Young Innovators Success Stories: Michelle Best, Blossom and Best, East Midlands
For Michelle Best, receiving an Innovate UK Young Innovators Award 2020/21 has allowed her to grow both as an entrepreneur and as a business woman, building networks to better young people’s lives.
As the Founder of Blossom and Best, her aim is to enable children suffering from incontinence, due to a range of health issues and disabilities, to be themselves without stigma through her flagship product Magic Pants.
Inspired to make a change through her own daughter’s experience of urinary and faecal incontinence, Michelle applied for the award with the aim to take her business to the next level.
She says she has embraced the full range of support available via KTN to experience some ‘really big moments’ over the past year.
At the time of receiving the Award, Michelle had launched Magic Pants on maker site Etsy and was seeing sales slowly trickle in. Fast-track 12 months and she has been invited to provide a tender to the NHS and is in conversations with supermarket giant Tesco.
Michelle says, “The NHS is where I believe Magic Pants can be really useful for people and their situations. So, being told to put in a bid for their next tender in 2025 was so exciting for us – to be acknowledged as a product and to have the NHS be interested in it.”
She adds, “Blossom and Best has grown and networked hugely with others from all diverse backgrounds. We have been busy talking to charities and other companies to bring awareness and promote our #FightTheStigma campaign.”
A highlight of the past year was also being shortlisted in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.
Michelle made full use of the financial grant awarded by Innovate UK and deployed the funds to pay for trademarking and to start building her website.
“These costs were important, as an e-commerce website was a much needed piece of work to really make Blossom and Best look the best it can and help us operate flawlessly when we move to warehousing and orders are growing,” she says.
The support of her Innovation Champion, matched to her through the wider support programme, has also proved invaluable. While always being in her corner, the Innovation Champion provided positive critical input into her plans and taught her to be more business-minded in her thinking.
Despite currently recovering from a major spinal operation herself, Michelle has major plans for the coming year. Upcoming milestones will be to launch her website, start commercial manufacturing, and get ready for the NHS tender submission. She will also be further promoting her #FightTheStigma campaign to schools, communities, and workplaces.
To future cohorts of Young Innovators Award holders and aspiring innovators, she says, “Be open minded and don’t worry when your dream plan to do something goes off course and turns in a northern direction, as you may find that direction one day will be the best path for your business.
“Navigating your way around is not easy on your own, so take full advantage of KTN’s network and resources as they are there for your needs and extremely helpful.”
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