How Yvonne and Catherine created their own dream jobs, with a bit of help from the Prince's Trust and BT Scotland
Yvonne and Catherine had always dreamt of starting their own business, but it was support from The Prince’s Trust that helped make their business a reality. Bouquet Surreal began when the two friends who had been struggling to find work and routine decided to take matters into their own hands by starting a jewelry and accessories business.
Catherine Gorman is 25, from Broxburn, West Lothian. Although she attended university, Catherine wasn’t sure what she wanted to do and moved between temporary jobs as she tried to figure out what she wanted from a career. Having worked in call centres since leaving university, Catherine increasingly found it difficult to secure work as there was so much competition.
She didn’t want to leave the area where she lived and started thinking about starting her own business. However, she was worried her dyslexia would also hold her back.
“Everyone was looking for work” she said, “there weren’t many opportunities where I live but I didn’t want to have to move and the jobs that were there didn’t really suit my skills or my interests. 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 spoke to her friend Yvonne and they began to talk about going into business with each other. Yvonne Armour, 30 and also from Broxburn, had faced a number of challenges trying to find work. Despite trying to maintain a job and working hard at college, Yvonne struggled to find work that gave her the flexibility she needed to look after her young son, who has disabilities.
She 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. Yvonne had previously worked as a florist and had training as a seamstress so they knew it would suit their existing skills.
“We kept seeing all these accessories; button holes, bouquets made from jewelry 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. The Prince’s Trust also assigned them a mentor who could help them cut through the business jargon and begin to make bigger plans.
“The Prince’s Trust have been absolutely amazing” said Catherine, “the support has been fantastic and they’ve helped us feel at ease from the beginning. They couldn’t do enough for us and have helped with our business plan and setting up. Whenever we have a question we know we can get in touch and they’ll give us clear and honest answers which is a big help. Every time we met with them we left feeling excited about what we could achieve.
“I like to think we would have made our business work but it would have taken so much longer and I know we wouldn’t have done it properly and might even have given up.
“I am so excited now about finally getting somewhere with our business. The Prince’s Trust have helped to demystify it all. Knowing we can do it now is a fantastic feeling – it makes it all a reality.
Yvonne continued, “The support from The Prince’s Trust has made starting our business that much easier and clearer. It’s given us the confidence to take each step. Their support has made us feel empowered and that’s the most exciting thing!”
The young entrepreneurs are now looking forward to the future and making plans to grow and develop their business. They want to build their online presence and are further developing their portfolio of products. The funding they received from The Prince’s Trust and BT Scotland is helping them to develop their website and buy equipment.
“We wouldn’t have been able to set up without this funding 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.
“We’ve been able to turn our idea into a reality and make our business a career. It’s great to think that after all the help we’ve had from The Prince’s Trust, maybe we could become business mentors one day.”