An entrepreneur who created a £25m fashion empire from her home has been honoured by the North East University where she developed her love for design.
Alice Hall, founder of online fashion brand Pink Boutique, has already been named as ‘one-to-watch’ in European Business after making it on to the prestigious Forbes Under 30 European List.
Now she has been awarded the title of University of Sunderland Alumni Achiever of the Year 2018 after being nominated by alumni and staff members.
Pro Vice-Chancellor Graeme Thompson said: “Alice has been a wonderful ambassador for the University and for the North East where she grew up. Her entrepreneurial flair, ambition and leadership skills have seen her transform her business year on year, from humble beginnings into the multi-million-pound empire it is today.
“Not only has she created jobs and investment in this region for dozens of people but continues to support other aspiring entrepreneurs, hoping her story can inspire future business leaders to take a leap of faith just like she did.
“We are very proud that Alice has been recognised for her achievements since graduating in journalism by being named our Alumni Achiever of the Year.”
Alice says she is the classic ‘accidental’ entrepreneur. Struggling to pay her bills she bought a pack of six dresses for £90 to sell online. She borrowed half the money from her mum Julie and when they sold, she bought two packs, and when they sold, she bought four, she kept doubling up and the rest, they say, is history.
The company now sees annual sales of around £25m and Alice plans to expand it into the US and Australia.
Alice said: “I’m absolutely delighted to receive the Alumni of the Year award.
"I think my degree gave me such a solid grounding to set up my own business, I have noticed all of those skills I learned when I was at Sunderland emerge.
"It's such an honour and such a privilege. I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams that I'd be back here collecting this award.”
Alice continues to maintain her close links with the University, through regular talks and presentations.
It’s been a long journey over the past six years for Alice, taking the business from her living room into a factory in Newcastle.
But her advice to others venturing out on their own is: “Be determined and resourceful with your own time and skills. Use every minute of every hour that you can to work on your business. If you don’t know something; Google it, learn it, don’t use that as an excuse.”
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