Success is not defined by exam results, being in the A team or being cast as the main part in a play. Those things are all subject to one person's opinion. Success is defined by pursuing what makes you happy.
I began to design my LivvyB bedding personally with some input from my daughters and friends. However, that all changed one day whilst walking with a friend.
During our walk my friend expressed to me her concerns for her daughter and the sheer amount of stress she was experiencing with the build up to her GCSE's. Her daughter is dyslexis and the school was putting huge pressure on her to achieve certain grades. If she didn't achieve them, she wouldn't be able to go into the 6th form to do her A levels.
The levels of anxiousness were such that every weekend the parents were firefighting her emotional rollercoaster, trying in every possible way to keep her positive and in a healthy mental state, something of which I know only too well from personal experience. It is all consuming and intensely frightening to experience your child in that way.
For those who don't know me, I'm dyslexic and spent the majority of my school life feeling totally thick, stupid, that I would never be able to achieve anything worthwhile in my life because that was what I was told in one way or another by pretty much everyone. The effect this has had on me during my life has been huge but I will write more of this at another time.
So how could I help in some way?
The teenager is an extremely talented artist and so I then realised actually who better to ask to help design some bedding for teenagers, than a teenager herself. I also hoped it would help her to have a focus away from the pressure she was experiencing and give her mental health a rest. Even for just a short period of time. To realise that exams and academics aren't everything in life, if you don't pass an exam, it won't define your life or you and there is so much more out there.
Not only did she draw for me but she was involved in choosing colours, deciding on print patterns, sized etc. etc. She came up with a fabulous paisley print and chose gorgeous colours that I would never have thought of and it's been one of my best sellers. Of course I paid her for her design and which teenager doesn't love a bit of money to spend on clothes!
So that was it, I felt so strongly about what our teenagers/children have to go through and all the challenges they face not just academically but with all the social media, for some it's also their home life. I decided that I wanted to keep working with teenagers on my designs.
Currently I have two lovely girls helping me with the new designs and I love it, I really really love it!
I feel so passionate and strongly about this important topic for teenagers that I have teamed up with mind.org to help raise money towards teenage mental health and I now donate 10% of my profits to mind.org.
I hope to do more if my business succeeds but I at least feel I am helping in some way for now.