Melissa applied for a Start Up Loan in order to finance her business Shakespuss & Co Ltd, a company that aims to introduce the world of William Shakespeare to children through animation.
Having been an internationally renowned portrait artist, painting a whole range of famous people from the Queen to Pink Floyd to Katie Melua, Melissa’s love of art and literature drew her towards creating illustrated children’s books. What started out as stories for her children turned into a published book that has sold five thousand copies. One of the stories Melissa told her children was about a character called Shakespuss, whom she created as a way to ease them into the works of William Shakespeare, having been annoyed at the way children are currently introduced to Shakespeare in schools. Her children grew up and Shakespuss languished until she happened to bring up the character to someone she was working with back in 2012. He thought that it was a fantastic idea, and so Melissa contacted Shakespeare associations from around the world for their thoughts. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
Now based just outside of Stratford Upon Avon, it became even more clear to Melissa that children visiting with their families from all over the world are still not fully catered to when it comes to Shakespeare. Shakespuss & Co Ltd is set to change all that.
Using her loan to buy software to help her develop her characters, Melissa is close to finalising Shakespuss and his cohorts, with the next step being to have plush toys of the characters manufactured. With stockists around Stratford already eager to sell Shakespuss products, Melissa is gearing up for a big launch before Christmas.
As her excitement for her business grows, so do her plans for the company. With a huge array of international associations already on board with the idea, Melissa plans to have Shakespuss become a global brand, selling online and in stores around the world, with television shows, touring live plays and more.
With her characters created, a new website imminent and merchandise on its way, Melissa is hugely excited about bringing Shakespuss to children everywhere.
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