Alex Barwell: 'StartUp UK is so well suited to us – we've found you just in the nick of time!'

Alex Barwell: 'StartUp UK is so well suited to us – we've found you just in the nick of time!'

Posted: Thu 3rd Aug 2023

StartUp UK is Enterprise Nation's scheme to provide free tailored support to budding entrepreneurs.

Backed by the UK government and Monzo Business, the programme delivers initiatives such as e-learning, online training, national events and flagship annual conferences throughout the UK.

As the scheme continues to run, we're talking to some of the businesses that have been taking part, to hear how it's benefited them so far.

Here, we talk to Alex Barwell of Olive & Wallis, a jewellery business and brand she co-founded and runs with her sister Laura.

How did you come up with your business idea?

Easy – we're two sisters who love jewellery! It's taken a couple of years to hone our physical jewellery-making skills and also to ensure what we make is priced correctly.

We love pure silver, for example, but when it came to pricing the pieces, it was unprofitable. It was a hard lesson and gut-wrenching to have spent lost of time and money.


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You've taken part in Enterprise Nation's StartUp UK programme. What were your reasons for doing it?

We're a sister team and feel beyond lucky to have the two of us. However, we continuously feel overwhelmed by the myriad of hats we have to wear.

We know we're spreading ourselves too thinly and we're keen to become more focused and work out what our priorities should be. We feel that this programme is so well suited to us and that we've found you just in the nick of time!

How has the StartUp UK programme benefited you and your business so far?

I'm just starting out on the programme. So far, I've attended a few webinars, some more targeted to my needs than others, but I always find the information useful and it just feels like a supportive community.

What's the best advice you've received from taking part in StartUp UK?

Planning! This is vital for us. We now know that January to early April is our quietest selling time and so we're in the process of gaining tools that will allow us to use this time better.

Do you have any business advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs?

Keep going. It's hard and we thank the universe everyday that we have each other. You're going to have maybe several bad days each month, but roll with them as best you can. Because when the good days come, it all becomes so worthwhile.


StartUp UK: Turn your good idea into a great business

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Visit the StartUp UK hub for resources that give you the education and inspiration to get started on your entrepreneurial journey.

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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