Start-up Success Stories

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Zahra
(Fashion Entrepreneur)

Once upon a time…someone said to me - "you'd probably be great at PR!" at the time I thought these were THE magic words. I had just finished my first degree and would have described myself as a 'jack of all trades - but master of none'.  So at this time was grateful for a little direction. After about 6 months of non-paid internships in the field, I found a good corporate PR job with a great agency and got down to the business of building a career.  

My new PR role demanded a lot of me and being an ambitious soul I naturally invested 110% without stopping to consider whether I enjoyed the work…Big mistake! A year and a half later I had been promoted twice and learnt a hell of a lot but felt little passion for corporate work in the financial industry. I was becoming seriously burnt out by 13 hour working days, the stresses of the office environment and the sheer pressure of trying to keep up with the volume of news generated by an economy in crisis.

My agency's clients were predominantly large financial corporations who were heavily hit by the recession subsequently so were we. One day I came into the office to be told that despite being a great member of the team, as one of the newest members of staff I had been chosen for redundancy.

This was the beginning of a new chapter in my life and my redundancy package allowed me the opportunity to take a break, unwind a little and reassess my career direction - which was exactly what I needed.  I decided re-train and find a masters course that would put me on the road to my dream career and over the long term allow me to be my own boss and work at my own pace.

It was also during this time that I first met Phil. Right from the outset I found him easy to talk to, he recognised my ambition and understood my need to carve out a new vision for my future. We talked about my short and long term goals and how best I could reach them.

At the time I had just begun my application process for an MA in Fashion Entrepreneurship and had been pursuing many different work experience opportunities within the fashion industry in order to boost my chances of success. However I was also working a full time job. As a result I was often exhausted and despite this now being in my own interest rather than for a company. Phil helped me see that I still lacked a good work/life balance; he helped me identify which opportunities were really beneficial and which I could move past in order to have a sustainable quality of life.

Phil supported me through my very long winded MA application process; cheering me on, keeping me focused and proof reading my personal statement through an endless editing cycle.

Phil is an excellent person to have in my corner and when I was accepted onto my course it was great to share that achievement with someone who had been there, throughout the process and really understood what a big deal it was for me.

Phil is flexible, knows when to push my buttons and when to encourage me to take my foot of the gas. He can be a friend, a mentor and quite stubborn if he needs to be. But most of all Phil's an all round good guy and when life's being demanding he is a great secret weapon!