Trina Scott-Priestley, Founder of Swishforit

Create a personal shop filled with things you love and invite others to ‘Swish’ with you

On her first birthday, my daughter was given three identical pink plastic horses. People are so kind and generous, but I was convinced there had to be a better way of gifting. Eight years later, I’ve just launched my solution…

In my professional life, I climbed the ladder at Hewlett-Packard – becoming a revenue manager in technical accounts. I worked from home for 10 years and was well looked after, but on a personal level I felt unfulfilled. I was always having ideas for businesses I could set up. One ‘lightbulb moment’ was harder than others to shake off…

Often, we see things online before we need them or can afford to buy them; then we forget where we found them! I wanted to design an app and browser tool so you can save anything anywhere; and then create a wish list where you simply organise, share and buy. I was convinced Swishforit could reduce unwanted gifts and waste at a time when we’re facing a climate emergency, but still I held back – watching from the sidelines and connecting the dots as online shopping increased and the High Street went into decline.

The unit I worked in was sold to another company in 2016 and I wondered: ‘Is this the push I need?’ Still, I kept my options open – putting the feelers out to another employer. It was another two years until I accepted redundancy. Twenty minutes after I signed the papers, I received a job offer. It felt like a test from the universe, but everything was aligned to make a success of the business – from market forces to my children who, by then, were both in school.

I stuck with my plan and drew my vision out on paper; then handed it over to a local developer to build the platform. Less than a month after going live, 480 people have already registered. The app itself is free, so the revenue comes from retailers we’re affiliated with.

For years, the people around me have said: “You need to believe in yourself more.” All the pieces of the puzzle were always there… I just needed time to mature and have faith in my own abilities.