COLLEGE LECTURER TURNS TALENTS TO BREAKOUT BUSINESS VENTURE

COLLEGE LECTURER TURNS TALENTS TO BREAKOUT BUSINESS VENTURE.jpg

Fashion and Textiles lecturer Jen Burton with a selection of her incredible designs

A Visual Arts lecturer at Stratford-upon-Avon College is enjoying entrepreneurial success, offering unique, quirky and sometimes outrageous fashion designs to clients.

Jen Burton, originally from Devon and now living in Shirley, is the owner of Bunny Pumpkin Boutique, a design studio that creates customised shoes, bags and accessories to satisfy any customers’ extravagant flair for style.

Jen launched the business six years ago and, when asked what inspired her to do so, she has one clear answer. “My big feet – I simply couldn’t find nice shoes to wear! I make shoes from size 1 and a half to size 12 for women and even higher for men.”

Having created numerous ranges of shoes, clothes and accessories, Jen is most proud of the extravagant shoe designs she produced under the name Seven Deadly Sins. The range was showcased on the catwalk in London, and worn by internationally-acclaimed pin-up model October Divine.

“They are bonkers designs; completely insane! I wanted to create glittery and bejewelled shoes for the catwalk so I had complete free rein. They were never a range I thought would sell but people seem to love them – especially the design called Gluttony which includes a six inch high heel I’ve sculpted to make look like a huge ice cream sundae with sprinkles and cherries.”

Jen is particularly excited about an upcoming product designed to alleviate the pains of many a high-heel wearer.  No More Sore Paws is a foot spray that allows people to wear heels all day without hurting their feet. “It’s entering the final stage of pharmaceutical testing now. I’m just finalising logo designs and it’s due to be out for Christmas.”

Never one to rest on her laurels, over the next few months Jen is also set to launch a Game of Thrones-inspired range, including dragon boots and a White Walker pair of flats.

Despite running the burgeoning business, Jen has no plans to leave teaching. “I love working with young, creative, artistically-minded people. If I didn’t teach, I don’t think I’d be anything like as creative myself – I get as much from them as they do from me.”

Being a successful businesswoman also enhances her teaching. “It helps me to lead by example. Running a business as well as working  as a teacher makes it very difficult for any of my students to legitimately claim they didn’t have time to complete a piece of work!

“Most of them follow Bunny Pumpkin Boutique on social media so they have an interest in it, and having a flourishing business also shows them that it’s possible to do something creative and be successful.”

Delighted at the way the business has taken off, Jen plans to continue teaching while creating new ranges for Bunny Pumpkin Boutique for as long as possible. “A few years ago I never thought there’d even be a business. It was just something to do over the holidays. I get orders in almost every day and ship worldwide – I send to the US as much as I do to the UK. I’d love the brand to become a household name but I’m just taking each day as it comes.”

You can take a look at Jen’s amazing range of creations at www.bunnypumpkinboutique.com

For more information on any of Stratford-upon-Avon College’s courses, please visit www.stratford.ac.uk or call the College on 01789 266245.

About Association of Colleges West Midlands

AoC West Midlands promotes and supports the interests of 38 general further education, sixth form and specialist colleges throughout the West Midlands region. The West Midlands is a diverse region and our colleges reflect this diversity. From small specialist colleges in rural locations to large inner city establishments, colleges reflect the needs of their local environment. Working closely with employers, learners and the local community, our 38 member colleges offer a broad range of flexible learning opportunities for individuals at all levels. They aim to give local people the skills they need for success and prosperity, tackling barriers to learning and providing opportunities that meet the needs of individuals and employers
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