About me and my idea
Hi I’m Shelley, the brains behind Shine and Sparkle Design. This business idea came about after several issues, let me explain. I’ve always worked in office based jobs, across loads of different industries, but I’ve never stuck in a job for a long period of time. As I’ve found office work to be lacking in creativity, nothing has really fed my brain and kept it motivated, I was just a small cog in a big wheel, just a number if you like. Roles haven’t been inspiring or rewarding enough, I didn’t feel like I could make a difference. But then in December 2018, I was made redundant from my marketing manager role and it was the final straw. My mental health rapidly deteriorated and before long I was in a very dark and desperate place. This experience had a huge negative impact across mine and my families life.
Back to creativity
Going forwards with the help of various agencies, family and good friends, slowly I started getting my life back on track. In terms of employment I knew I needed to have a complete change in career, something more rewarding, creative (you’ll see me mention that word a lot) and satisfying, not doing a 9 to 5 position, that was no longer for me. Having so much spare time on my hands I started up my creative endeavours again. I’d always been creative, but the busy pace of life meant I hadn’t done anything artistic for a few years, so working on a number of different projects around the mediums of pottery, sewing, up-cycling furniture, card making, paper crafts, jewellery making, painting and photography, I was finding it really beneficial to my mental well being. I was starting to recover, it was giving me a confidence boost, I found the work relaxing, enjoyable, and grasped the chance to express my emotions and enjoyed the space to be mindful.
How my idea came about
Then I discovered my true creative calling by chance, a few months down the line, and summer arrived. I was struggling to find a pair of shoes that fitted all the criteria I was asking for, breathable, environmentally friendly, unique, affordable and fun. I got fed up with searching the high street for such a shoe, it didn’t exist. I was looking through my monthly crafting magazine, and found an article about how to make your own Espadrilles, I was so excited and inspired, all you needed was a pair of Espadrille soles, some fabric and embroidery thread and off you went.
There’s a gap in the market
I couldn’t wait to get started on this project, it didn’t take long to create the Espadrilles, they were easy to make, relaxing and at the end of the project I had a lovely unique pair of shoes. My confidence grew even more. What a great idea, I was hooked. I was so passionate about the shoes, they are simple but yet so practical and durable. People started commenting on my shoes asking where I got them from, they couldn’t believe I made them myself, everyone thought they looked great. So I started doing research for companies in the UK that perhaps made linen or cotton fabric kits, I couldn’t find one. There was a distinct gap in the market, so here my idea for a new business venture came about. Reading up on the ethics behind the company that make the soles, it was clear that they are very eco friendly as they are made from the vegetable fibre jute, there’s no chemicals used in the making and the rubber on the soles is durable and water repellent, this family run business has been in operation since the 1600’s.
Why it’s going to work
I shared my idea on Facebook and from one single post into a relevant audience group , I have had over 60 people interested in buying kits, and also attending workshops . My background is in marketing and events organising, with over 10 years experience in the Industry. I have a reputation locally for putting on well organised, interactive, unique, all inclusive, over 5 years I held over 15 events across Devon, I also worked with a number of charity’s including The National Trust. The events focused on selling vintage and artisan goods, therefore my database of artists and local relevant professions means I can draw upon the right crowd to aim my business towards. I feel confident in how to take my venture forwards, selling different style shoes, slippers, sandals and boots, (many people aren’t aware that you can use the Espadrilles soles to make all of these shoe variations) so it’s an all year round business, I will also add different products and trying new lines, including off the peg designs. In the long term I plan to employ a seamstress to help with product development. There is plenty of scope for a unique, innovative, fun, eco-friendly brand. I’ve created social media accounts, and have gained over 300 followers in just two weeks. (Don’t forget to give us a like on Facebook and follow us on Instagram).
Helping the wider community
I will be offering pop up making parties/workshops, inviting people from the community to come along and make a pair of Espadrilles with us. This is a great way to encourage people to engage and learn a new skill and get a confidence boost. This is offered as one of our pledge purchases. I will also take this workshop idea into agencies like the Exeter Co-Lab, which is a centre that works to strengthen local services and achieve positive whole community outcomes around homelessness, addiction, (re)offending, and health inequality.
Supporting grass roots
I’m really wanting to support local independent businesses by purchasing all my materials from Exeter based companies. Another issue dear to my heart is around raising people’s awareness on the fashion industry, cheap throw away fashion items that aren’t produced to be long lasting, and the detrimental impact that this is having on the environment. Behind these companies, as we know there are many employees working in terrible factory conditions, paid low wages for long hours. As consumers I feel it’s important for us to be asking questions, and care about where our products are coming from, and who made them.
What your money will buy
Now the hard part, in order to make this project happen I need to raise some money to get my idea off the ground. I need to buy all the stock in order to make the kits, everything from the soles, yarn, boxes, business cards, fabric, tack pins, cotton and needles. Marketing materials, website domain, I also need help with a website and advertising.
Thanks for taking the time to read my project, after all I’m just a woman with a head full of creative ideas, bucket loads of passion, motivation, truly believing this project will have a positive effect on my and my daughters’ future (I’m a single parent) by showing them how to be brave, independent, empowered and successful. Also the wider community especially those with mental health issues, as I believe the joy and sense of achievement you can get from making some Espadrilles, along with the confidence boost, is such a positive project for people to partake in. Being creative again has saved my life, a very big heartfelt thank you from me and my girls, any amount that you can spare will be greatly received, don’t forget to follow our progress across our social media accounts.