A third-year fashion design student from Swinton has launched a Helsinki-inspired business from home during lockdown. 

Olivia Black, who studies at De Montfort University in Leicester, came up with the idea from her time on an Erasmus study programme in Helsinki, Finland.

Like most people in lockdown, Olivia found herself with more free time and decided to create something new using her sewing talents.

She remembered the popularity of rabbit toys in Finland so created a rabbit teddy based on one of her own childhood favourites.

She posted her work on Instagram and Facebook, received lots of positive reactions and gradually built up her online business.

The creator said: “Starting my own business has been a huge help to me in many ways. Personally, it was great for my mental health over lockdown as it kept me busy.

“For university it’s been a fantastic thing to put into my portfolio for the future and given me a better understanding of garment construction, as well as helped me with my time management and social media interaction skills.”

She currently makes several different products inspired by Helsinki, such as rainbow keyrings, polymer clay, macramé earrings, and wall hangings, as well as the rabbit teddies.

Black added: “My personal favourite thing to make at the moment is earrings. There’s just so much room for creativity.

“For anyone thinking about starting a business, if you have something you want to sell just put it out there. The creative community is very welcoming and willing to help beginners.”

She begins by preparing her orders, by cutting out fabric or cord for the earrings and hangings, as well as conditioning clay.

Olivia typically works on two or three orders at a time, creating, packaging and shipping.

For any fellow creatives or anyone that wants to see her products, visit her Instagram

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