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Eloise Clarkson, Barnsley College student and owner of ExpressionsEl, working on an upcoming crochet product.

Barnsley College (@barnsleycollege) student, Eloise Clarkson, has turned her true passion into a business as she launches ExpressionEl, handcrafting one-of-a-kind crochet pieces with the help of iTrust, the College’s business start-up programme exclusively for students.

After becoming interested in the equipment used in the industry and teaching herself how to crochet through video tutorials and books, Eloise began to make small pieces such as coasters and sharing them with her family and friends.

Eloise made the decision to step away from social media to allow herself to become totally immersed in her newfound hobby and develop a love for the art form. Eloise has now returned to Instagram to launch a business page which she uses to showcase her latest creations and commissioned clothing pieces such as tops and hats.

Currently studying Level 3 Art and Design, Eloise said:

“I never started this with the intention of it being a business but it took me aback when I sold four tops within the first week of uploading my creations to social media. Quicker than I could process, people were taking a real interest in my work and the love was overwhelming.

“When I began hand-stitching garment labels onto cotton and packing my products for shipping, I knew this way of working confirmed I wanted to be my own boss; make my own rules, remain independent and feel pride in my very own creations.”

Eloise has now been working on her business for seven months and revealed that her key to success is making sure to create something every day, whether it’s small or an addition to a larger project.

Barnsley College’s Enterprise department is home to the iTrust initiative, a joint venture between the College, The Barnsley Chronicle and The Business Village, which supports students interested in starting up a business in Barnsley. Students who choose to receive support from iTrust will have access to an array of information and guidance such as mentoring from industry specialists and local businesses and financial investments.

As part of the iTrust programme, Eloise will also receive a grant of up to £250 which she will use to create branding, source compostable packaging and environmentally friendly materials to create her products.

Lee Perks, Enterprise Team Leader at Barnsley College, said:

“Eloise is so driven and passionate about what she does and demonstrates this through the amount of commitment she has shown to her business as well as the internal opportunities she has been involved in throughout College such as our annual Christmas Market. I am really looking forward to working with Eloise and watching her business grow and develop.”

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