Young Entrepreneurs: Maria Allen, Maria Allen Boutique

Combining creativity with ethics has proved a powerful mix for Allen, whose firm counts the Tate, the British Museum and David Cameron as clients…

Name: Maria Allen (pictured, middle)
Company: Maria Allen Boutique
Age: 25
Website: www.mariaallenboutique.com

A champion of the Made-in-Britain slogan, young entrepreneur Maria Allen’s namesake business creates beautiful and sustainable gifts and products; and with its careful balance of consciousness and style the business has gone from strength to strength.

Entrepreneurial from a very young age, the female founder’s first foray into business was at the tender age of 14, when she started selling handmade greetings cards and, having “learnt a lot about the basics of business”, at 18, after struggling to find unique jewellery to wear while at university, the idea was sparked for her current venture.

Launched with just a couple of hundred pounds by selling her handmade jewellery from an Etsy account, to-date the 25 year-old has never borrowed a penny to fund the firm, which, impressively, began generating a profit from day one.

Nowadays the business – run from a studio based in Brighton – has a growing team, a popular online retail channel, over 70 stockists worldwide, and exclusive partnerships with The British Museum, Tate Galleries and The Royal Academy of Arts.

Allen has managed to create a business that stands out – turning over £350,000 last year – in a competitive and condensed market by reclaiming old wood to handcraft personalised and unique merchandise.

The company, which initially found popularity (profiled by national publications such as Glamour, Cosmopolitan and The Times) with its tailored love letter necklaces and envelope cufflinks, favoured and worn by the Prime Minster, has now expanded its product range from exclusively jewellery to wedding, homeware and accessory collections.

According to the young entrepreneur the aim for the future is to continue the brand’s upward ascent. With turnovers projected to reach half a million by the end of 2015 – Allen has ambitious plans to introduce new product ranges, develop existing ones and expand into more overseas markets, all while remaining a responsibly sourced and Britain-based company.

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