A mother whose daughter has inspired her to design a collection of handmade garments to support disabilities, – has received a Young Innovators’ Award, which is supported by Innovate UK, and The Prince’s Trust.
The award recognises young people with creative ideas, with the potential to become entrepreneurs and business leaders.
The Young Innovators’ Award is a nationwide initiative, designed to encourage and support young people from diverse backgrounds who have ground-breaking ideas. It offers grants, one-to-one business coaching, and contributions towards living costs.
Michelle was overjoyed to receive an award, and she believes it will transform her growing business:
She said: “I was absolutely delighted when I found out I was going to receive the award. The grant has enabled me to engage a manufacturer who will help me to increase production later this year. It has also allowed me to connect with other people supported by The Prince’s Trust, and their experiences and advice has been so beneficial to me.”
Michelle was one of 64 young people who received a 2020/21 award. The awards were centred around innovations developed to help tackle current societal challenges, including reducing the use of plastic, and helping wheelchair users and stroke victims.
Michelle Best, the Founder of Blossom + Best, is a former mental health care worker, and a loving 28 years old mother to 2 young children, one of whom has been under diagnosis for high functioning autism for the past 5 years, meaning that her child has difficulties processing sensory information, which sometimes leads to incontinence.
Michelle could see the struggle her little one was going through, and it was starting to have a negative impact on her confidence as she grew older.
She discovered that there were very few effective and affordable alternatives to ‘pull-up’ pants available, and so she designed and hand made her first pair of ‘Magic Pants’ in 2019, which are comfortable, absorbent, but more importantly, they look like attractive, standard underwear.
The pants have improved her daughter’s mental health significantly, and Michelle soon realised that if they were helping her own family, they could also help others, too, – and so the business was born.
Michelle explained: “When I started to spread the word about the sort of items I was making, it was exciting and invaluable to talk to other parents who understood the challenges my daughter and I faced on a daily basis.”
The range soon increased to include peg feed covers, tracheostomy covers, seamless items, and pieces that can be put on and taken off more easily than other readily available clothing.
Blossom + Best is committed to sustainability, having been certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) assurance system. Michelle is determined that the production of her products will not impact the environment negatively, and she supports small fabric suppliers in the Lincolnshire area whenever she can.
2021 will see the launch of her brand new website, a project also made possible with the grant included in her recent award. She said:
“The most rewarding part of my work is when I make a parent’s life less stressful, and give comfort and confidence to a child. I hope this is the year, with the help of the new site, that I can reach more people than ever before. I know from experience that it’s important to really trust the capabilities and ethics of suppliers in this particular market. I want to show my customers that I understand them, and that I’m here to help.”
To view the full range of Blossom + Best products, visit: Blossom & Best’s page on Etsy.