Before coming to The Prince’s Trust, Laura was working for a youth arts organisation. Having been thrust into a role that she felt unprepared for and unsupported in, Laura ended up in a very unhealthy and stressful work environment.
“I felt there was no recognition for the work I was doing and it started to take its toll on me and my mental health. I was not in a positive place at all, I was getting no happiness from my work. But I’m not a person to stay in such a destructive rut when I am unhappy.”
As a teenager, Laura had struggled at school and hadn’t been traditionally academic. She says: “I was left with a sense that when things go wrong, I had failed, or that I was a failure. Although I’ve tried to correct that in my adult years, the role I was in exacerbated that feeling.”
After setting up a small record label within the organisation she was working in, Laura recognised the significant shortage of women in the music industry. During a visit with some young women to a recording studio, Laura found herself explaining why the studio was made up entirely of men.
“I wanted to encourage the young women I was working with into the industry, but felt reluctant to do so, knowing that they would have to work 10 times harder to be recognised. This sparked the idea of creating a safe, supportive environment for young women interested in music to thrive creatively.”
Having seen the model to create a working record label, Laura felt inspired to set up a label in the way she wanted, away from the restrictions and negativity of her role. Laura quit her job and began taking on small freelance jobs. Having worked with The Prince’s Trust in previous roles, Laura came to the Enterprise course to discuss the options for her new chapter.
“I came to The Prince’s Trust knowing that there are so many roles and transferrable skills involved in music beyond the artistry itself. I wanted to use the Enterprise programme as a way to build the foundations of Saffron Records.”
The Prince’s Trust Enterprise course allowed Laura to learn the fundamentals of running a business and being self-employed. Quoting the support materials and time with her business mentor as essential to setting up Saffron Records.
“Running your own business is so tough, having someone to sit down and talk you through it all is invaluable. I have a creative mind so having templates and structures to work from for numbers and finance is amazing. I still refer to them now!”
“When I began the Enterprise course, I thought Saffron would just be a record label. However through conversations with my mentor and Prince’s Trust stuff, I was able to look at the ethos of Saffron – to give women creative control in music creation – and see where it could develop.”
Laura has since grown the model hugely and widened the business to include artist development and music technology education. Saffron Records has gone from strength to strength and continues to mature through key partnerships.
It’s now a Talent Development Partner with PRS Foundation enabling it to deliver artist development programmes. It also delivers music education programmes with dBs Music and Bristol Women in Music.
In April 2018, Saffron Records and The Prince’s Trust partnered to deliver a pioneering new Get Started programme for 16-25 year old women to learn about the music industry, including learning about music production, DJing and event management.
“It is a source of great pride to me that Saffron Records has allowed me to stay in the Prince’s Trust community by becoming a delivery partner for a Get Started in Music programme in Bristol.”
Currently employing four regular freelancers and a network of 12 more who contribute to the business, the future looks very bright for Laura and Saffron Records.
“For many young people, the cost of musical equipment and technology is a huge barrier to entering into the industry. My goal for the future is to have a full studio of my own where women from all backgrounds – low income families, different ethnicities – can come and work creatively in a supportive space.”
“I couldn’t imagine not working for myself, and I absolutely love Saffron records and what we do so I’m incredibly driven to make it a success. I’d absolutely suggest Enterprise to anyone looking to start up their own business, in fact I regularly do. I can’t even think where I’d be now if I hadn’t come to The Prince’s Trust.”