Small Business Sunday

Award Winner

Recognised by Dragons Den Theo Paphitis

"I'm incredibly proud of this award"


Back in January 2024, Charley's Wild World was chosen by Theo Papthitis and the SBS Crew as the WINNER of his Small Business Sunday Award.

In February I was invited to attend his networking event at the NCC in Birmingham and was honoured to meet the Dragon himself and receive this prestigious award.

This recognition endorses my dedication and motivates me to keep creating UK made childrenswear, it not only recognises the hard work and passion that goes into running a small business single handedly, it also helps spread the word that UK made, Eco-Friendly & Sustainable for children really is the way forward for parents, shoppers and retailers alike. Let's make it British.

I put my heart and soul into every aspect of my business and really strive to be the very best of British childrenswear.

Melissa was inspired to launch her Eco-Friendly animal-themed children's clothing company after leaving her job as an RSPCA Inspector, a role I held for 14 years.

Melissa would investigate animal cruelty complaints daily – witnessing some horrific sights over the years.

“You have to have a really thick skin,” she said. “It takes a certain person to be able to do that job.

“You’re investigating complaints of animal cruelty and coming across some really horrendous acts. You’re coming across not very nice things and you see the worst in people.

“But it’s not that all the time. You see beautiful stories as well – to be able to get to the animals in time and take them out of a really horrible situation and make them better. It does take its toll on you over time.”

Before embarking in her career at the RSPCA, the mum worked as a prison officer at HMP Manchester, starting her role when she was just 21.

“I actually really enjoyed my time at Manchester Prison,” she added. “I would facilitate the prisoners regimes, making sure they would go to work, go to the gym and have their breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“I actually really enjoyed my time there. It was a great time to be working there back then. I don’t have any horrid memories of that role; the prisoners were always very respectful.

“It was difficult going in there as a young woman. You have to set the boundaries out and be firm but fair. I have nothing but fond memories working there.”

But Melissa says she’s now living out her dream being her own boss. “I absolutely love it,” she added. “I just live and breathe it. If you’d have said to me as a 21-year-old prison officer that I’d be doing this in the future, I wouldn’t have believed you.”