MOST INNOVATIVE ENTREPRENEUR WOMAN AWARD
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Joyce N Bert
Single mother Mrs Bert, 43, said she was unemployed and living on the breadline before she came up with the idea.
She said: ‘Like all good ideas, it was borne out of frustration. I was battling with my duvet in the washing machine and, as always, all my socks and clothes had become stuck in the cover.
Joyce Burt with her simple but revolutionary duvet cover which opens on three sides
‘After a quick online search, I realised there were loads of people out there complaining on forums that they struggled to put their cover on.’
So Mrs Bert came up with her simple design of sewing buttons on to three sides of the cover instead of the traditional one.
She spent £15 on a roll of fabric and handmade three covers, which friends quickly snapped up.
Joyce Burt spent her last £15 on fabric to test her new duvet design
She turned to a local scheme, Urbanbiz, which helps budding entrepreneurs get their product on to the market.
After selling more than 50 covers for £35 each on a market stall in Leeds, Mrs Bert launched her own company and set up a website, and when word spread her covers began selling in their hundreds.
She said: ‘Most of my customers have told me it’s changed their lives. They’re amazed that something so simple hasn’t been designed before.
‘The general consensus seems to be that something which is an everyday problem for so many people can be solved so easily.’
Kenyan-born Mrs Bert said the idea has transformed her life.
She worked in London as a personal assistant for nine years before moving to Leeds in 2002 and struggled to find work despite countless interviews.
She said: ‘I was so embarrassed I would go into the job- seekers office and check that no one saw me entering.’
‘I was on the breadline and had a son to look after – who was also struggling to find work – it was a very dark time in my life and I was so desperate to find something, anything to pay my way.’
Now her company is set to boom with interest from big chain stores.
Mrs Bert added: ‘I have had talks with Matalan and a very reputable online shopping channel who both say they want to stock them next year.
‘At the moment I am hand-making all of them but hope to mass-produce them in India or China for a fraction of the cost later this year.’
Read more: http://qandeduvetcovers.com/
She is one of the most influential and inspirational women of African origin. Justina is a global multi award-winning celebrity PR Maven; Social Entrepreneur; hJustina – Haranga Princess2umanist; philanthropist; philosopher; and HIV/AIDS & Human Rights Activist. Justina serves as Patron, Ambassador, Trustee and Board Member of several humanitarian, community and charitable organizations in the UK and overseas.
Among other enterprises, Justina is the Founder & CEO of POSITIVE RUNWAY: Global Catwalk to Stop the Spread, a worldwide HIV/AIDS response campaign with presence in over 50 countries, spanning 6 continents spread across the globe. POSITIVE RUNWAY: Global Catwalk to Stop the Spread tours the world working with models, beauty queens, fashion designers and other celebrities from fashion, music, film, television, sport and other arts as effective advocates in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS; and other scourges affecting today’s young generation and society at large, such as poverty and hunger; knife and gun violence; drug and substance abuse; sexual irresponsibility; human trafficking and sex slavery; among many others.
Florence Britton is the Founder and Managing Director of Rainbow Care Solutions Ltd and Rainbow Midlands Training. Florence is a shining example of women’s resilience and determination to succeed against all odds. As a single parent with two young children, Florence started her business in 2005 working from home to balance work and family and also to cut on overheads. Through sheer hard work and determination Florence’s business empire has grown, and currently employs approximately 100 employees. Florence has two offices in Redditch in Worcestershire and one in Warwick in Warwickshire in the United Kingdom