Stephen Fry is an inspiration to bi-polar Oxford author, perfumer and aspiring business woman, Fabia

From: Business Link
Published: Mon Mar 01 2010

Fabia Cerra, from Oxford is a qualified perfumer and beautician who turned to Business Link for support to help transform her creativity into a business which uses smell to lift the mood of her customers. Fabia had a turbulent childhood and discovered that she was bi-polar in her early 20s after years of unexplained bouts of ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of deep depression. For Fabia, it was a relief to be diagnosed in 2003 with the same illness as Stephen Fry and Winston Churchill who she cites as some of her inspirations.

Fabia published ‘In 2 Minds’ her memoir in 2008. Further to this she has a beauty therapy book due for publication later this year, and is seeking funding to launch her perfume and skin-care business Fabia Cosmetics. Fabia has been working with Paul Griffiths from Business Link to develop her action plan, register website addresses, and book on a series of free start up workshops which cover issues including finance, planning and selling.

She has a young son with development needs and lives on disability allowance. After a difficult start in life, Fabia spent many years building up an extensive knowledge of skin care products, their ingredients and the effects smells have on the mind and memories.

Fabia explains, "For such a long time I was unwell because I was misdiagnosed and was affected by mood swings and anxiety. Once my bi-polar condition was spotted by a doctor I researched the condition and found ways to manage the effects and to use it creatively. I haven’t been seriously ill since 2003 and I’m now catching up on that time."

Fabia’s unique perfume formulation has been registered at the Cotswold’s Perfumery. Fabia describes the fragrance. "I’ve developed an oil based perfume which has no ethanol in it, and is therefore kinder to the skin. I chose smells I like including vertiver and javonol. I also added in lemon which reminds me of Italy where my father was born.

"Everyone who has tried out the perfume likes it. The next step is to secure some funding so that I can put in a bulk order and start selling it. It may take me more than one application and I’m prepared to try several avenues. It’s really important for me to keep learning and to use my experience, creativity and passion to drive my businesses. I believe all my ventures are worthwhile and hope one day to generate enough in profit to be able to donate to a breast cancer charity."

Paul Griffiths from Business Link comments, "Enterprise, and enterprising individuals, boost the local economy – my role is to help people to spot opportunities, utilise their talents and develop the skills and confidence necessary to succeed in business. I really admire Fabia’s energy and drive. She’s got a great business idea and we’ve talked through her options and business plans. Fabia’s signed up to attend Business Link’s free start up workshops and this is a great next step. Business Link’s support and advice is available to Fabia and those like her who want to start a business using their talents and creativity."

For more information about Business Link’s support for individuals who are thinking about starting a business or in the early stages of running a business and face barriers to enterprise because of personal circumstances visit or phone 0845 600 9 006.

Words: 571

- Ends -

Media contact:

Katie Mason

Telephone: 02380 613255

Mobile:07882 102555


Notes to Editors

About Business Link

Business Link’s information and advice services are available through the website or by phoning 0845 600 9 006.

Business Link is the government funded national business information, advice and support service, delivered in the South East by the six Business Link Providers. In the South East the service is funded by SEEDA.

Business Link helps businesses and entrepreneurs to establish new enterprises and maintain and grow established companies by helping them to locate and benefit from the broadest range of public, private and voluntary business support services.

Business Link offers specific help to individuals who are unemployed, currently only working a few hours week or in a situation that makes it harder for them to get involved in enterprise or to access Business Link support. These two services help people to start a business and offers free, advice, coaching and intensive support from having and idea to when the individual starts trading. Once the business has been established the business owner is encouraged to take advantage of the extensive information, advice and support provided by Business Link’s core service.

SEEDA, the South East England Development Agency, is the Government-funded agency responsible for the sustainable economic development of the South East of England – the driving force of the UK’s economy. Through supporting businesses, encouraging innovation, developing skills and engaging with public and private partners, we aim to create a successful, sustainable future for the region.

Company: Business Link
Contact Name: Katie Mason
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 02380 613255

Visit website »