Prince’s Trust & RBS A-Z of Young Businesses: ‘O’ – Sara Flay: Out of the Box Gifts

Sara’s illness means she has ‘good days’ and ‘bad days’, and this inconsistency led to her having to give up her job in healthcare. After leaving her job, Sara was unemployed for eight years. She tried to find other jobs but was told she was ‘unemployable’ because of her condition.

She says: “Being 23 years old and believing that I would never be able to work again was very degrading. I completely lost my self-esteem and my confidence and felt that I was just becoming a government statistic.”

Sara knew that the only way she could work was to work for herself. She had the idea of setting up a confectionary and gift company.
She turned to The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme for support and business advice, and as well as being able to take part in a four day business programme, she received one-to-one mentoring.

Her loan from The Trust enabled her to buy equipment and set up her business.

In 2010, Sara launched ‘Out of the Box Gifts’, providing hampers, chocolates, wedding favours and corporate gifts.
The business is expanding and Sara now employs an office manager and will be taking on up to three young people as part of a government scheme to get young people into work.

Sara says: “I want our business to provide work to other people like me who have suffered unemployment and are struggling to find a job.”

Sara told us: Without the support I received from The Prince’s Trust I wouldn’t have the confidence I have now. The Trust understands people’s circumstances and knows that life can be difficult. The personal support they offered me, as well as the business advice, helped me move on in my life to where I am today.