Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines


Hi my name is Helen and I own an Etsy shop called Hand Stitched by Helen. I first began sewing during my first year at university whilst I was studying Nursing and took the plunge to create and sell my handmade products in September 2020. I started sewing as a way to destress from uni life and to create something beautiful and wearable at the same time. I run my Etsy shop and Instagram (@HandStitchedByHelen) at the same time as being a full time Staff Nurse in the British Army. I graduated at the start of last year and had around 6 weeks of normality until the COVID pandemic hit, so as I’m sure you can imagine, it has been quite a turbulent year! In my spare time (the little amount I have!) I go cycling and running.

1. How did you gather the confidence to start your business? How do you intend to balance your time between your two professions?



I decided to take the plunge and set up my etsy shop back in July 2020 and it took around 2 months to get some stock items designed and made, therefore I officially launched after my birthday in September. I gathered the confidence to do this from my peers. I had a lot of my friends and work colleagues asking for me to make them face masks with matching scrunchies and it took quiet a few people to convince me they were good enough to sell to the public – and I am so glad I did! I somehow manage to balance my business venture and being a full time nurse by using my evenings and days off productively. I like to get orders set out within 48hours of them coming in so I can continue my time management effectively and create new release products at the same time. I intend to continue my business until I simply don’t have the time to run it anymore and nursing will always come first.

2. If someone were to invest lots of money into your small business but wants to take control of the quantity and quality of scrunchies, would you agree to the offer? Why or why not?


I would very quickly decline. I am very particular of the standard of my products and I like to ensure only the best is being sent out to my customers. As a result of this, I like to oversee everything and know that I am continuing my high standards in all areas.

3. When did you realise you had the potential to do something great in your life for yourself? What can you say to those who still haven’t found their calling?



For some people they know what they want to do from a young age and they take steps to ensure it happens, whether this be choosing the right A levels, college courses or volunteering to get work experience within that chosen area to build your case to a future boss why they should employ you – this is what I did and it worked for me! But for those who haven’t found their calling and know what they want to do in life, there is no set time when you should achieve specific goals. Do what makes you happy. Work within a profession or area that makes you want to go to work each day – then you will have found your calling.


4. As a 23 year old entrepreneur and full time Staff Nurse, would you take risks with your business even when the stakes are too high? Why or why not?



I would never take risks with my business as I intend for it to remain as a job on the side from my nursing as I would never give up my full time job for it -  I simply love nursing too much. I also wouldn’t take too many risks in case I loose the progress I have already made.

5. What’s your message to those who diminish your hard work because todays digital age has been the most convenient time to become an entrepreneur?



I have always found that the people who diminish your hard work and efforts are those who are jealous, either they don’t have time to do what you are doing or they don’t have the skill to do so. Therefore, if people try to diminish your work take it in your stride that someone wishes they could do what you do, and maybe teach them! Being able to teach someone a life skill is so incredibly valuable as I learnt to sew from my mum who began as a young child on a sewing machine and ended up sewing her own wedding dress and my prom dress!


Please feel free to add on a little discount code available to use across my Etsy shop: ‘SHOPLOCAL10’. I will send across the images on Instagram as I am not able to attach them to this email. Thank you again for this opportunity.


Kindest Regards,




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