Local Young Entrepreneur Alex Leighton Thrives with Support from Shropshire Youth Support Trust (SYST)

Local Young Entrepreneur Alex Leighton Thrives with Support from Shropshire Youth Support Trust (SYST)

Hi, I’m Alex, I’m a Wardrobe Assistant in theatre, and run an embroidery business, and this is a little bit of my journey so far!

I’ve always loved being creative and working with my hands, and through scouting and being involved in their annual Gang Shows, I quickly figured out I wanted to pursue a career backstage. I found BOA Academy in Birmingham and was fortunate enough to attend and earn my BTEC in Technical Theatre Arts.

Rather than attend a university course that I knew I wasn’t ready for, I joined the Casual Technician pool at the Birmingham Hippodrome as a Dresser. As a Dresser, I work on the various touring productions that visit the Hippodrome and help with costumes and quick changes during shows, I’ve worked on over 25 different shows since I started, including Les Miserables, We Will Rock You, and Singing in the Rain.

Through contacts I made working as a Dresser, I was offered a job as a Wardrobe Assistant on Strictly Ballroom the Musical’s 2023 UK and Ireland tour, produced by Phil McIntyre productions, which took me to 28 venues in 6 months! The musical is based on Baz Luhrmann’s film and gave me the chance to work closely with ballroom dresses, suits, and even flamenco shoes, which I’d never seen before.

I love touring, but the lifestyle that comes with it is certainly a big adjustment, moving cities every week and staying in a stranger’s home.

During the pandemic, live theatre was unfortunately the first industry to close down, and the last to re-open, so I had to find a new job. After a few months at Tesco to tide me over, I started working for a local company, engraving military medals, learning to make frames, and embroidering logos. It was here that I gained my love for machine embroidery, so when I left the company the natural next step seemed to be to pursue embroidery.

In 2021, I found an embroidery machine on Facebook Marketplace and opened my company, Threadway Embroidery. I sought help from SYST who helped me to learn about the logistics and requirements of running a business, and allowed me to become more confident in making smart business decisions.

I’m in a better place now than I’ve ever been, in a lot of ways, and I’m so grateful for every opportunity I’ve been given so far. Bring on the next adventure!

To get in touch with Alex please use hello@threadway.co.uk or browse the website: www.threadway.co.uk

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