Across the UK, young people are leading the charge in launching successful start-up businesses. Recent research from Microsoft indicated that businesses founded by young entrepreneurs were more likely to have healthier finances, whereas those with more mature founders – particularly those aged 55 and over – were more likely to run at a loss.
The success of young business people should be celebrated, so with this in mind, I will be profiling a new young entrepreneur each month to highlight the fantastic work they’re doing.
Marianne Hughes at KnowLabel
Marianne is the founder and owner of KnowLabel.org, a project that offers consumers a more holistic view of where and how their clothes came to be, via a digital labelling system.
About the founder
Marianne began her career studying business management at university, with the intention of starting her own company. At age 18, she eventually became president of the university’s business society and encouraged other students to start businesses of their own. She also found the time to study abroad, for a year, in Hong Kong where she discovered she wanted to learn more about sustainability.
Marianne’s passion and interest in sustainability are closely linked to her main project, KnowLabel. The company aims to provide consumers with an idea of the environmental and social impact of what they’re wearing, through creating “digital labelling” for clothing through a tap of their smartphone.
Additionally, retailers and brands can use KnowLabel to demonstrate to shoppers the ethically-sourced, environmentally friendly nature of their clothing – an issue of increasing importance to the vast majority of consumers.
Early signs suggest KnowLabel is set to become a valuable tool for high street retailers. Since launching the venture, Hughes has struck up relationships with high street brands, including the likes of H&M, helping to develop retail business models who communicate environmental and social concerns via clothing design and manufacturing.
To reach out to companies, Marianne initially posted images of her dissertation on social media which subsequently attracted a company focusing on sustainability consulting, who then reached out to her, requested her talents to help them learn more about their clients. Her business journey continues as she has hopes to have a team of 60 within five years and to work with some of the world’s biggest fashion brands.
Marianne is a real inspiration to the business community as well as future generations. Her drive, passion and entrepreneurial spirit for what she does, is what has brought her such success.