Five Minutes with: The Prince’s Trust
The Prince’s Trust is the UK’s leading youth charity that believes every young person should have the chance of success and the chance to transform their lives.
Their ‘Women Supporting Women’ initiative focuses on backing the young girls and women who face particular barriers and disproportionate challenges when it comes to building their future and fulfilling their potential. Launched in 2018, Women Supporting Women aims to change the lives of 10,000 young women within 5 years.
Chantelle is one of those women.
31, from London, Chantelle West is a Prince’s Trust supported entrepreneur and founder of Sew Lit, a crafting company who specialise in bright homewares branded with positive, heartfelt affirmations. She started her business, with the support of The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme, so that she could work around the needs of her daughter, who is severely visually impaired.
Sewing has been Chantelle’s therapy through the dark times in her life and her strength to create beauty through hardship allowed her to turn a hobby into a business that supports her and her family.
We caught up with her to learn more about her journey and the support of The Prince’s Trust.
Tell us a little about what brought you to The Prince’s Trust?
“Being a mother and a carer, I felt as if my identity had been lost. As well as keeping on top of hospital appointments and caring duties, I was also experiencing domestic violence.
It’s hard to juggle everything. I felt really boxed in. Employers wouldn’t allow me the flexibility I needed and I felt that starting my own business might allow me more balance. I was anxious but signed up to The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme. The programme was so invigorating. It was a challenge, but I love challenges.”
And from that programme, you started your business ‘Sew Lit’?
“Sewing had been my therapy for a long time. It was a safe space where I could make something that had an end result, even when my external circumstances seemed to have no end.
Crafting is a way of letting myself be free. We’re so routine-focused these days but, when being creative, you’re free of those boundaries. Nobody even has to see what you create and that’s one of the most powerful things.
I started Sew Lit because, especially in my darkest times, I needed to see something beautiful and comforting.”
What’s most important to you about what you make?
“A quote or scripture embroidered onto a cushion can be there when you don’t know what to say or don’t have support. You can cry into it, throw it or simply hug it close. I didn’t have support, I had to fight to survive and needed to find these little pockets of solace.”
You’re also a ‘The Great Create’ ambassador with Fearne Cotton, tell us a bit about that …
“The fact that The Great Create focuses on mental health was really important to me. I don’t really speak about my mental health but know that Sew Lit evolved from the need to take myself out of an overwhelming situation. I would love to host a Great Create party!”
It’s for Chantelle, and the thousands of women The Prince’s Trust support with their Women Supporting Women initiative, that we’re proud to support with 20% of every sale of The Shopper.