Faye Savory

Entrepreneur, BearHugs

When Faye was in her early twenties she became ill with Lyme disease and was unable to keep working. At her most unwell Faye had to spend most of her time in a dark room, but as she regained some energy Faye began doing activities which made her feel purposeful – often as small as putting ten beads on a bracelet. As her health improved she scaled this up to selling the jewellery she was making online and blogging about her experiences.

While at her most ill Faye had been sent a very thoughtful care package by a friend. She contacted the Prince’s Trust about creating a business which could work around her health. Faye enrolled on the Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme where she wrote a business plan and received a small grant to put together her first ‘hug in a box’ hampers.

Faye says: “Due to the fluctuating nature of living with chronic illness, I was unable to continue in my previous 9–5 job. I needed a flexible, accessible working environment and struggled to find a role that was a good fit. The hurdles weren’t about my abilities, they were about accessibility. That’s why I’m proud that BearHugs is now proving that remote, flexible roles aren’t just good for individuals with a disability but for business too.”

BearHugs is now an award-winning business providing accessible, flexible home-working jobs for other people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. One basket in every 50 is donated through the charities Postpals and Project Parent. BearHugs is an accredited Living Wage Employer and a Disability Confident Employer.

In 2017 Faye won a Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Award, and last year BearHugs was nominated for the Gift of the Year Award. This year Faye has been nominated for two Timewise Power 50 Awards, has attended 10 Downing Street and was honoured at the University of Sheffield with a Robert Boucher Distinguished Alumni Award. Faye is an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust.