Student cheerleader’s bows prove international hit

Sophie Holden, a BA Fashion student at The Cass, is exporting her cheerleading accessories to Europe and the US.

Date: 3 June 2016

BA Fashion student Sophie Holden turned a painful injury into a business opportunity, having used the time she was laid up with a broken ankle to create stylish hair bows.
Sophie, who won the creative category in this year’s Big Idea Challenge, is the creator of Belle of the Bows – an online business which allows customers to design their own hair bows through an easy to use, online app.
The idea for the business came after an unfortunate accident which left Sophie with a lot of time on her hands.

“I broke my ankle when cheerleading so was unable to perform for a while,” she said. “Bows are a really important part of the uniform in cheerleading – the whole team wears the same bow - so I decided to spend the time designing a really great bow!”

It was social media which really made things happen for Sophie, though.

“I posted the bow on Facebook and it just went crazy, with over 600 shares, and before long people were asking to buy them. I’ve now sold over 500 bows to places as far afield as Sweden and the US.”

Sophie, who studies in the Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design, credits here BA Fashion course with helping her creativity.

“They give us the freedom to pursue our ideas,” she said. “They give us a topic to explore and then we are allowed to get on with it. The highlight so far has been the Project Red fashion show. The dress I designed for that seemed to go down really well, which was nice.”

Sophie is now developing a new customisation element to broaden her product range. She is benefiting from support from Accelerator, London Met’s innovative business incubator based in Shoreditch who run the Big Idea Challenge.

“I wanted this so badly so it’s amazing to win. I have the idea and it’s just the help, support and funding that I needed to make the next step, and I’m delighted to have that now through the Big Idea Challenge.”