For years, Laura had suffered with her mental health. She struggled through a chaotic life with undiagnosed bipolar disorder and in her words; her life was a “shambles”. Getting the right treatment and help has seen Laura regain control through recovery. This has enabled her to rebuild her life into a far more stable situation. As a single mum, co-parenting with her ex-partner in Port Talbot, Laura felt running a clothing business from home would allow her to be on hand for her children whilst realising a dream vocation.
Early in her career, Laura gained a national diploma in fashion and clothing. She learnt about predicting trends, clothing design, pattern-cutting and hand-sewing techniques. Her previous experience in high street retail, combined with her qualification, gave Laura the expertise she required to start a hand-sewn children’s smock clothing business.
Laura says: “I want to be a positive role model for my children, to show them that you are never too written off to make something good of your life and that you don’t have to be defined by the mistakes of your past.”
Unfortunately, Laura’s past struggles with mental health and a disordered life impacted on her finances, and meant traditional creditors were not prepared to lend to her. Laura was on benefits and by working with Business Wales she was introduced to Purple Shoots.
In Laura’s words, “I am really pleased with the help and support from Purple Shoots. I wouldn’t have been able to make any of this a reality, not just from a funding point of view. But having someone hear your idea and read your business plan and them not laughing cos the idea is unobtainable, gives you that belief in yourself. Especially on difficult days when you’re full of doubt and thinking: what have you done? It is reassuring to know someone else believed in you and your idea enough to help you get started and that helps you keep carrying on.”
Purple Shoots, impressed by Laura’s desire to set up a business and to build a sound financial future for her children, were able to assist. The Purple Shoots loan has helped Laura buy her initial stock and to set up Sew Smocking Lush as a sole-trading business. In January 2022, after a few stock ordering delays Laura was able to launch her business.
Laura has begun making her personalised hand-sewn smocks for children. In the future, Laura plans to use local sewers to hand-stitch the garments and add personalised embroidery. At the moment, Laura’s creations are available for sale on her Facebook and Instagram sites and she is in the process of creating an online store through Sum UP. Next Laura plans to attend local markets and fairs.
If reading Laura’s story has inspired you to start up your own business, Duport are here to help get you registered. Take our online quiz to find out which business type would suit you best Business Quiz.