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My Journey to Bespoke Labels

From a young age I always wanted to run my own business but I would never have guessed I would be where I am today…

I suppose the story begins whilst I was attending the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow doing my Management Science Degree. Management Science is “a logical and analytical approach to management and how it impacts an organisation.” Why did I choose this… truth be told when I applied for University, I didn’t know what I wanted to do! But I knew my dream was to one day run my own business, so this seemed a good course to give me the foundations I needed to start.

At the end of my university course, I got sucked into the “norm” of applying for graduate jobs. In July 2012 my application to Rolls-Royce was accepted and this is where I spent the next 8 years of my life! During my time at Rolls-Royce, I experienced many different jobs roles. In the early years I was an Overhaul Engineer and Customer Service Assistant, then I worked my way up the ladder and applied for my first management role as a Project Manager.

My application was successful and I became integral in what we called the “Gemini Project” – moving the whole site from where we were originally based in East Kilbride to merge with another Rolls-Royce plant in Inchinnan, Glasgow. The site I was based in at the time serviced aeroplane engines, which involved over 500 staff and 1000s of machinery and equipment - this project was tough! But over the span of two years and hard work, the site was successfully moved to Inchinnan.

After this project was completed, I was appointed as Production Manager, a job which involved managing over 50 team members who were responsible for disassembling, inspecting, repairing and then reassembling the aeroplane engines; this was the last role I had within Rolls-Royce…

In March 2020, COVID-19 hit the world and everything changed. Almost every aeroplane in the world was grounded and this posed a major problem for Rolls-Royce Inchinnan. The plant was responsible for repairing aeroplane engines, with no flights, there was nothing to repair.

By mid-April 2020 over half of Rolls-Royce Inchinnan staff were put on furlough, including me.

With the sudden abundance of free time, I picked up a hobby selling candles and wax melts. To help sell and make them stand out, I started to make personalised labels for the candles and labels to stick on boxes and bags to make beautiful gift sets.

When people saw the labels, they started to ask me where they could get their hands on some for their own products, so I created a few labels for them. I remember the buzz realising It was something I really loved doing. I knew I wanted to do it ALL the time.

But the risk of leaving my job with a young family to support was too much, so I continued doing it as a hobby. That was until 3rd June 2020 when - on a dreaded zoom call - we were told by our site Managing Director that all 600 Inchinnan Aerospace employees were being made redundant and the site was to be fully closed down by the end of the year.

At the time I was devastated, fear set in and the pressure to find a new job was unbearable. Whilst applying for new jobs I couldn’t help but feel dread. Dread of taking on another Production Manager role when, if I was completely honest, I didn’t actually enjoy. Yes, my role in Rolls-Royce brought in a steady wage and I really loved my team members and fellow managers… but after taking a step back I realised that wasn’t enough for me – I wanted to do something I was passionate about, something that made me feel excited and motivated – something that made me feel how I did when I was making and selling labels.

It dawned on me, this was my opportunity to peruse my dream of running my own business, doing the thing I had wanted to do since I was in High School.

After a long chat with my husband and lots of financial planning, I decided to take the leap, I was going to do it! And that is when Bespoke Labels was established in June 2020.

After working from my home study for two months it was apparent with the number of orders I received quickly increasing, I needed to take things to the next level – I needed an industrial printer and a bigger premises to be based in.

One sunny afternoon, whilst catching up in my dad’s garden I told him about my venture and plans to grow. He was and still is my go-to for business advice as he established his own business – Avonclyde Ltd – over 30 years ago. Avonclyde specialises in industrial labels, so with the opportunity for Bespoke Labels to grow primarily in the commercial market it made sense that we merged and grew together. In September 2020 Bespoke Labels moved into Avonclyde Ltd premises and purchased our first Industrial Label printer – the Memjet Afinia L901.

From that point onward Bespoke Labels has gone from strength to strength, growing our fabulous customer base – whom without, none of this would have been possible! We now have two amazing industrial printing machines which has expanded the materials and labels we can supply, and, as well as the availability of cutting machines from Avonclyde, we have a Bespoke Label cutting machine on the way for 2022 which will allow us to cut ANY shape and size of labels.

Life has a funny way of working but one thing I'm sure of now: we are all made of so much more than we think. We can turn a devastating situation into some of the best things to happen to you.

I cannot wait to see where Bespoke Labels journey will go next and would love for you to come with me. Order your free sample pack here and see just what we can do!

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