TOSH Creative Start Up Programme: Meet Graduate Philippa Hicken of Re Imagine

"The shop is bigger than I initially planned, and that is because of the Start Up Programme - it showed me that there is a lot of opportunity out there". Read all about Start Up Graduate Philippa and her brand new business venture, Re Imagine!

With just a week to go until applications close for our Creative Start Up Programme, Spring 2024, we're continuing to share the inspiring stories of past graduates! This time, learn all about Philippa Hicken, and her post Programme journey with Re Imagine - the latest addition to Southbourne. I sat down with Philippa to chat about the mission behind Re Imagine, what it could offer the Southbourne community, as well as the role the Start Up Programme played in its creation!

Who are you, and what is Re Imagine?!

I’m Philippa, I'm a Mum of two and I’ve lived in Southbourne for about 15 years. I studied Textiles and Surface Pattern at university, and worked in that industry for a little bit. I then spent 15 years in the Police and loved it, but I had a health issue and was told it wasn't compatible. I came out of the police force at the same time as having my two daughters, so I sort of just played mum for a bit. This allowed me time to start sewing again, which is what I'd always done. I bought my first house, so it was like, “right, make curtains, make cushion covers, make whatever I need”. I've just always made things, and then it all really evolved into, “I'd love to have a little shop that I could do all of that stuff within”. And so here we are…

Re Imagine is something that's been in my head for years, and that’s why I did the course, because I needed other people's ideas and input. Re Imagine is about finding inspiration, and looking at things in a slightly different way. 

What did you gain from the programme?

Because the idea had always been something I'd love to do, as opposed to a reality, the Start Up Programme allowed me to go, “actually, I could do this”. I'd been making excuses, like “I'm not a business person”, “I'm not great with money”, “I have no idea about marketing” - all these things that I felt I couldn't do, and therefore meant it wouldn't be successful. Doing the Programme initially was about getting an insight into all those different areas, and then actually being on the Programme and being surrounded by all those other creative people also made me go, “I actually could do this!”. It just gave me the final push to just say, “right, I'm just going to do this and see what happens”.

What are you most excited about at this moment for Re Imagine?

My initial idea was just purely a small shop. But doing the Start Up Programme showed me that there are so many creative people out there who are looking for a certain type of space. That sort of added an extra element to the idea of Re Imagine - having a space that I could use as a shop during the day, but also in the evenings for workshops. The shop is bigger than I initially planned, and that is because of the Start Up Programme - it showed me that there is a lot of opportunity out there. There's a lot going on in Boscombe and Bournemouth, but there's not so much going on in Southbourne, and I think there are a lot of people that would be happy to see Re Imagine as a bit of a community space or creative hub here in this part of town.

Who would you recommend the Start Up Programme to?

I think you can aim it at all sorts of age groups - it’s those people who are questioning, “What have I never had the opportunity to do?”, and “What could I do if I wasn’t doing this... and how could I do it?”. It especially helps being surrounded by people that are creative minded. 

Visit Philippa at Re Imagine on Belle Vue Road in Southbourne, and find her on Instagram here!

Find out more about our Creative Start Up Programme, Spring 2024, and apply here.

Application deadline 25th March