The finalists in the 2013 NatWest everywoman Awards – recognising the women across the UK who are showing the vital contribution that female enterprise makes to the British economy – have been announced.
Jessica Flinn, from Sheffield aged 24, has been chosen as a finalist in the Artemis category – sponsored by The White Company – for women running a business who are aged 25 and under.
A graduate in Metalwork and Jewellery at Sheffield Hallam University, Jessica always wanted to design and sell her own jewellery.
Influenced by the six months she spent on a placement year in Seoul, South Korea, learning skills in metal craft and industrial design, she borrowed money and took her first collection to a trade fair, International Jewellery London, in 2011.
Jessica’s unique designs were snapped up by buyers and her collections are now represented in around 60 independent boutiques and by the UK’s largest jewellery retailer, with its 750 stores nationwide.
She specialises in industrial inspired stainless steel jewellery, which reflects her passion for the industrial heritage of her home city of Sheffield and utilises many of the skills developed in that industry.
She has also started to work in silver and gold, creating beautiful pieces that perfectly complement her trademark style.
Jessica sells three ranges of jewellery at different price points in addition to offering a bespoke design service and she has increased turnover six-fold in just two years of trading.
Her success has earned her numerous celebrity fans ranging from TV presenters like Angellica Bell to the cast of Hollyoaks and reality TV favourite, The Only Way is Essex.
Judges including business founders Chrissie Rucker MBE (The White Company), Wendy Hallett MBE (Hallett Retail), Camilla Stephens (Higgidy) and Anna Lee (Storm Watches) presided over a record-breaking number of entries for this, the most highly regarded awards programme for British female enterprise.
Speaking about this year’s awards, everywoman co-founder Maxine Benson MBE, said:
“Now is the time to shrug off the spectre of recession and celebrate the individuals who are contributing to economic recovery through their vision and success.
“This year’s finalists unilaterally saw the opportunity for growth and have proven that the UK is enterprise friendly and open for business.
“Women-led SME’s already contribute £70 billion to the economy. With an estimated 2.4m women not in work who want to work, if we could just equalise men and women’s economic participation we could add ten per cent to the economy by 2030.
“It is vital, therefore, that we foster entrepreneurial culture to ensure the UK economy continues its recovery and its ability to compete on a global scale.”
The winners of the five categories will be announced on Wednesday, December 4, at a lunch ceremony at London’s Dorchester Hotel.
The ceremony will once again be a high profile occasion attended by successful women in business and will be compered by acclaimed newscaster Mary Nightingale.