From MissFit to award winner

Not everyone needs to go to university to succeed. After struggling to find a blouse to fit for job interviews, Nikki Hesford, 25, started her own company selling clothes to big busted women and won the Natwest everywoman Artemis award

Not everyone needs to go to university to succeed. After struggling to find a blouse to fit for job interviews, Nikki Hesford, 25, started her own company selling clothes to big busted women and won the Natwest everywoman Artemis award.

Having left school, she fell pregnant at 18 and gave birth to a little boy. To support her son, Nikki tried several jobs including, waitressing, training as a chef, being a secretary and even working as a glamour model before setting up her own business in April 2008.

‘The idea came from my personal issue of finding a blouse to fit a fuller bust for job interviews,’ she explains. ‘I could only find one company in the UK that worked for me, but as a fashion-conscious 21-year-old without much money, the styles were undesirable and unaffordable.’

So, after much research, Nikki realised that this was a gap in the market. She set up Miss Fit UK with very little money, financing everything using credit cards, personal loans and the equity in her home.

She now owns Miss Fit UK, a successful group of brands that manufacture clothes for big busted women for the high street, and last year she won the everywoman Artemis award – for the most inspirational woman running a business under 25.

‘As an ex-glamour model, whenever I have received award nominations or positive press in the past I’ve been accused of getting there because the organisers are men. So to win an award that is by women, for women, meant so much more to me than any other award,’ she says. ‘Being able to call yourself an ‘award-winning businesswoman’ adds to your value in business and gives clients faith in your ability.’

If you have an award-winning success story similar to Nikki’s, enter the Natwest everywoman Awards by July 22.

For more careers advice or to join our Inspire & Mentor Campaign, click here.

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