Jazmin Lee is our National NatWest Enterprise Award winner 2019. This award recognises young people who have overcome barriers and achieved success in creating a sustainable business or a community or social enterprise.
"I always grew up in a creative household. My family are artists and it was after I lost my mother at the age of seven and went to live with my grandmother that I began to use creativity to express myself. My grandmother taught me to sew from a young age and my grandfather always encouraged me to draw, paint and create.
"I was being bullied at school and felt ugly, worthless and talentless. Being overweight, people didn’t take me seriously when I said I wanted to pursue fashion and this, alongside my caring responsibilities, affected my education and I ended up with only three GCSEs to my name and suffering from depression.
"I really struggled to get work experience in the fashion industry. There were limited opportunities in Brighton and I couldn’t afford the commute to London.
"When my grandmother passed away I felt I had hit rock bottom, but then eventually things began to get better. I was still having issues with my self-image, but then when my creativity began to develop, I realised that there is room for everyone, including me, and it was time to create my own space.
"That’s when Plus Equals developed, which redefines what it means to be fashionable and plus size. I wanted to see plus size models with cellulite and in clothes that aren’t considered flattering.
- Gordon Merrylees, Managing Director Entrepreneurship from NatWest