Sandra used her Aspire Awards funding to help boost her small start-up business making and selling hand-crafted items for black dolls.


Having launched the Monero Kids Boutique, Sandra’s dolls proved to be a hit with the local community. However, since receiving her award Sandra’s business, like so many others, was affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Lockdown meant Sandra couldn’t open her boutique, so she changed her business model and created a new website to encourage more online sales. After re-opening briefly in July, Sandra took the decision to close the doors at her Balls Pond Road boutique permanently.

Bouncing back

August 2020 saw Sandra bounce back and after receiving a government grant, she set-up a great new Pop-Up Hub at 147 Stoke Newington High Street – a space which allows her to sell her dolls whilst also creating a space for other local creatives to sell arts & crafts, clothing, jewellery and much more.

Sandra said:

“When I received the Aspire Award, I could never have guessed what the forthcoming year would have in store for me and my doll business. Lockdown meant I had to be more creative with my business ideas and I had to reflect on how to keep moving onwards and upwards.

“I started the N16 Pop-Up Hub not only as a way to sell my dolls but also as a way to help other traders sell their goods during these difficult times. I want to bring the local community together and encourage people to shop locally to support small businesses.”

How to apply for an Aspire Award

You can apply for an award by completing an application form. You’ll need to let us know exactly what you want the funding for, so make sure you’ve found the course you want to complete, how much the equipment you need will be, or what your community project will cost.

Click here to apply for an Aspire Award.