New business is bloomin’ marvellous
Two friends who have started a budding new business are celebrating a boost from The Prince’s Trust and the BT Scotland Young Entrepreneurs scheme.
Yvonne Armour and Catherine Gorman, both from Broxburn in West Lothian, launched Bouquet Surreal earlier this year. After struggling to find work, the two friends decided to start their own business specialising in accessories such as button holes, bouquets made from jewellery and corsages.
Catherine, 25, said: “Like many other young people I’d been looking for work locally but was struggling to find something that suited my skills and interests. There were limited opportunities, and lots of competition!
“I had thought about starting my own business for a while but I knew I would have to deal with the legal side and accounts. I’m dyslexic and I’d never studied business which made it even more daunting – I really didn’t know where to start.”
She and her friend Yvonne began to talk about going into business together.
Yvonne, 30, had also faced a number of challenges trying to find work. Despite trying to maintain a job and working hard at college, she’d struggled to find a balance with the flexibility she needed to look after her young son, who has disabilities.
Yvonne said: “I wanted to work but it was really difficult to balance a job with looking after my son. I tried different things but knew that flexibility had to be important. That’s when I began to think about self-employment as a better option for him and for me.”
The idea for the business came from the wedding fairs the friends attended when Catherine got engaged.
Catherine said: “We kept seeing all these accessories: button holes, bouquets made from jewellery and corsages and knew we could make them ourselves. It was really exciting to have an idea we were both passionate and enthusiastic about but at that stage it was still just an idea.”
The pair approached their local Business Gateway for support and were referred to The Prince’s Trust. They started to develop their portfolio and got training on everything from business plans to marketing as well as being put in touch with a Prince’s Trust mentor.
They also secured funding from the BT Scotland Young Entrepreneur scheme, a partnership between BT Scotland and The Prince’s Trust, which has allowed them to develop their website and invest in equipment for their business.
Yvonne said: We wouldn’t have been able to set up without this funding from BT Scotland and we would have really struggled without the support from The Prince’s Trust. Now we’re looking at broadening our market, attending more wedding fairs and building up our workshop.
“The support has made starting our business that much easier and clearer. It’s given us the confidence to take each step and made us feel empowered – that’s the most exciting thing!”
“We’ve been able to turn our idea into a reality and make our business a career” added Catherine.
Through vital start-up funding and mentoring support, The Prince’s Trust supports young people aged 18 to 30 years old to set up and continue in business. Working in partnership with BT Scotland, the Young Entrepreneur scheme supports young people by providing start-up grants to help them develop their business.
In the last 13 years, BT Scotland has invested £605,000 in the Young Entrepreneur programme, helping 180 young people to start up in business.
James McClafferty, partnership director at BT Scotland, said: “Our Entrepreneur scheme with The Prince’s Trust gives a helping hand to fledgling businesses of all kinds. Having weighed up all their options, Catherine and Yvonne made the courageous decision to launch their own business and have worked hard to get it off the ground. Their passion for business shines through and we’re delighted to support their venture.”
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About The Prince’s Trust Youth charity
The Prince’s Trust helps disadvantaged young people to get their lives on track. It supports 13 to 30 year-olds who are unemployed and those struggling at school and at risk of exclusion. Many of the young people helped by The Prince’s Trust are in or leaving care, facing issues such as homelessness or mental health problems, or they have been in trouble with the law. The Trust’s programmes give vulnerable young people the practical and financial support needed to stabilise their lives, helping develop self-esteem and skills for work. Three in four young people supported by The Prince’s Trust move into work, education or training. The Prince of Wales’s charity has helped 750,000 young people since 1976 and supports over 100 more each day. Further information about The Prince’s Trust is available at princes-trust.org.uk or on 0800 842 842.