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Scotland’s first horror entertainment business brings Halloween to Aberdeen



Scotland’s first dedicated horror entertainment business of its kind has successfully grown and sought out new business opportunities after working with Business Gateway.

Northern Frights was founded in 2022 by Laura Ripley after she left a 14-year career in oil and gas.

The business was initially launched to bring entertainment horror events to the Northeast and to provide a source of paid work for local talented actors. Since then, it has expanded to horror escape rooms, conventions, prop, and costume making, as well as blogging and social media.

However, Ms Ripley was one of many businesses in the events industry that was struck by COVID, and conscious that any future COVID lockdowns would dramatically affect her business, she approached Business Gateway to develop a solid financial plan to enable her to grow her brand and improve her business resilience.

Through Business Gateway, Ms Ripley received 1:1 support from a local adviser to help identify and exploit current and future sales opportunities. Through Business Gateway’s start-up services, she also received advice on developing a business plan, marketing, and applying for funding.

Ms Ripley also successfully received £1,000 from Aberdeenshire Council’s start-up grant scheme, the Local Authority Covid Economic Recovery (LACER) fund, through the Scottish Government. This funding has been critical for future event planning.

Additionally, Ms Ripley benefitted from attending Business Boost masterclasses on sales and strategy that are exclusively delivered by expert consultants through Business Gateway. Ms Ripley has been able to use the tips learned through the masterclasses to further build on her confidence in her sales ability.

Thanks to her adviser’s signposting to a wider network, Ms Ripley is a regular attendee at Business Gateway’s networking sessions, using the opportunity to grow and promote the visibility of her brand.

Northern Frights is currently Scotland’s only horror themed business and is the online home of Horror Con Scotland, the only horror convention to be held in Scotland this year.

Thanks to recent success, Ms Ripley has already booked the Beach Ballroom in Aberdeen, an iconic Northeast venue, for next year’s Horror Con, which is likely to be three times the size of this year’s event.

Ms Ripley has also hired Peterhead Prison Museum for a prison-themed breakout event and will be running a Goblin King Fantasy Ball next November, where guests are expected to dress as creatures from fantasy worlds.

She said: “I never imagined that my original intention of producing massive horror events for the public would grow into a horror entertainment business. To begin with, I was overwhelmed, and it can be intimidating to do it all without guidance, which is why I approached Business Gateway.

“My adviser was very helpful and guided me throughout the whole process. I have greatly benefitted from the expert-led masterclasses too.

“With all this new knowledge, I feel more confident in what I am doing and in taking Northern Frights to future growth during Halloween and beyond.”

Keith Smith, Business Gateway, added: “Laura has created a hugely popular and enjoyable entertainment business for horror fans. She was very open to working collaboratively to develop new ideas and opportunities.

Ms Ripley has built a strong business acumen, especially around financial planning, which should stand her in great stead for the future. Through blog content and links on her website, she is well on the way to becoming a one-stop-shop for all horror-based content in Scotland and beyond.”

Northern Fright’s Halloween event will take place on 30th October at Altens Hotel in Aberdeen.

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