Susie and Simon were both made redundant from their jobs in Belfast. After difficulties searching for work, they decided that they would move to live with Simon’s parents in the country. They spent nine months living in a caravan on his parent’s land, but without a car and no job prospects they decided to move back to Belfast.
Employment remained hard to find, and with a baby on the way the couple found themselves in a difficult situation. They were claiming Jobseekers Allowance and looking for any work that they could get without any hope.
Susie said: “I would apply for any job that I could. The only job interview that I had was for a clothes shop, and I didn’t get it because they decided that they couldn’t afford to pay the position. We found that they only way that we could get ourselves off benefits was to start our own business.
“I started knitting when I was pregnant as a pastime and we had always both been interested in crafts. We started knitting items for our baby and then we made hats for friends. People really liked them and asked to buy them so we thought it might be good to start as a business.”
Susie says that the support that she gained from The Prince’s Trust was instrumental in helping her to start Teddy Baby.
They were given £1,000 which they used to buy a camera to take pictures of the stock and they used the rest on materials.
They were also given a business mentor from The Trust and he has helped them to start the business up and is a constant source of help for them.
The recession had an effect on both Susie and Simon as they were both made redundant and struggled to find work. They have lower expectations for the success of the business this year due to the recession.
Susie said: I am definitely happier now that I have started my business. If I hadn’t been made redundant then I would not have been able to start my business – I feel incredibly lucky.