, SFEDI accredited ‘Understanding Enterprise’ course which helped me with all the tax aspects of running a business.

“I gained a general knowledge of how to run a business, such as improving my marketing and social media.”

Carly has ambitious plans over the next 6 months to take her business to food festivals and even add another element, a bar which can be set up inside.

She said: “I’ve got contacts at the Liverpool Food and Drink festival, so hopefully that will happen next year. I am doing quotes at the moment for a couple of parties, so I have got some things in the pipeline.

“I am starting to build an internal bar, which will then be used for any event that is inside where access for the horse trailer isn’t available, for example in a wedding with a marquee. “

For more information about the support available from St Helens Chamber to start a business, call 0845 340 9980, email, or visit

If you are unemployed and thinking of starting a business, speak to your JobCentre Plus adviser for more information about the New Enterprise Allowance Scheme.