Holly graduated from university in Fashion Technology, unfortunately, due to the pandemic there was no formal graduation ceremony.

She was offered a full-time role with her placement employer, where she had re-located, as a fashion technologist, however, again due to the pandemic was let go.

Holly had previously suffered from mental health issues but had never let these issues stand in her way of getting what she wanted. She was, however, now in a low place due to the situation she had found herself in, no formal end to university, a new and unfamiliar city in the middle of a lockdown and no job. It really wasn’t what she had thought her life would look like after her time at university ended.

She decided to make the most of her time in lockdown and use it to bring her ideas of starting her own business. With no support or understanding of where to begin, she reached out to The Prince’s Trust.

Her business idea was designing and selling clothing collections, with each collection linked to a cause she is passionate about helping. Initially, some profits would go to charities supporting causes like Black Lives Matter, homelessness and mental health support for example.

After attending a Prince’s Trust enterprise session, she applied for a Will to Work grant, while continuing to grow in confidence about her ultimate goal of setting up her business.

Despite having to put this on hold when she held down two jobs to help pay her way, Holly remained passionate about her goal and applied for and was successful in getting a Start Up grant to get her website off the ground.

Holly was matched with a mentor and has been working with them for the last few months. Her mentor has been supporting her in getting her website set up and also teaching Holly more about running a social enterprise – which has its own in-depth legalities and nuances to learn. Her mentor has been helping her to bridge the gap between her long-term vision and getting started from the ground up as a one-person operation.

Holly’s long-term vision is to not only employ people but provide them with work experience through linking up with the Jobcentre and particularly wants to help young people who have worked with The Prince’s Trust. Further on she hopes to be able to link with other organisations where she can give back. She is especially keen on providing support to mental health charities.

Holly is now in a position to launch her first full collection this coming summer and is continuing to work with her mentor.

Holly said: “I’ve had a meeting with Rhona who has been fab and has offered to help me with the website, which is just amazing, things are finally falling into place to get Silk off the ground and I can’t tell you how exciting it is! I have a meeting with Rhona coming up soon and she’s been so wonderful and encouraging and so proactive it inspires me!

“I really can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done for me. You’ve been nothing short of fantastic. You made me feel confident and given me great support when I was having a really bad run of luck”

To anyone else looking for support in starting their business, Holly said: “Just do it. It was the best decision I ever made.”