As part of its commitment to transforming the lives of young people, Boots has collaborated with its charity partner The Prince’s Trust to offer artists a high-profile opportunity to design a tote bag.
Recently, talented young artist Bianca Connelly was crowned the winner, and her design was unveiled at the opening of Boots new concept ‘Boots Beauty’ store, at the iconic Battersea Power Station in London. Not only will her tote bag be available for shoppers to buy in this store, but £1 from every bag sold will be donated to The Prince’s Trust, helping the charity to kickstart the careers of even more young people.
Bianca began her journey with The Prince’s Trust by taking part in its Get Into Product Design programme, which allowed her to gain a unique insight into the industry. Following this, she was matched with a mentor from the Trust, and they worked together to consider her next steps and build her skills and portfolio.
We caught up with Bianca to see how it feels to have her design showcased in our store.
What led you to entering the Boots tote bag design competition?
“The possibility of seeing my design on a bag sold in such a large, well-known store made me excited to get started. Since I was a little girl, I have always loved art and being creative, so when I saw the contest to design a new tote bag for Boots, I knew I had to enter.”
Describe the inspiration behind your design?
“The first thing that came to mind was my own hair, the beauty in the curls, and the style. I want that feeling to be celebrated for anyone else who has hair like mine. I want people to look at this bag and see how special our hair can be, and feel a warmth when looking at it, no matter their race. If my bag inspires one person to embrace their natural curls, that would be my greatest accomplishment from all this.”
What does the future have in store for you?
“Working with The Prince’s Trust has given me courage. It has also opened doors for me so I can explore new opportunities. I've thought about how I can continue doing what I love, which is drawing, and how to make it a possible career, and I've decided that I would love to pursue product design.” “The feeling of having my original design out there in a Boots store – bringing a smile to people's faces – leaves no doubt in my mind that this is the path for me.”
Any words of advice for other young people who might be nervous to take their first step?
“I wouldn't have my design out there if it wasn't for The Prince’s Trust. I would encourage anyone who wants to learn a new skill, or develop their old ones, to reach out and see how they can get the support they need to accomplish their dreams too.”
ike the beginning of Bianca’s journey, Boots is continuing to support The Prince’s Trust Get Into programme. Since August 2023, over 90 young people have completed the programme across its stores, warehouses, and Customer Support Centre, with more than 50 of those receiving job offers.
As part of this two-week opportunity, each young person gains essential work experience, as well as a deeper understanding of the retail sector and how the Boots business operates. They are guided through many aspects of the working environment, including how to apply for roles and develop essential skills, while considering their next steps.