Thursday, September 24, 2009

Designer Makes Global Splash

Print designer Marisa Hopkins is creating a splash in the global fashion world .
Marisa, 27, of Liverpool whose designs are snapped up by the likes of Calvin Klein, Gap, Anthropologie and Amanda Wakeley is also working on a special project with Radio 1 DJ Fearne Cotton and model turned designer, Jasmine Guinness.
And that’s not all Marisa, who has a Print Design degree from Nottingham Trent University, recently set up her own online vintage clothing shop, Akako Rose Vintage
The former New York based designer said:
“Since graduating I have worked for other people and built up lots of skills, experience and contacts. I just decided that now was the right time for me to go it alone.
“My Ebay shop is going really well and I am beginning to build up some good freelance work, with companies such as Littlewoods where I used to work. Both sides of my business go really well together - I get a lot of my inspiration for print design from the vintage clothing I am selling on Ebay.
“I love working for myself. It has given me so much flexibility and the freedom to do my own thing.
As part of her work for Littlewoods, Marisa is currently working on a number of celebrity brands including Jasmine Guinness, Fearne Cotton, Caprice, Ann Louise Roswald and Amanda Wakley.
“I became self-employed because one day I am hoping to develop my own prints and clothing range. When you work for some one else as a designer, you never really get to use your creativity as you would like to. But, now that I am my own boss I will be able to get creative and develop my own range is something I’ve looked forward to doing.”
Marisa came to Train 2000 after hearing about the organisation from a friend who had also become self-employed.
“I told my friend I was thinking about becoming my own boss and that’s when she told me about Train 2000, I’m so glad I went along as the help, free advice and support I received was fantastic. An adviser helped me to put together my business plan and they answered any questions I had along the way.”
Anyone who would like to find about more about Marisa’s work can visit and put in Akako Rose in the search box.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

You Read It Here First

Last week Train 2000 told you about our client Susan Comer who designed a tippet for her muse, Tilda Swinton.

Today The Liverpool Echo featured Susan.

Read about it here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Susan Meets Her Muse

Merseyside businesswoman Susan Comer has turned a dream into reality by seeing Hollywood superstar Tilda Swinton wear her hand-made design.
Susan, 46, graduated in 2006 with a First Class degree in design from Hope University and creates one-off wearable art pieces by deconstructing vintage garments, which can either be worn or displayed.

“Tilda has always been my muse because I feel she personnifies my customer - free spirited with a strong personality; a woman who is confident in who she is and will wear what she wants as opposed to what fashion dictates,” said Susan who lives in Crosby.
And when she heard that Tilda was visiting the UK for a Scottish Arts festival Susan took the tippet (a type of scarf) she had made for Tilda and presented it to her.

“At first I didn’t have the courage to talk to Tilda. Then I realised I may never get the chance again and I took a deep breath and walked up to her.
We chatted for ages and she loved the tippet so much she put it on and was very happy to have her photograph taken. It was a wonderful experience.”

Susan’s business which is based at Creative Space in Knowsley began as a childhood passion for creating new pieces of clothing but it wasn’t until she completed her Design degree that she felt ready to transform her creative ideas into a business.
“The skills, enthusiasm and passion for design, which I had developed throughout my studies, was the starting point and inspiration to look at the possibility of starting my own design led business. I then started to look for support and guidance to enable this to happen and found the advice I required through Train 2000 and Creativebias.
“Train 2000 has been an invaluable asset to my company.
They helped me put a business plan together and sourced where I could get a starting up grant from, which I couldn’t possibly have done alone.
I have attended a variety of workshops ranging from finance to PR which I wouldn’t have had access to without their help.
Susan was recently awarded an Entrepreneur Fellowship from Liverpool John Moore’s University and has set herself a new goal.
Her next dream is to create a red carpet piece of work for Tilda Swinton to wear to the Oscar’s.”

Susan’s work will be on display at The Liverpool Design Festival’s Fashion Lab between Friday 30 October and Sunday 1 November 2009 at the Crypt Hall in The Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.
To find out more about Susan Comer’s work visit or call 07950 176 611.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September's Featured Client Offers Meals for Home

As a single parent and working mum Debbie Roberts knew all too well how difficult it was to cook a family meal at the end of a long day – and it was this that inspired her to set up her own business Meals For Home.

“My business is a bit like meals on wheels” said Debbie, “only I provide the service to anyone who wants it. I know how difficult it is to come home and cook, so hopefully through my business I can ease that burden from other people.”

Debbie was made redundant from her position as a legal assistant at a Liverpool law firm last year and it was following this that she came along to Train 2000, starting firstly on the Be Enterprising programme, which begins with personal development training, before she accessed business planning support and one-to-one advice.

She said: “The help and support I have received from Train 2000 has been fantastic. Going on the personal development programme really helped to give me the confidence I needed to turn my business idea into a reality.”

Train 2000’s Be Enterprising programme prepares and gives women the self confidence and belief they need to move forward and become self-employed.

Debbie said: “I would recommend personal development courses to anyone, they are extremely helpful in enabling you to learn about yourself and in giving you greater confidence. The business training and working one-to-one with an enabler was also extremely useful for me, as I knew nothing about running a business.”

Through Meals For Home Debbie provides home cooked meals to families and individuals throughout the South Liverpool area and says that despite having only just set up, her client base is growing fast.

“Already I am doing well and getting requests for meals. The business is open five days a week and I have a set menu for people to choose from.

“I am delighted with how well my business is going so far and after spending so much time out of the house, I am thoroughly enjoying working from home.”

50-year-old Debbie, who is mum to her now grown up children aged 23, 21 and 17, says that this is the happiest time of her life.

“Whilst I was bringing up my children and working full time I seemed to spend my life rushing around” said Debbie, “Now, I can enjoy my time and my work. I really enjoy cooking so this doesn’t even feel like work to me. And, I honestly feel as though I get to spend more time with my children now, than I ever did. My children are really supportive of my business venture.”

Prior to setting up her business Debbie gained her food hygiene certificate and had her kitchen approved by Liverpool City Council.

To find out more about Meals for Home please visit or for further information call Debbie on 0151 475 1540, or to find out more about the Be Enterprising Programme and other services on offer from Train 2000 visit

Train 2000 unveils the £5m shape of Women's Enterprise in Liverpool

Train 2000, has unveiled a first image of the £5.3 m Women’s International Centre for Economic Development (WICED) which will open in the city centre in 2010.
WICED is to be located in the Baltic Triangle on the corner of St James Street and Norfork Street and will be the hub of international research on female entrepreneurship.
It will also provide a range of enterprise support services including space for up to 80 business units to help women start and grow their businesses.
The 2,000sqm centre aims to ‘break the gender gap’ in starting businesses and is expected to help 3,000 women set up businesses in the next 10 years creating 4,500 new jobs. Initatives planned for the centre by Train 2000 and the WICED team have already been hailed as “amongst the best I’ve ever seen” by the world’s leading expert on women’s enterprise , Professor Patricia Greene of Babson College, USA who visited Liverpool to review the plans in May this year.Maggie O’Carroll, Executive Director of Train 2000 said:“We are creating the most advanced centre for women’s’ entrepreneurship and economic development in the world - right here in Liverpool.
It will connect to a global network helping to create the conditions for more sustainable and high growth women’s businesses”.
“In the 13 years since Train 2000 was set up we have shown how to provide innovative support mechanisms to accelerate the pace of creating and growing women-owned businesses and the WICED centre will only accelerate that process.”
The new-build project will contain a range of offices, training & conference facilities and incubator space for new businesses.
It is being jointly-funded by WICED
Deputy Council Leader at Liverpool City Council, Cllr Flo Clucas said:“Liverpool City Council is fully behind the WICED plans and we are delighted that the plans are being internationally recognized for something that will happen right here in
Work on the building which has been designed by Liverpool based architects, Nightingales will begin in October and is expected to be completed in late 2010.


The £5m Womens’ International Centre for Economic Development (WICED) will comprise of 2,000sqm located in the heart of Liverpool and is expected to help 3,000 women set up business creating 4,500 new jobs over the next ten years. The WICED will be the hub of international research on female entrepreneurship as well as providing a range of enterprise support services including space for up to 80 business units to help women start and grow their businesses.The new-build project, expected to reach completion in late 2010, will contain a range of offices, training & conference facilities and incubator space for new businesses. It is being jointly-funded by WICED, the North West Development Agency, Future Builders and Liverpool Council. WICED, a registered charity, was re-launched this year with the merge of two organisations, Train 2000 and the Women’s Electronic Village Hall.