Wednesday, 30 November 2011


On Friday Mum and I travelled to London to meet the Ernst & Young team who had purchased over 800 of my Christmas cards to sell to staff and the public to raise money for the Prince's Trust. In the end, they weren't able to secure the public locations in Covent Garden etc (as mentioned in my previous post), due to some complicated licensing they would have needed. However, they still achieved hundreds of sales with proceeds of £1600 going directly to the charity.

By the time Mum and I had arrived to the head office at around 11am, the staff had almost sold out of cards. There were 14 teams out at different locations altogether, many had dressed for the occasion as spotty dogs, and we even spotted a banana collecting money. One of the teams managed to collect £240 in just 45 minutes, so sales were really strong. It's also great to know that now over 800 of my cards are circulating thanks to this event and the very friendly staff that made it all happen.

By London Bridge - A human cow collecting money for the Prince's Trust

The Ernst & Young staff even won a prize for being the most organised team which they most definitely deserved. A great day all in all with brilliant sales results, and an invitation to do the same thing again next year. I'm already designing Christmas cards for 2012, so I am well prepared.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Grab-a-Grand for the Prince's Trust.

The Prince's Trust 'Million Makers' is a national competition, challenging teams of employees and university students to come together and raise £1 million for the Prince's Trust and make a real difference to the lives of disadvantaged young people across the UK.

Million Makers teams pitch their business plans to a Dragons' Den style panel, in order to secure an initial investment from the Prince's Trust.

Teams from companies and organisations across the UK then implement and promote their own mini enterprise. Aspiring Million Makers entrepreneurs must work together to turn seed funding into profit for the Prince's Trust over the course of six months, competing against each other to run the most profitable mini enterprise.

My involvement with the Prince's Trust as a Young Ambassador and success story of the Business Enterprise programme, means that I get to meet a lot of people that support the charity through their fundraising ideas.

In the past year I have been to many Prince's Trust events organised by Million Makers teams. One company I have presented to are Ernst & Young, who have raised huge sums for the charity.

This week Ernst & Young have been in touch with me again, quite randomly, as they have been on the lookout for Prince's Trust funded businesses who have Christmas products to sell. Their plan is to sell these products in their next fundraising event, they've called 'Grab-a-Grand'.

'Grab-a-Grand' is going to take place in several busy locations across London on Friday 25th November, where the Ernst & Young staff will be setting up Apprentice-style stalls selling a selection of my Christmas cards and some delicious Christmas cake, all in an effort to raise £1000 in a day for the Prince's Trust.

One of my Christmas cards just right for the occasion.

From what I have heard so far it is going to be a really buzzing event which I am thrilled to be a part of. It is a privilege to have been selected due to my connection with the Prince's Trust and also for the quality of my products! For such a large company to be invested and excited about what I design and create, and for them to be so enthusiastic about selling my cards, it's a wonderful endorsement for what I do.

I am hoping to visit all of the locations on the day (yet to be confirmed) and take lots of photographs documenting the event. This is such an exciting opportunity because it means that my products will be on sale at some great locations. At present, the locations in the plan are Charing Cross, Kings Cross, Waterloo and London Bridge stations, near to Canary Wharf tube station, Leadenhall Market, Covent Garden, Westfield-Stratford, and even possibly Selfridges/Harrods.

Leadenhall Market - Often used by Lord Sugar's Apprentices.

I'm not very good at travelling around in London, so I am hoping perhaps to have a close friend/relative to keep me company throughout the day, and it will be someone to also enjoy sharing the buzz with.

We are hoping for some great PR for the event. We want to generate more awareness of the young people and entrepreneurs that the Prince's Trust can only support with help from people like the Million Makers.

So, I will keep you updated on the final date and locations, and you may even spot me serving out the pudding!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The Palace of Westminster.

On Halloween, the day of my speech at the House of Lords, was perhaps not the day to be ill with a throat infection. But, with some strong painkillers I made my way to Paddington station where I met two lovely members of staff from the Prince's Trust. Together we made our way to the House of Parliament discussing the agenda for the day.

We found our way to the entrance as instructed by the guards where we were given access to enter the grounds of the Palace of Westminster. After our photos were taken by the guards, and access badges printed, our bags were scanned and we got through the metal detectors to then be escorted to our venue for the day.

It was a really strange experience to be entering through the side of the building and to be watched carefully by the armed guards. Although we didn't get to look into the main house, as discussions were already in progress, we were shown to a very grand dining hall that looked out over the Thames. I imagined seeing myself in one of the tiny windows at Parliament from the other side of the river. It felt very peculiar to be there in such a grand venue.

At 12 o'clock all 40 of the guests arrived, including Lord Young and the director of the Prince's Trust, who were there to start proceedings with their stories about the Prince's Trust. Lord Young has been involved with the charity from the very beginning. It was interesting to hear the history behind the Trust, but needless to say all the while I was beginning to feel very nervous about addressing the audience in the shadow of a Lord just two seats away.

After a lovely lunch and lots of chatting with some very interesting people it was my time to speak. I had enjoyed speaking to one of the people from the production company that made Channel 4's 'Educating Essex' and BBC 1's 'Highstreet Dreams' and joked about making about a programme about my business start-up. Well, I passed on my business card, so they have my number!

Surprisingly, my speech went well. I covered all aspects of what I was doing before I contacted the Prince's Trust, how they have helped and supported me over the past two and a half years and how business is doing now. The audience was really inspired, and extremely thankful afterwards that I had shared my story with them. I just hope that having inspired them, they will go on to support the Trust, which will help lots of other entrepreneurs get their businesses up and running. With just £1000 from the Prince's Trust I was able to make my business what it is today and I hope I get invited back to keep on telling my success story for many years to come.

A box of chocolates given to me as a souvenir of the day.