Kirsteen, 34, left education to find there were very few jobs in her local area of Orkney, Scotland, particularly in her chosen field of textile and fashion. With a lack of opportunity, Kirsteen began to make her own jewellery and accessories from her kitchen table.
She began selling her creations and realised this could become a good source of much-needed income. A friend had received support from The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme, and urged Kristeen to apply.
Help from a business mentor and a loan enabled an excited Kirsteen to move into her own studio and retail space as she formed Kirsteen Stewart Designs.
The business mentor assisted her with all areas of finance, business structure and eventually launching her very own retail store.
Since she launched her business in 2009, Kirsteen now designs and creates two ranges, a fashion print range, Kirsteen Stewart, and a knit range, Mixter Maxter knitwear. Inspired by the landscape and experience of island living, both lines are manufactured in the UK.
Kirsteen works with local suppliers in the Orkney area and champions ethical design. Her product range has grown and she has customers and wholesale partners in the UK, Europe, Japan and USA.
As her business has expanded, Kirsteen has been able to support the local economy through employment of three young people as well as offering 25 placements for young people aged 16 to 21 years old.
In the future, Kirsteen is hoping to open more stores and continue international expansion.
Kirsteen said: “Being involved with The Trust is like being part of one big family. It’s been such an inspiring journey, I can’t wait to see where my business will take me.”
Take a look at Kirsteen's range >