For designer Danielle Neill, this is an uncertain time and while financial challenges are mounting, she is also beginning to enjoy having more time to be creative.
Because a lot of Danielle’s sales usually come from shops, the damage caused by Coronavirus to the retail sector is a huge blow. However, she is trying to create an Etsy shop online in order to boost sales and will continue to sell products via her own website too.
Danielle graduated from her degree in textiles at Bath Spa university in 2013. She is now based in Bristol and runs Danielle Neill Designs, creating beautiful silk notebooks and scarves. Having previously worked for a textile fashion print studio, she craved the opportunity to work at a pace that allowed her to be more creative and explore her artistic side.
“A friend recommended I try The Prince’s Trust Enterprise course I moved from London to Bristol where I knew there was a thriving artistic community and signed up for the Enterprise course straight away!
“Before starting the programme, I was clueless about the financial side of running a business. The course was really helpful in this respect and I also loved meeting the other people who were in a similar situation.
“I started Danielle Neill Designs two years ago with the hope of moving away from fast fashion. I wanted to create luxurious pieces that people could cherish. Almost everything I sell is made in the UK and I’m trying to make the business as sustainable as possible. To make one of my silk scarves, I paint a canvas in the studio, photograph it, digitalise it and send it to a silk printer. The silk then comes back to me as a massive role of fabric that I use to create my products. My notebooks are then made from off-cuts of the scarves.
“I would probably have started my business even if I hadn’t received support from The Prince’s Trust but I think it would have been a slower process. The Trust gives you support and encouragement as well as information. Having external support makes me remember that I can do this.
“Small, independent businesses like mine need financial help though and the situation still feels really unclear. I have an appointment in two weeks’ time to try to get Universal Credit but it’s already taken two weeks to get to this point. I hope that with encouragement and support, I can come out of this positively on the other side and that Danielle Neill Designs can continue to grow.”