THE pulling power of TV’s Love Island delivered an instant boost to a Southampton family business.

Interest in a handmade furniture maker “went nuts” after Olivia Bowen – a social media influencer with more than three million Instagram followers – took an interest.

Nick Fisher, owner and director of Still and Bloom, had a thriving furniture business supplying pubs and restaurants with everything from bar stools to bric-a-brac before the pandemic struck.

He switched to selling furniture such as desks, tables and TV stands direct to individuals, mainly through the online platform Etsy – and decided to give Instagram a try.

“I know of friends who have been really successful with their business through Instagram and thought we would give it ago. It’s great because it really works on word of mouth, people liking posts, reposting and followers,” he said.

“Olivia found us through Etsy, but when I saw her name on the sales request I said to my wife, ‘Is she a friend of ours? Why does that name ring a bell?’ My wife, who thought this was very funny, as she’s a big fan of Love Island, made the connection instantly and put me right.

“I sent her a direct message and she got back to me straight away and said she loved our products.”

Olivia Bowen, 27 – who, as Olivia Buckland, came second on Love Island in 2016 – later posted about Still and Bloom, prompting a wave of interest.

“It went nuts. I had nearly 1,000 new followers within minutes and my notifications were going off so quickly my phone was beeping continuously,” said Nick.

His two-person business used to around 200 views on Etsy at one time but that has risen to an average of 2,000, while sales are higher than ever.

“We have been so busy. I just didn’t think a few pictures on Instagram and a couple of posts could help my small family business in quite this dramatic a way and it’s all thanks to an influencer who wanted to shop local,” he said.

“We’ve now had direct messages from a golfing pro too. So this is definitely the future for us.”

The endorsement was a welcome boost for Mr Fisher, who had been used to travelling up and down the country supplying hospitality venues.

“Everything changed with the first lockdown. All our business just dried up overnight,” he said.

“We had only been up and running for less than a year. We struggled on but then this latest lockdown meant we had to try something new or else we’d go under. So we went online, looking at selling to the domestic market which is a totally different operation to the commercial sector.”