I studied textile design but knew I didn’t want to work in a factory, so I started working as a Personal Assistant to a tailor. I made uniforms for those working in the hospitality industry but when that closed, due to the pandemic, I had some time to stop and think. I realised during this time that working for someone else could be quite limiting, and I quite liked the idea of working for myself.

“The thought of starting a business was overwhelming, and I’m no good at finance, so support with this was very welcome. It’s all well and good having a business idea but when it comes to it, you really need to understand your numbers and make a plan.

“The Prince’s Trust helped me to understand so many elements of business that I wouldn’t have known if I were starting out alone. Even with virtual support, I got a mentor who helped me with things like finance and accounting.

“Now I run my self-titled business – Rochelle Ayele. My work is about authenticity, and the culture and joy of people of colour. That’s what I really want to get across. I want to empower and uplift those who see my work and encourage Black people to celebrate life, in a world that doesn’t always encourage them to.

“Although I started my business in 2020, last year is when the ball really started rolling. I put myself out there and entered an art competition. I couldn’t believe it when I got the call to say I had won and my artwork had been sold. 7,500 applied, I couldn’t believe it and I still don’t really even know how it happened.

“The biggest part of the business, and my biggest passion, is selling original artwork. That is so important to me. I hope in the future I can hold some solo exhibitions and I dream of showcasing my art across the globe.”