NTU alumni create new business with the support of The Prince's Trust

NTU alumni Maxine Abbott and Sarah Esau (both BA (Hons) Graphic Design 2013) are two of more than 2,660 young people in the East Midlands who have received help from youth charity The Prince's Trust to become self-employed over the last ten years.

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NTU alumni Maxine Abbott and Sarah Esau

NTU alumni Maxine Abbott and Sarah Esau (both BA (Hons) Graphic Design 2013) are two of more than 2,660 young people in the East Midlands who have received help from youth charity The Prince's Trust to become self-employed over the last ten years.

They met at NTU while studying and in their third year were part of a fund-raising committee responsible for funding their end of year degree show which raised over £12,000. While doing this Maxine and Sarah gained experience in organising events and selling merchandise and gained the confidence to set up their own business.

After graduating Maxine and Sarah decided to combine their skills in graphic design to start their own venture and established creative streetwear brand Platypus UK in Nottingham in 2014. At the time they approached The Prince's Trust Enterprise programme, Maxine had been unemployed for more than six months, and Sarah was working on a zero-hours contract.

Maxine said: "The help from The Prince's Trust was invaluable, particularly the guidance and emotional support of our business mentor. We’ve been very lucky and we have also had support from The Hive business school at NTU, who have also been amazing in providing us with further advanced business support.

"We'd had some experience of organising events in the past, but entrepreneurship was a whole different ball game. Now we're established, gradually growing the business and we're excited about the future."

Maxine and Sarah pride themselves on providing unisex, handmade, limited run clothing so that designs stay fresh. But Platypus is more than just a fashion brand. Currently, 10% of their sales from their Left Lion t-shirt goes to Emmanuel House, which supports homeless and vulnerable adults in Nottingham.

Sarah added: "We want the business to be involved in the local community and to support local causes. We also want to provide opportunities for others and to work with young creative minds in fashion, design, music and art. We have made Nottingham our home because there is a real sense of community here and we believe Nottingham will become one of the main UK cities for supporting and discovering upcoming independent brands and we want to be part of that.

"Local businesses benefit entire communities and that's one of the main reasons we are supporting the #MyBigIdea campaign from NatWest and The Prince's Trust. It is important to encourage young entrepreneurs."

The #MyBigIdea campaign is run by The Prince's Trust and NatWest, to encourage more young people to seek support and consider setting up their own business.

Photograph courtesy of Video Mat

NTU alumni create new business with the support of The Prince's Trust

Published on 30 November 2015
  • Category: School of Art & Design

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