The Women Supporting Women collective is committed to raising funds so that more young women can build their confidence and skills and be supported into jobs, self-employment, education or training.
The Women Supporting Women campaign is just one of The Prince's Trust initiatives committed to changing the lives of young people. The campaign invests expertise, time and money into working with young women. The aim is to provide the right help to nurture, empower and inspire young women to build their own futures, enhancing the lives of over 6,500 women in 5 years. Alicia J Diamonds founder Alison Cooper is an ambassador for this initiative and happy to be a mentor to Brenda Beverley, one woman who is on an upward trajectory after getting initial help from The Prince’s Trust. Alison and Brenda met at a Prince’s Trust Enterprise Fellows gathering where Brenda gave a talk about her journey and business at Sir Stelios home. Since then, Alison has become a friend mentor and client of Brenda's. We asked Brenda about her journey with the charity and here’s what we found out.
Tell us about how you started working with The Prince’s Trust?
I had a dream of one day becoming a fashion designer. I’d worked in the industry as a sales and styling assistant from the age of 16 and realised from a young age that no two women were the same shape and size. This instilled a desire in me to want to create my own fashion label that catered to all different body types. None of my family are business people. I had no resources, guidance or mentorship available for me to start my own business. I just really didn't know how to begin or who to turn to. So, back in 2015, my first step was to take part in a four-day enterprise course run by the Prince’s Trust.
How has The Prince's Trust supported you to start building your future?
Joining that four-day Prince’s Trust enterprise course, run for young people who need information and tools to start and run a business was great. I was able to tap into an advisor covering everything from business planning, taxes and marketing, to sales. I was given access to a business mentor for a year who worked closely with me to execute my business plan in more depth. After this, I was able to launch my own business with confidence.
What has The Prince's Trust allowed you to achieve?
I am thrilled to be able to say that I’m the founder and Creative Director of my fashion label Brenda Beverley London. I create luxurious and impeccably tailored made-to-order and made-to-measure women’s wear collections with distinctive sophisticated silhouettes and a contemporary effortless elegance. I’m inspired by a desire to counteract the limitations which women face in finding tailored and feminine wardrobe staples to fit all shapes and sizes, and which transition from effortless daytime looks to elegant evening wear. My eponymous label works with the best luxury fabric mills in the UK with a focus on exquisite fabrics, elevated design and craftsmanship.
I have had the pleasure of networking and meeting amazing entrepreneurs, including Alison Cooper, founder of Alicia J diamonds, who believed in my dream and brand from the first time we met. Alison has gone on to become a friend, mentor and client. I have enjoyed making many Brenda Beverley pieces for her. She has also given me the opportunity to style the models on both Alicia J campaign shoots - my favourite was shooting for the new Bold Rings collection which was all about colour!
Networking has connected me with other influential women who I now call on for mentorship and support. These include Chrissie Rucker - MBE founder of The White Company, Ruth Chapman - OBE founder and former Co-CEO of Matches Fashion, Hanneli Rupert founder of Merchants on Long, and Pam Wright, founder of Hudson Wright Easton.
What has been your proudest achievement to date?
My proudest moment was my first sale. I still cannot believe I made over £5000 in one sale alone. It really made me realise that I had created something special and that women believed in me enough to make beautiful pieces for their wardrobes.
What does the future hold for Brenda Beverley London?
I am super excited for the future of Brenda Beverley London. We have just launched the website brendabeverley.com which is one of my greatest achievements as I pretty much created the site myself with the help of friends. I am also looking forward to working on raising funds to really take the brand to the next level. And I would like to one day partner with high-end department stores such as Harrods or Selfridges, and perhaps have a little space to do fittings in there. That would be a dream come true.
To learn more about The Prince's Trust Women Supporting Women programme, visit their website here.
Alicia J Diamonds
& Brenda Beverley Chipunza
Bold Rings for Bold Women
Have a look at our Bold Rings collection – a percentage of the sale of each gemstone ring goes towards the Women Supporting Women initiative.