Love Layla: Meet the Pontefract businesswoman who designs the UK's funniest greetings cards

A Pontefract mum who had just £30 in the bank when she set up a greetings card business now counts celebrities among her customers.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 17th December 2018, 2:05 pm
Updated Monday, 17th December 2018, 3:18 pm

Stacey Dennis, 33, runs Love Layla - a brand known for its smutty and humorous birthday, Christmas and special occasion cards.

She started printing her designs in her bedroom after being made redundant - and now has a warehouse, a staff of five and a franchise in Australia.

Fans of the brand - which is named after Stacey's five-year-old daughter Layla - include Dragon's Den entrepreneur Theo Paphitis, former glamour model Katie Price and several Geordie Shore stars.

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A graphic designer by trade, Stacey and her Australian husband Jay found themselves struggling to pay their rent when she lost her job and Jay, a plasterer, injured his back in 2013.

"I'd spotted a gap in the market because I'd previously done some cards for an LGBT charity - the design was 'to my favourite lesbian'. They were quite popular. With my designs I'm open to anything really. At the time, we had £30 in the bank and up popped the cards - it's worked out well!

"The humour is quite lewd - it depicts the reality of relationships, and couples who take the mess out of each other."

A sofa-bound Jay took to Facebook to market the cards, paying £5 for targeted adverts on the social media site while Stacey printed out cards and took them to the post office for delivery to customers.

The team of five staff - which includes Stacey's best friend - brainstorm ideas for new jokes and slogans to feature on the cards.

"We're all a similar age and we all have kids and similar relationships. We brainstorm - if it gets a laugh among us, we know it'll sell! We have a quick turnaround - I can often get a design on the website within 45 minutes of us thinking of it."

Celebrity endorsements first began when Dragon's Den star Theo Paphitis was given a Love Layla card for Father's Day, but took off when Geordie Shore's Vicky Pattison - who had hired the same web developer as Stacey - requested some personalised designs.

Katie Price, Made in Chelsea's Georgia Toffolo and Vicky's Geordie Shore castmates Charlotte Crosby and Gary Beadle have also bought Love Layla products.

"Once they post about us on social media, we see a spike in sales and the product flies straight away. Gaz from Geordie Shore broke our website! It was frustrating to see it not working but also great for us at the same time."

An irreverent joke about a parent's favourite child has proved to be the biggest-selling card so far, particularly for Mother's Day and Father's Day, while Stacey's current favourite is her Christmas 'I touch my elf' innuendo card.

Her expansion plans include posting further afield to meet demand from expats in the USA and Dubai and launching a range of giftware. The business is now based in a warehouse with an industrial printer, and a franchise in Sydney has recently opened.

"I never really planned to set up a business - we've just rolled with it. My mum does joke that I was always an entrepreneur because I used to try and charge her for cleaning the living room! It all began because we needed to pay the next month's rent - and it just spiralled from there."