Up and coming local designers have found themselves right on the button with their innovative award winning enterprise.
HE fashion students at Cleveland College of Art & Design, are celebrating after being named best start up company for their jewellery range, Little Lost Buttons, at the 2011 Young Enterprise Regional Trade Fair.
Rebecca Dring, Rachael Kelly, Abi Crapper and Claire Kruger, who started the business, as part of their CCAD fashion enterprise course, have also been short-listed in the finals of the North East Universities Blueprint Award for aspiring young entrepreneurs.
Rebecca, 21, of Middlesbrough, said: “The original idea behind Little Lost Buttons was to create individual bespoke items of jewellery from recycled buttons turning them into something that could be worn and enjoyed.
“We wanted to give the buttons an identity, taking them from being unloved on old items of clothing, stored in tins, or in the back of a drawer, and give them a new home with a new lease of life.
“We were really surprised how well the idea took off and how popular the jewellery has become and winning a business award was incredible.”
The team, who collected thousands of buttons from family and friends, were also given donations from charity shops and fellow students.
“We decorated boxes and put them around the college asking for students and tutors to put in any old unwanted buttons,” said Abi, 20. “Some days we would have loads.
“People were really generous in giving us donations including a lady from the Teesside Hospice Charity shop who gave us three huge tins full of buttons.”
The designers, who turn the buttons into bracelets, brooches, rings and necklaces, sell their jewellery through trade fairs, button parties and by word of mouth, wrapped in individual hand-made packages.
“It’s lovely to be able to take something unwanted and turn it into a high end piece of jewellery for someone,” said Rachael.
“We can tailor any piece to match an outfit or even use buttons from an item of a lost loved one’s clothing to keep as a personal and valuable keepsake.”
The company already has a large Facebook following and also provides jewellery making kits.
“Button jewellery is a lot of fun to make and something you can do in your own home,” added Claire. “Running a business alongside our studies is a great experience.
“Hopefully it will continue to grow and develop and maybe be something that we could consider for a future career.”