Fashion Make-up student wins grant to fund new business

October 31, 2019 - Jane Moore

Sharlene Atkinson, an HNC Fashion Make-up student, has received a grant for £5000 from the Ayrshire College Foundation to help her start up her own business.

Here is Sharlene’s story.

What made you interested in enterprise activities?

When studying my HNC Fashion Make-up course at Ayrshire College, I was really intrigued to hear about the enterprise activities from Lynn Kelly at Bridge 2 Business, as it’s something I didn’t think would apply to me. It’s a chance I decided to take as I’m a creative person and loved the concept of the grant to help start-ups even though it was something different to what I was currently studying.

What have you done since leaving school?

I attended Cardonald College doing a 3-year Fashion design course, after completing that, I moved onto retail work for 9 years before becoming a mum. I started the Fashion Make-up course at Ayrshire College in 2017, looking to keep my creative side flowing and to learn new skills.

How did the opportunity come along to start your business?

I worked in the retail sector but realised it wasn’t for me. I had always wanted to pursue my sewing and creative side, I just didn’t know where to begin! I put it off for years, until I had my daughter. In my spare time at home I would sew little keepsakes and also upcycled her clothing as she grew out of them so quickly. It was from then that I started doing small alterations for family members to build up my confidence, getting my name out there.

How has the Enterprising Students Fund and Bridge 2 Business, helped you get your business off the ground?

It has helped me massively as I have finally been able to open my own sewing shop, something that I have dreamed of for a while now. This has included getting new sewing equipment which will boost the business while I get more established.

The whole experience has given me the confidence that I needed and the self-belief that I can do this, as I was taking a massive step out of my comfort zone.

What do you think makes your business unique?

I want to promote sustainability in clothing and help decrease the amount of clothing going to landfill by altering or upcycling the fabric into something new. For example, jeans into makeup bags, t-shirts into makeup remover pads or memory cushions etc. There is too much clothing going to landfill, so if my business can help clothing last longer in any way, then I know that I have achieved my goal.

How do you plan to grow your business?

I plan to grow it by encouraging more people to think about their clothing and coming to me to help them. I will be the only business in the area actively promoting sustainability in clothing and fast fashion. I will also hold sewing classes to teach families ways to re-use, upcycle and make too.

If you have been inspired by Sharlene, and are interested in starting your own business, read more here about the Enterprising Students Fund

Click here for more information on our courses in Fashion or Make-up

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