Local business helps recognise Yorkshire’s Young Achievers
Article Date: 2016-01-04
The Wetherby Whaler group of fish and chip restaurants and takeaways has helped recognise an enterprising young fashion designer at the Yorkshire Young Achiever Awards.
The Yorkshire-based business sponsored the Achievement in Management and Enterprise award, which was presented to winner, fashion designer Mary Benson, by the co-owners of Wetherby Whaler, Janine and Phillip Murphy.
The Yorkshire Young Achiever Awards were established in 1993 to recognise the achievements of people under the age of 35 from across Yorkshire in categories, such as, education, the arts and business.
Mary, who was brought up in Seacroft, won the Achievement in Management and Enterprise Award in recognition of her achievements within the fashion industry.
Mary’s career as a fashion entrepreneur began when she was just 15 and still at school. She got a taste for entrepreneurism selling clothes and bags, that she made with material bought from a Leeds market, to her friends.
Whilst studying at the Leeds College of Art, she got her first break on the TV show Mary Queen of the Shops, which she won, much to her surprise.
After finishing her college course Mary was simultaneously accepted onto a design course at the University of Westminster and also secured an internship with the legendary designer, Alexander McQueen.
Having settled on the career she wanted, Mary realised that she needed to learn more about the industry through real-life experience and so took a two year break from education and secured a job at a PR agency with the intention of learning how the press worked so that she could handle her own publicity.
Before graduating from university Mary established her own eponymous label. Attempting to generate as much publicity for herself as possible she took the gamble to focus on one-off pieces.
The gamble paid off and Mary’s debut at the London Fashion Week in 2014 led to her designs being worn by stars including Rita Ora, Ellie Goulding, Little Mix and Paloma Faith.
Phillip Murphy, Co-Owner of Wetherby Whaler, said: "It’s a great honour to be able to sponsor the Management and Enterprise Award. As a family-owned Yorkshire business we are proud to support the Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards.
"We believe that it is very important for us to support local initiatives and to put something back into the local community. There are many inspirational young people across the county whose achievements deserve to be recognised, and the awards are a fantastic way to acknowledge this.
"Mary’s story is incredible and has shown the most important qualities anyone wanting to enter the world of business and enterprise needs, which are motivation, perseverance and hard work.
"To have your designs rejected, take it on the chin and keep going, shows an incredible amount of character, and now her hard work is paying dividends and she is getting the recognition from the fashion world that she deserves.
"We wish her all the very best for the future and we’re sure that it won’t be long until we see Mary Benson listed amongst the fashion greats.
"All the young people nominated should be proud. Regardless of whether they won or not, they all have worked hard and achieved a great deal in their young lives.”