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Support for managing growth and overcoming recruitment challenges – Amschela handbags

European Regional Development Fund

Amschela is a Bristol-based affordable luxury designer handbag brand, founded by entrepreneur Keri Andriana. The company has a strong community social responsibility ethos providing work opportunities through the Kickstart programme to young people who would otherwise struggle to find employment, particularly in the fashion industry. The business uses environmentally friendly, sustainable materials to reduce its carbon-footprint and is currently transitioning to become a full vegan brand.

Amschela sought support from the West of England Combined Authority’s Workforce for the Future programme to help manage its growth and overcome recruitment challenges.

Business West, one of the many expert partners delivering Workforce for the Future, provided a Business Skills Advisor to work 1:1 with Amschela to understand the unique positioning of the company and the challenges it faced and to offer targeted guidance to support its workforce, management team and the wider business.

The advisor helped develop Amschela’s business strategy together with a detailed workforce plan, advising on recruitment and how to off-roll Kickstart workers into apprenticeship positions at the end of their placement, enabling them to continue to develop and learn, becoming skilled and confident team members and a continued asset to the growing fashion brand.

The advisor will continue to work with Amschela to ensure the company’s young team are provided with ongoing skills and training opportunities to promote workforce stability and support business objectives.

Amschela’s founder has also benefitted from mentoring sessions to help her develop her ideas for future business success.

The impact

Keri Andriana, founder of Amschela, said the recruitment advice and support she received in developing a business strategy has been invaluable: “When you’re new and you’ve got huge competitors and you’re a small little brand, it can be easy to think, am I doing this right? Reaching out to Workforce for the Future via Business West showed me that I had a viable and good business.

“It’s been extremely helpful to have someone look objectively at my brand and be really critical for the best. For example, defining roles for Kickstarters has helped me to departmentalise the brand and strategize effectively.

“Just knowing that Workforce for the Future is behind me eases a lot of the pressure that I was feeling as a business. The business is now going from strength to strength.”

West of England Workforce for the Future

Workforce for the Future is a free support service for businesses and individuals in the West of England. The £8m programme helps businesses develop employees' skills, understand how they can meet their current and future skills needs and attract, develop and retain talented people. It also supports local residents to upskill and improve their career prospects. Workforce for the Future is co-funded by the West of England Combined Authority and the European Social Fund (ESF).