Jevean Barryclough was at a bit of a crossroads in her life. She had run small businesses in her teenage years but after not finishing a college course and knowing that she didn’t want to go to university, she was then living in the US for three months and “didn’t know what to do”.
“I did want to pursue my education and get a qualification but hadn’t managed to make it down the educational route,” said Jevean. “A lack of support meant that I’d dropped out of a previous course, and I wanted stability back in the UK.”
Jevean began to research different courses, mainly in her home area of Luton and in London. However, it all changed when she spoke to her sister who was studying for a Doctorate in Leicester. She encouraged Jevean to look at local courses and this resulted in an application to Leicester College for a Level 3 Business course.
The team at Leicester College believed that given her background in developing small businesses, Jevean would be more suited to the Business Enterprise (Peter Jones) BTEC National Foundation Diploma level 3. She applied, was accepted, and said that it “happened so naturally, it was meant to be”.
Awards nomination is testament to progress
“I moved to Leicester and joined Leicester College where I have progressed really well. My programme leads believed in me and encouraged me to apply for the Peter Jones Foundation 2023 awards.”
Jevean reached the finals of the 2023 competition and was eventually crowned Entrepreneur of the Year.
As part of the judging, Jevean pitched her business ideas to Peter Jones CBE, Dragon on BBC’s hit series Dragons’ Den, along with a panel of celebrated business figures.
Jevean won the top prize of £5,000 and is now become a brand ambassador for the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy for the duration of the year-long title. With the £5,000 investment, Jevean aims to launch a unisex fashion collection and propel her design into the mainstream.
Talking about her win, Jevean said: “I had a good feeling about the award beforehand and it felt right to win. The judging panel believed that I have a different take on clothing which makes my brand unique and stand out.
“The award has provided me with a national platform to elevate and articulate my brand in the way that I want to. I’m delighted to have won and excited to see where the investment will take my business.”
Bringing Da Goat Clothing brand alive
Jevean runs her own ‘Da Goat Clothing’ sustainable clothing brand, championing ‘slow fashion’, ethical practices and re-purposing old clothes into new products.
The business started in 2020 during lockdown when Jevean brought her creative flow to re-purposing clothes. To counter the impact that fast fashion has on the environment, the mission of the business is to design sustainable clothing brands.
Jevean continues: “In Gen Z, everyone is into fast fashion. I want to offer an alternative to this and deliver one of the first luxury, urban, sustainable brands in the mainstream market.
“Although I started the business for fun, I now have a different outlook. We can customise the clothes to the client, making unique pieces. I’m currently designing a 20-piece unisex collection, using sustainable manufacturers and packaging that we plan to launch in the coming months.
“Hopefully, the profile gained from the Peter Jones Foundation awards will help me to leverage investment that will bring the new collection to life, showcasing it to a much wider audience and enabling me to build the business to even recruit and train new people.”
Supported throughout College course
“After a few bumps in the road including changing environments, coming to Leicester, and living by myself, the transition has been hard, but I’ve had good support from my family and the College.
“Consequently, Leicester College has been one of first times in education where I’ve felt supported and wanted. This has allowed me to do better, learning skills to adapt and evaluate in an entrepreneurial world.
“I’ve enjoyed the course so far with great support from my teachers and the College treats you well. It’s a very happy education place. I’ve embraced the opportunity and feel like I’m supposed to be here!”