For 20 years Tracie Peisley, from Whitstable, has successfully been working as a teacher and art therapist with children.

However, in 2012 she lost her job which was devastating for her: “The loss of my job in 2012 made me feel unemployable and as though something had stolen my identity.”

Inherently creative, Tracie was inspired one day by her three year old daughter’s doll and assembled an eclectic mixture of fabrics together. “I based my design on the 50’s dresses I enjoy wearing – flamboyant and feminine - and employed a friend to make it up for me.”

Tracie used to go to her job seekers interviews with a heavy heart, but when she heard about the New Enterprise Allowance, she saw a light at the end of the tunnel. “The mentor at PeoplePlus has been fantastic. He was so supportive about what I was wearing and he made me realise I could make a career out of my artistic talent”

Accessing the New Enterprise Allowance Programme through PeoplePlus enabled Tracie to find the courage to take on new challenges, experience something completely new and learning by doing: “I’m a creative person but there some things I’m not so good at, like putting together a business plan and spreadsheets – the mentor was brilliant at helping me sort all that out”

We are passionate about helping people turn their ideas and talents into a successful business and raising their self-esteem: “In my ‘floral armour’ I feel resilient and strangely I even get treated differently. Doors open – people smile at me. I feel really good in the outfits that I create.”

Thanks to the support received through the NEA, Tracie’s enterprise, Peisley Originals, is steadily growing. She is applying 30 years of fine art practice to making couture clothing which she likes to refer to as ‘floral armour’. Having already exhibited her creations locally in Whitstable and at the NEA Christmas Market in London organised by the Department for Work and Pensions, she is now frequently invited to exhibit at other fashion events. People even approach Tracie in the street asking where they can buy the outfits!

Want to be your own boss? If you want to discuss your options with one of our Enterprise Advisors, find your local branch or give us a call today – we’d love to hear from you.