A new mother from Caerphilly has launched a paranormal investigation events company during her maternity leave with the help of a Start Up Loan from the British Business Bank.
That’s The Spirit hosts events in which small groups visit historical buildings in South Wales with a reputation for being haunted and are guided through a paranormal investigation by experienced investigators and mediums.
The company was founded by Chloe Davies, 31, who herself held no beliefs in the paranormal until she experienced a ghost sighting in her own home three years ago.
As a sceptic, she became determined to find answers and joined other ghost hunters in Wales, building up experience as a volunteer paranormal investigator on weekends, while working as a graphic designer during the week.
Chloe quickly discovered that there was a huge number of people that embraced spirituality and the occult and decided she could address the gap in the market for a paranormal events company based in South Wales.
“Over the past few years we’ve seen an increase in people turning to things like meditation, tarot reading, crystal healing and so on. There’s a growing openness towards spirituality, which is closely tied with the occult and the paranormal. When I realised that my interest was shared with others and that there was a real demand for events in which people could explore their intrigue in the paranormal, I knew I could grow a successful business while doing what I loved”, Chloe said.
When Chloe discovered she was expecting a baby in August last year, she decided that she would use her maternity leave to take the plunge and launch That’s The Spirit.
Using her graphic design skills, she built the company’s website herself and leveraged contacts from her own paranormal investigations to book events at haunted locations across South Wales.
However, she knew she needed equipment for That’s The Spirit to offer the most complete paranormal investigation experience.
“Part of the appeal for people is that, when they go on ghost hunting events, they have access to equipment that’s just too expensive to buy for yourself as a hobby. We appeal to sceptics as well as those with an existing interest in spirituality, so our events involve using high-tech, scientific equipment such as thermal imaging cameras, electromagnetic radiation detectors and vibration sensors.”
Chloe accessed joint funding via Start Up Loan and a grant from The Prince’s Trust, totalling £2,700, which helped her buy equipment necessary for That’s The Spirit’s events.
“I was able to jump-start this business at pace because of the British Business Bank loan. My partner and I have bills to pay and a four-month-old baby to look after, so we would never have been able to save up the money in the short time I was able to access the funding needed to launch That’s The Spirit”.
The British Business Bank Start Up Loans programme provides government backed loans of up to £25,000 per individual, up to a maximum of £100,000 per business, facilitated through delivery partners in Wales like Business in Focus based in Bridgend. In addition to finance, successful applicants receive free mentoring, access to resources and advice.
That’s The Spirit’s first two events have sold out – including one at the notorious Skirrid Inn near Abergavenny, said to be the most haunted ancient pub in Wales – and Chloe has events booked throughout the next year, as well as ongoing conversations with historical venues in South Wales that have never before been investigated, despite rumours of hauntings and paranormal activity.
Chloe hopes to expand the business beyond paranormal investigation events to include workshops on how to become a paranormal investigator, products such as branded merchandise and protective crystal jewellery and, eventually, aspires to own a building that has a reputation for hauntings in which to host live events, exhibitions and overnight stays.
Jess Phillips, Senior Manager for Wales at the British Business Bank said:
“Chloe’s entrepreneurial spirit is inspiring and is exactly why the Start Up Loans programme is so important. We want to support business people, no matter who they are or where they are in life, to exercise their specialist interests and realise their ambitions.
“That’s The Spirit caters for a growing audience that’s interested in the paranormal and Chloe has used her skills to address a gap in the market here in Wales. We’re thrilled to have supported her and can’t wait to see where she takes this unique business next.”