Students hope that pride in Shrewsbury could prove a fashion best-seller

Budding entrepreneurs from Shrewsbury College have put The Square, The Monument and other Shrewsbury landmarks on a T shirt which is the main fashion item in their new company Fresh Fabrics by Mellini.

It will be one of the companies, set up by Young Enterprise entrepreneurs, who will be holding a trade fair in Shrewsbury’s Darwin Shopping Centre on Saturday February 8 (with a second event on the March 1).

“A member of our team came up with a design which included a pictures of Shrewsbury landmarks over which is printed the word Mellini,” said company spokeswoman 17-year-old Jasmine Mellor, a Level Three business studies student.

“We thought that people would know the building and would take pride in wearing it,” said Jasmine, who comes from Bronington, near Wrexham.

She explained the company name: “There was a boy in our group from America, called Joe Mellini and everyone thought it was such a cool name. Joe is currently back in America. I think some of his family were originally from here but they had to go back to Oregon. We keep in touch and keep him posted about what’s going on. Since the company has his name he’s very interested to know what happens.”

The Darwin Centre is again helping the YE trade fair by providing a unit and Kevin Lockwood, Manager of the Darwin, Pride Hill and Riverside Shopping Centres, said: “We are delighted to host this event which really encourages a spirit of entrepreneurship among young people. I’m sure many of them will build successful careers in retail and may well return to work here at the centres in Shrewsbury, perhaps running their own businesses from the units here.”

Tim Barker, YE Manager for Shropshire, said: “Winners of the Shropshire event will represent the county at the West Midlands Finals with the hope of progressing to the UK Finals held in London, and the JA-YE European Competition.  This is a very exciting time for all the students involved. Each year more and more young people are taking part in this competition. Last year, for example, 29 companies took part, this year we have 48.”

Young Enterprise is an education/business charity that runs a suite of programmesdesigned to initiate young people into the world of business. The county-wide competition is part of an international event and is the first rung on the ladder of a potential roller-coaster ride for budding business people.

Jasmine chose to attend Shrewsbury College on the recommendation of mum Sue Mellor, who had happy memories of the college when she studied catering and now runs her own business, Posh Puddings, from her home.

Jasmine says all nine company members, all business students, have a strong interest in fashion and decided to go for men’s T-shirts and beanie hats, although they hope to expand their range.

“This will be the first time we have had any contact with the public. Our main aim will be to sell as much as possible and take the experiences we gain from the Darwin. Most of us know the Darwin centre quite well but this will be really good experience for us.”

Curriculum Leader for Business at Shrewsbury College, Sarah Probert, said: “The students have raised their start-up capital by having bake-sales. They must have increased the weight ratio of the students substantially because the cake sales have been amazing and raised a lot of capital!

“Mellini even organised a couple of social events and also took part in a Shropshire Peak challenge with sponsorship from family and friends. We have done this competition before but we have expanded this year and intend that all of our students will have some involvement in business start-ups.”

The college has three other companies in the competition and Sarah added: “We aim at getting our students involved in real life experiences and if they can do that while they are with us it is a huge advantage - learning to make mistakes in a safe environment.

“They will also acquire a wealth of personal skills, because this is not just about teaching a subject, it’s also about things like turning up on time, communicating. We have already had some tears and tantrums and that’s wonderful.”

Following extensive re-modelling, the college is about to open its own shop, also owned and run by the students through a board of directors. Second year students have designed its interior and the college ‘companies’ are going to have to pitch their business case to the Shop board to ensure they can sell their goods there.

Only a few months ago the college received recognition for its work during the international competition, Global Entrepreneurship Week, with the award of a High Impact Award.

The aim of the week was to inspire the next generation of budding business leaders and the Award recognised organisations that provided role models, offer practical support, develop enterprise capabilities and evaluate success.

The 2014 Awards Evening for the Young Enterprise competition will be held on Friday, May 9, at the Park Inn in Telford and will be the biggest celebration event yet.

For more information about our Business courses, please call 01743 342333

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