Jo Norton, 29, from West Sussex, is a Prince's Trust supported entrepreneur and founder of Mille Saisons, a silk accessories company. She is supporting The Great Create with Goodwill Ambassador Fearne Cotton.
Having been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, Jo worked hard at university to finish her fashion degree. After graduating, she couldn’t find a job that allowed her to work flexibly and stay near home. She launched her own business, Mille Saisons, in 2017 with the help of The Prince’s Trust.
Jo now makes a range of beautiful silk accessories, has been featured online by Stylist and Vogue and is excited to be involved in The Great Create.
"I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression before university so, when I started experiencing extreme tiredness, I just put it down to that. It wasn’t until much later that I was diagnosed with a sleep disorder. My father also became terminally ill whilst I was studying. I didn’t have a great support system at the university but was stubborn, worked hard and managed to graduate. My father passed away after my graduation.
"The programme helped me understand my strengths and weaknesses and the invaluable support from my mentor, Carol, kept me going when I felt too tired. I started by making clothes but soon moved onto making scrunchies. Now I make pretty much anything I can out of silk but specialise in hair bows, bags and other accessories.
"I’m excited to be involved with The Great Create because I love the idea of helping other people to get creative and learn to make something. I have craft get-togethers with my friends anyway so I think the Great Create parties are a fun idea.
Taking time out to make something is relaxing. Also, sewing is a bit of a dying craft – I want people to know that it doesn’t have to be perfect and it’s not as hard as they might think so to just have a go!
"One of the first things my therapist advised was to find a hobby. Since my business involves sewing, I wanted to do something different so I started ballet. It’s a similar feeling to when I’m being creative and working – there’s so much to think about that your mind can’t wander to anything else!
"Now that I have my own business, I feel in control which makes me happy. It made my sleep disorder easier to handle while waiting for jaw surgery because I could work around nap times and appointments.