The Funky Sprout Story (So Far!)
Funky Sprout is all about creating unusual, quirky jewellery, handmade to the highest standard at affordable prices. This year we’ll be celebrating our 10th Birthday! With the dawning of this monumental milestone and the launch of our brand-new website, I thought it would be a great opportunity to reflect on the last ten years and share our journey so far…
Funky Sprout is founded by Becky Jackson as part of school enterprise competition The BiG Challenge.
It absolutely blew my mind that at just thirteen years old I had the chance to launch my very own business with a £25 start-up loan. I was instantly inspired and knew deep down that I had found my calling. With a passion for all things arty-crafty, I experimented with sketching cards, upcycling clothing and finally settled on designing and hand making jewellery. With no prior experience, I used online tutorials and good old-fashioned trial and error to teach myself the skills I needed to create a variety of different jewellery.
Funky Sprout wins 1st Prize at The BiG Challenge Marketing Awards!
Keen on graphic design, I’d developed a brochure featuring my full range of products (which at this point had grown to over thirty!) It was enough to impress the judges at The BiG Challenge interim awards and I walked away with 1st place! The win was really re-affirming and spurred a life-long passion for graphic design. I’ve enjoyed designing every incarnation of branding and marketing for Funky Sprout, from logos to packaging and even freelanced along the way.
Funky Sprout claims joint 1st Place at the prestigious BiG Challenge awards ceremony and wins the BiG trip to Madrid!
After submitting a detailed business report and delivering a nerve-wracking presentation to a panel of local dignitaries at Sheffield Town Hall, Funky Sprout was shortlisted, and the BiG Challenge awards ceremony loomed. I never would have dreamed of winning another award, let alone the big one! After an unforgettable evening of tapas and trophies, it began to sink in that I’d be heading off on my first ever trip abroad. Time to get a passport!
Becky heads off to Madrid and enjoys a five-day all expenses paid business trip.
What an incredible experience this was! Alongside my fellow joint winner and the runners up, we enjoyed a parent-free whistle-stop tour of the Spanish capital, visiting stunning cultural landmarks such as the Royal Palace of Madrid, National art museums the Reina Sofia and the Museo Nacional del Prado, the outdoor night markets, watching a ballet and attending meetings with company directors at BiG Challenge sponsor DLA Piper’s Spanish HQ.
August 2011 ~ 2014
Funky Sprout continues to grow, selling out at fayres and releasing new products. Becky helps to establish the BiG Young Entrepreneurs Club and sits as a board member.
I continued to develop Funky Sprout alongside my studies and an intensive water polo training regime. I took part in the Kelham Island Victorian Christmas market and sold out! I remember staying up until the early hours frantically making more stock for the next day of trading. I was invited to speak at business launches, met famous faces such as Levi Roots, helped to establish the BiG Young Entrepreneurs Club and mentored BiG Challenge teams at my old secondary school.
2015 ~ 2016
Funky Sprout has a major change of direction and briefly becomes a visual media company!
Going into college, I developed a keen interest in all things digital media. Funky Sprout briefly takes a hiatus, whilst I experiment with music photography, filmmaking and radio production and focus on gaining my A-Levels and BTEC qualifications. A year later I head to the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, where once again I dabble with entrepreneurship. During this time, I actually pitched ‘Funky Sprout Media’ as a music photography business! And yes, I did meet the big man!
2017 ~ 2018
Funky Sprout is rebranded. Becky starts offering workshops, jewellery making parties and raises over £100 for the Danny Porter Foundation from sales of her Hallam University varsity bracelets.
As I went into University, I also decided to start Funky Sprout back up again, this time staying true to its origins as a jewellery retailer. I’ve always been inspired to share what I’ve learned with others and started delivering jewellery making workshops and children’s parties. During the 2018 Varsity games, I designed Team Hallam bracelets which were sold in aid of a local charity.
16th June, 2018
Funky Sprout stands at Sheffield Youth Market, its first big event since relaunch.
In typically British fashion, it rained all day at the Peace Gardens. Fortunately, the hardy folk of Sheffield came out in droves to support the City’s first (and only, to this date) Youth Market. It was my first big event since relaunching the business and featured classic Funky Sprout pieces as well as brand new designs. To my delight I nearly sold out, again!
1st August, 2018
Funky Sprout is invited to take part in the Youth Market Regional Final on Yorkshire Day – and wins a Highly Commended trophy!
The event in Leeds Kirkgate Market was absolutely buzzing with row upon row of young traders and their stalls, dressed to the nines in the hope of attracting the attention of the mystery judges. The market was my first opportunity to connect with other young business people since being part of the BiG YEC and it was a great chance to network and make lasting friendships. After attempting (and smashing!) a world record for most flat caps worn in one room, to my surprise I was awarded a Highly Commended trophy for my efforts!
31st August ~ 1st September, 2018
Funky Sprout attends the Youth Market National Final in Stratford-upon-Avon.
After a fantastic day in Leeds, I was thrilled to be representing Sheffield at the Youth Market National Final at the stunning waterside in Stratford-Upon-Avon. I’d never done a two-day event so far from home and was looking forward to the challenge! Ambitiously, I had decided to run a drop in jewellery making workshop alongside selling my jewellery, which went down a storm with parents who enjoyed a quiet break and a bit of relief from the scorching sunshine whilst their children crafted. We didn’t claim any prizes this time, but it was our most successful event to date and we were absolutely chuffed for the winner and the three Yorkshire lasses who were Highly Commended.
October ~ December 2018
Funky Sprout recruits five new stockists and gains traction as a jewellery wholesaler, supplying to shops across Derbyshire and beyond.
The new range of jewellery had gone down so well on my stalls I decided it was time to open my jewellery up to trade, quickly recruiting five stockists before Christmas. To complement my move towards eco-friendly packaging, I am now supplying wooden stands made from reclaimed pallets to make displaying the jewellery in shops a doddle. I took the plunge and decided to leave University in order to pursue the business full time.
2019 ~ 2020
Funky Sprout embarks on its biggest run of fayres and festivals ever, attending fifteen over the course of the summer!
Inspired by the success of last year’s Youth Markets, I went absolutely bonkers booking fayres and events left, right and centre. We stood at events from local galas, to fayres in City Centres, to huge capacity festivals including Splendour in Nottingham and Deer Shed in North Yorkshire. Despite being an experienced stallholder, I learned a lot in this concentrated, fast and furious period. I also started stocking fairly traded bohemian style clothing and accessories to accompany the jewellery.
Brand new website is launched, and Funky Sprout looks forward to the next decade in business!
After years of developing my own online presence, I took the plunge and decided to commission a professional website to provide a premium experience for my lovely retail customers and wholesale stockists. I hope you all like it! If you have any feedback, suggestions, fancy a chat about any of the organisations I’ve mentioned, or you’d be interested in becoming our newest stockist, please get in touch.
To be continued...
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