I am never that keen to talk about spells of illness I have had, but without the background story it doesn't really highlight what is possible with a bit of hard work, and how difficult the past few years have been. Friends who weren't aware of the article were surpirsed to see me in the paper, and were the first to say well done.
'Greetings Today Magazine' are also going to run a feature on me and my products which should be out in February. They spotted me in the Gazette and were on the phone before I even knew the story had been printed.
Best of all I didn't have to go for a photo shoot, which I would have hated. Instead, I sent in a photo of me at my first trade show, much more fitting.
Here is the article:-
Young card designer turns life around with help of Prince's Trust
11:25am Wednesday 5th January 2011
A CARD designer has spoken of how the Prince’s Trust helped her out of a low point in her life through access to support and work.
Fay Martin, from Cam, runs a successful greeting card business selling her own designs online and in top UK retailers.
But just two years ago Fay, 27, was unemployed and was uncertain and anxious about her future.
Having studied illustration at university and finding work as a visual merchandiser in her early 20s she developed symptoms of a chronic illness, similar to Crohn's disease, which made it difficult for her to hold down a full time job.
She had to leave her job when her symptoms, such as extreme tiredness and stomach pain, got particularly bad.
However Fay did not want to be out of work so started applying for new jobs, but did not receive a single offer which started to knock her confidence.
"I got so many rejections and after a while I started to feel worthless. It was depressing that, despite having a good degree, I couldn’t even get a simple day job," said Fay.
As time went on, Fay started to feel increasingly anxious, and her self-esteem hit rock bottom.
She said: "When you’re at home all day, you have no reason to go out and meet people. You get bored and depressed and it really affects you mentally."
Fay sought help from her local Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB), who put her in touch with Business Link, which in turn suggested she enroll on The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme.
The leading youth charity offers mentoring and financial support to young people who want to set up their own businesses.
Fay dreamt of using her illustration skills to set up her own greetings cards business, and received practical support from a Prince’s Trust mentor, as well as funding to cover start-up costs.
Running her own business has meant that Fay can work at her own pace, and she is better able to manage her illness.
Today, her company, Fay’s Studio, is proving a huge success, and her designs are stocked in one of the UK’s top card retailers.
Fay said: "The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme gave me the practical advice and self-confidence I needed to set up my own business. I am so glad that I can now fulfil my career aspirations and I’m really excited about the future."