It’s refreshing to see makers and designers getting recognition as entrepreneurs in some prestigious business awards.
Among the finalists for the NatWest Everywoman Business Awards are Jessica Rose, jewellery designer and founder of the London Jewellery School, and Julie Deane, the driving force behind The Cambridge Satchel Company recently featured in a Google TV ad.
Jessica founded the London Jewellery School in 2009, starting out passing on her own jewellery skills in a church hall in Dulwich. From £5,000 in savings and a £10,000 loan, she now runs the UK’s biggest independent jewellery training organisation turning over more than £500k per year. Her success comes from her passion for her craft – she dropped out of university to pursue a career in jewellery – and a desire to pass on those skills to others. Former students are now successful designer makers in their own right.
While Jessica seems to be inspiring a generation of handmade businesses, Julie Deane would appear to epitomise the classic kitchen table to international success entrepreneurial fairy story. Julie’s motivation for establishing her business was simple – she had to pay the school fees. Her idea to create high quality, British made leather satchels may seem simple but it has gone from zero to £9 million in just four years, showing how an attractive, quality project with a good story and ethical credentials can capture a market.
The Everywoman Awards have been running for a decade with the aim of promoting women in business and finding entrepreneurial role models. They say women’s businesses contribute £130bn to the economy.
We are expecting figures from Creative & Cultural Skills on the value of heritage craft skills to the economy to be released any day. Given the figures are also likely to be in the billions perhaps we should be thinking about some awards for businesses in the handmade/heritage skills sector.
In the meantime best wishes for Jessica and Julie when the winners are announced on 5 December.
Update 5 December 2012
Both Jessica and Julie won the awards in their respective categories.
We are delighted to see creative business recognised and congratulate both of them