So I wrote into my local newspaper about my clutch bag business, not expecting them to get in touch, and completely to my surprise they contacted me the next day saying they wanted to write an article about my business!! I was unbelievably excited, especially when their photographer came to take pictures, making it all seem very official!
Only expecting a small article, you can image my surprise when I was only on the blooming front page of the magazine!! I couldn’t believe it!
With increasing university fees, students have to do more to make themselves employable – which can mean setting up their own business. Isobel Frodsham met a young entrepreneur who is following that path.
Leicester is well known for its historical textile industry and flourishing business leaders. And now, a 17-year-old from Clarendon Park, has joined the list of entrepreneurs.
Amber Allen started her career in an unconventional way – after choosing the “wrong” subjects of chemistry, maths, biology and history at Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College last September.
After a few months, she left and rediscovered her hobby of sewing.
Amber said: “When I left college, I really struggled to keep myself occupied while I continued to look for a part-time job before I went back to school.
“It was a big leap from going to school every day and studying hard to suddenly having nothing to do.
“However, I re-started my hobby of sewing, which I had put on hold during my studies as I did not have enough time for it.”
Her sewing became useful when she found she didn’t have a bag to match her outfit for a family party.
Rather than buying a new one, she used her skills to create her own – and this led to the idea for her business, Chevron Clutch Bags.
“As soon as I got back, I started planning my business, deciding what design, colours and fabrics I should use to make my clutch bags and the cost of each bag,” said Amber.
“When I had made my first designs, I set up shop accounts with the online craft shop Folksy and ASOS market place in March.
“At the moment, it takes me about an hour and a half to make a bag. However, I’m getting quicker at it.”
By using Facebook and Twitter, she has been able to contact other designers while promoting her own business.
Despite not earning a huge amount of money so far, she has increased her popularity, selling out her online shops and being promoted on Radio 1.
Amber said: “I sent a text in to Ally McCrae covering the Matt Edmondson show about a transparent raincoat I made for a festival, thinking nothing would come of it. He ended up speaking about it on his radio show. It was amazing.”
The money earned so far has gone back into her business, further expanding her styles and fabrics.
She also works at a local deli in Clarendon Park to help fund her business.
“In the future, I would like to expand, starting off with different bag designs, such as purse frame ones, then little purses and iPad cases,” said Amber.
Despite her successful business, Amber has rethought her options about college and has decided to return to do her A-levels so she has something to fall back on.
From September, she will be studying physics, maths, art and chemistry at Leicester High School for Girls.
“For people my age, their only option seems to be is to go to college or university,” she said.
“It’s frustrating because my friends will be finishing before me and will probably go to university before I finish, so that’s why I decided to move colleges. But I had to do what was right for me.
“I am really inspired by the story of the Cambridge Satchel Bag Company, and I’m hoping that the Made in Britain trend will continue to grow in popularity as people support local independent who strive for quality over quantity.”
Amber’s clutch bags are currently on sale at Knighton Flowers in Clarendon Park, ASOS Marketplace and craft websites Folksy and Handmake Me.