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Having the right handbag

Last updated December 4th, 2018
Head shot of Event Academy alumni female

We’re inspired by our students on a daily basis and we love staying in touch to hear their stories after studying.

Diploma graduate Charlotte got in touch to let us know she’d set up her own luxury handbag business. We were already impressed, but then we realised she’s done this alongside fighting for diagnosis of a debilitating illness that had her wheelchair bound and unable to leave the house for over a year.  The road to recovery is long and Charlotte still relies heavily on her wheelchair, but that hasn’t stopped her from creating a thriving business.

Graduate profile:

“Events are all about creating something from nothing. Exactly like starting a business”

Charlotte was looking for a short training course to see if events management was for her. At 16 she was recovering from a heart operation and a long haul study programme of A levels and University just wasn’t an option. She wanted to get her teeth into a career and find out if events management was for her. Our 3 month Event Academy diploma was the perfect option.
Meeting Justine Kane (our Course Director) sealed the deal – Charlotte was impressed with Justine’s passion for events and teaching. It’s a theme that Charlotte experienced through the whole course: follow your own passions and unleash them on the world!

“It was the first time I’d ever been given something real to do – we were creating events from a simple brief” says Charlotte.

Learning to start with no more than sketchy ideas, selecting suppliers, committing to a time frame, budgeting, promoting and finally running the event is the same process as going through setting up a business to market a specific product.

“At school, I felt my creativity was considered a hindrance rather than an important part of my personality”

At school, Charlotte found she wasn’t very academic and often felt she was looked down on. We’re sure she isn’t the only one to feel left behind at school because she wasn’t good at the traditional ‘rational’ subjects. Anyone else here had that experience?

In real life, preferring Art and English doesn’t mean you can’t have a good business head on your shoulders. Charlotte proves it with her flourishing luxury handbags business. She told us that the supportive, creative atmosphere on the course at Event Academy helped her discover it is okay to blend her creativity with the more rational side of running a business.

For the first time in her life, she felt like she could follow her passions. In fact, Charlotte’s creativity is what makes her handbags so unique and keeps her standards high for the materials she uses. It’s a critical part of her business as well as being a huge part of her personality.

“By exercising your creativity you live more in the present, which is really useful for making things happen!”

So what sparked the idea for Charlotte to set up a luxury handbag business? And how on earth has she managed to achieve so much when she’s suffered such serious health problems? It all started with her dissatisfaction with handbags. Neither Charlotte nor her 2 sisters had ever had a handbag they really liked.

When illness took over her life, both after her GCSEs and again at 19 when she was finally diagnosed with postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), it was clear that Charlotte’s original plan to be running lifestyle events, festivals and working at the Olympics didn’t fit with her health needs. Instead, she focused on her own creativity and what she’d learned about marketing and creating an event and applied these to a product – her ideal handbag.

By doing what she loves and working for herself, Charlotte says she can take the time she needs to create a luxury product and her working life doesn’t involve waiting for other people. It all moves at her pace. Great for ensuring her work-life balance supports her recovery and also great for a dedicated entrepreneur who has an amazing vision for her products. We’re so happy to see her out and about again and getting plenty of PR coverage for her beautiful bags!

You may be interested in event management or you may just be looking for a career option to channel your creativity. If you want to find out more about our courses and what inspires our students to fight for their dreams why not read some of our other alumni case studies, or visit an open evening and meet some of our lecturers?

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