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Nomination for most inspiring young business women of the year 2013.

Posted on 3rd Jul 2013 @ 6:39 PM

I have been nominated for an award for the story behind why I started Hip-Rocker Ltd. Here is a little bit from the nomination I thought I would share with you all.


”Because of what I’ve been through in life, I don’t hold back anymore”

Claire Bradwell, 28, has overcome the odds to become an international business owner whose products are improving the lives of families around the world.

Claire was born in Brampton Bierlow a mining town near Barnsley in August 1984, on the brink of the miners’ strikes. In 2001 aged 17 she was told that she would not be able to have children due to a medical condition which required a serious operation in 2005. Against the odds Claire gave birth to twin boys in 2006. In December 2008, she was diagnosed with cancer and soon after became pregnant, which she hid from her family. She gave birth to Daisy in 2009, there were severe complications related to the birth and Claire needed to undergo further treatment. In June 2010, Daisy was diagnosed with hip Dysplasia and had to have an operation and be placed in a Hip Spica cast. In September of that year, Claire needed a further risky operation herself and she had a series of treatments and delayed, an inevitable hysterectomy, which she was told she had to have in April 2011. During this time she was also raising three young children, one of which had serious health problems. In September 2011, she had the hysterectomy, which had been delayed. This did not go well and she ended up in intensive care for 15 days with internal bleeding.

Recovering at home in serious pain, Claire came up with the idea of a chair to help other children in Hip Spica Casts- which renders children immobile and heavy. She designed a rocking chair, inspired by the shape of a jelly bean, which would allow children to sit upright and be fed and entertained whilst in the restrictive cast. Drawing a preliminary design and asking her Joiner father to help her assemble a prototype, Claire began her initial foray into business.

Claire knew she needed support to help her turn her dream of helping others into a reality and that’s when Claire heard about the Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme. She attended the Explore Enterprise Course in January 2012, which was attended by 16 young business people and a special guest – HRH The Prince of Wales.

Claire produced a business plan with support from the Trust and gradually brought the product to market, launching the business in March 2012. The Prince’s Trust also supported her with her start up costs. Claire’s goal for her first year was to not enter into her bank overdraft and she wanted to be able to move to a new home by her third year of trading – she achieved both of these in her first year.

Her business has continued to grow through her first year trading, having started with just 2 designs of the chairs the business now has 6 and now has 19 different finishes compared to the 8 when the business started. The business is now breaking Internationally – having sold to Australia, Sweden, USA and RO Ireland, from a marketing spend of just £72.

The support of the Trust has dramatically changed life for Claire and her children. Claire doesn’t believe that she would’ve been able to achieve what she has without The Prince’s Trust, as well as how her product has improved the lives of others.

Despite being tasked with building a successful international business and raising 3 young children, Claire also gives her time to the community as a volunteer, inspiring others to make positive changes and even giving input to Parliament MPs on issues affecting small businesses. Claire’s confidence and self belief has been transformed as a confident and articulate public speaker, having given speeches at events with more than 200 people.

When Claire was asked, how has life changed after getting involved with The Prince's Trust and how does she feel about her life now?, she said: “It’s difficult to put into words, in a space of six months I went from not knowing if I was going to live or die and leave 3 young children - to running my own business and helping other parents with my products”.

Claire is an inspiration to others, being able to combine her role as a mother, a young business woman and also a volunteer and important voice in not just her own community but the whole of the UK. Her plans for the future are to continue growing her business helping improve the lives for families with children who have hip dysplasia and will provide other products for children with hip dysplasia. She’s also excited about becoming a Young Ambassador and helping inspire others to make positive changes, having previous volunteered for the Trust as an Inspirational Speaker.