The pandemic has hit many enterprises across the UK. Megan Jones, 30, was supported by The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme to set-up her business, Curated Makers, which hosts pop-up shops on behalf of small business owners in retailers like John Lewis, M&S, Paperchase and Debenhams.
Megan tells us how mentoring and the right support has helped her during this difficult time.
“It’s been tough because I had just decided to scale up the business, and get to the point where I can run two or three pop-up shops at the same time – I really felt that 2020 was my time to shine. Curated Makers started our first Made Local Pop-Up of the year at the Trafford Centre’s John Lewis, starting on the 24th of February, and we watched everything deteriorate first-hand from the shopfloor.
“At the start of the pandemic, I had high expenses to pay and had overheads I’ve never had to pay before because of scaling up, and it was really disheartening because I’ve worked so hard to get to this point.”
The mentoring element of The Prince’s Trust’s programme has really helped Megan both before and during the pandemic.
“He has given me the confidence, belief and encouragement to take my business to the next level. With his invaluable experience to share, willingness to advise, and the strategic support he has offered, I’ve been able to move forward to places I only dreamt of when we first met.”
Megan’s business was given a lifeline when she applied for the new Prince’s Trust and Natwest Enterprise Relief Fund, a £5 million fund to help young entrepreneurs across the UK to keep their businesses afloat during the coronavirus crisis.
“After all the support that The Prince’s Trust has provided for me, I knew I could go back to them for help and was so excited to receive the Enterprise Relief Fund.
“It’s thanks to the financial support provided by The Prince’s Trust and NatWest that I’m still able to run my business day-to-day as 3 months rent was covered over the first lockdown.
“During this second lockdown, we’re adapting Curated Makers to sell stock online and provide virtual shopping experiences. We’re offering a free group zoom session, where people are given an online tour of our pop-up shops and the items that were going to be in Sheffield, Manchester and Chester. We’re also offering one-to-one personal shopping experiences, where you tell us what your budget is and who you’re shopping for, and we pull together bundles of hand-picked suggested items for you. All of this will be hosted from our industrial unit! Never what I ever imagined, but the show must go on, as we have stock from 60+ makers and have made four lots of shop fittings and kit.”
You can book in for a virtual shopping experience at curatedmakers.co.uk/virtual
You can shop directly from Curated Makers online at curatedmakers.co.uk/shop