A mother and daughter studying at Staffordshire University have both set up successful businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sitting at the table working quietly is so therapeutic and has helped to relieve stress during lockdown. At the same time, it is helping to build my professional profile so it’s a win win!”
June Evans, BA (Hons) 3D Designer Maker
June and Megan Evans have been busy crafting unique accessories and clothing at their family home in Middleton-by-Wirksworth, Derbyshire, for online shops that they each launched during the first national lockdown.
June, 47, was a full-time mum to her three children before enrolling on the Art and Design foundation course at Staffordshire University and is now in her first year of the BA (Hons) 3D Designer Maker degree.
After trying jewellery making for the first time on the foundation degree, June started her business Firehill Jewellery in May and began selling her wares on Etsy.
June explained: “The foundation course is great because you can try out a whole range of different disciplines. I’d never done metalwork before but I really enjoyed it, then my course mates began saying that I should sell my jewellery. I wanted to keep making and to keep experimenting, so I decided to just go for it!”
Without access to specialist equipment at home June created a range of jewellery from metals and polymer clay which can be fired in the oven and saw business boom over the Christmas period.
“I don’t do it for the money. I keep my prices low so that more people can access handcrafted products. Each item is unique, and I take care to use high quality packing to give customers a really special experience.
“Sitting at the table working quietly is so therapeutic and has helped to relieve stress during lockdown. At the same time, it is helping to build my professional profile so it’s a win win!”
Megan, a second year BSc (Hons) Midwifery student, decided to follow in her mum’s footsteps when she was unable to attend her placement during lockdown and set up her own shop MissMEDesigns.
Many of Megan’s products are inspired by her midwifery studies including badges, key rings and earrings to raise awareness of breastfeeding.
The 24-year-old said: “We learned on the course that the UK has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world. I wanted to do something to help break the stigma and encourage conversations about it so came up with the ‘boobie badges’!
“They come in a range of skin tones and have been really popular. A lot of healthcare workers wear them on their lanyards and I’ve also had customers who are breast cancer survivors. It’s just a fun way to break the ice and help people feel more comfortable talking about important health issues.”
Megan also sells clothing featuring her own illustrations including charity t-shirts to help raise funds for Breast Cancer UK and the NHS. Other designs include hoodies and joggers for fellow midwifery students to travel to their work placements in.
Since being back on placement the whole family have been helping Megan to keep the business going and all profits are being investment back into the shop.
She added: “Even my dad will come home from work and help to make clay boobies! It has really helped me get through the past year and it’s been nice to work together as a family.”