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Growing solutions

  • 07 April 2021

When Marion Perrin encountered a problem, she set about finding a solution which could lead to a change in career direction.

Marion, a Caian PhD candidate, has used her spare time to join the Judge Business School’s 10-week EnterpriseTECH STAR programme, which supports PhD students and postdocs to develop their business ideas.

Now on the Accelerate programme, a three-month offering from the JBS, Marion says: “I recently became a godmother and was trying to find a present. I couldn’t find any that would last through time, and that frustrated me.

“I thought about giving it a go, and I never thought I would go so far. People started getting excited, I made progress… I’m just taking every little step as I go.”

Baby steps, one might say. Marion’s idea, ‘The Adjustables’, is to offer sustainable solutions to young children’s clothing, where garments grow at the same pace as children “thanks to the combination of smart seams with pattern tricks”, her profile on the JBS website states.

Marion, the MCR President in 2020, adds: “If we provide a simple tool, the garment could be adjusted from home. That’s what I’m trying to develop, to make it sustainable, and cheaper than buying consecutive sizes.

“We have surveyed more than 100 parents, and our market research is ongoing. We’ve interviewed parents and now we have a good idea of the first garment we want to do and the specificity we want to improve.”

To contribute to the market research, please visit: https://forms.gle/eqBb3o1EBBJhZ73f9

Marion is also now part of the Santander Breakthrough Women Business Leaders Mentoring Programme, while she is seeking funding partners to hire a colleague with baby wear experience to support the implementation of Marion’s designs.

Marion Perrin working on her sewing machine

In a passion passed on by her grandmothers, Marion enjoys seamstressing in her spare time and makes her own clothes, having dispensed with the disposable nature of fashion. She hopes to have a prototype garment ready by September, which could go into production as soon as December. She is also completing her PhD in Stem Cell Biology, and is grateful to have received a funding extension from The Wellcome Trust until March 2022, due to the pandemic.

Her PhD research sees Marion recapitulate the very early stages of life in a dish to decipher how cells make decisions that will lead to the formation of a whole body.

Marion is enjoying seeing her business grow before her eyes, too, and has enjoyed the three-month Accelerate programme.

She says: “They provide business classes so you keep on learning on the go. The speakers are outstanding and it’s very practical. They provide coaching, and it’s been mind-blowing.

“I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I need a project where I’m going to see a tangible effect in a shorter timeframe.”

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