Westhoughton golfer Jessica Picton had her sights set on becoming a pro until injury forced a change of plan. Now she plans to be big hitter in the sportswear market, giving female  golfers a range of apparel to boost their confidence.

The aspiring pro-golfer from Westhoughton had a glimpse into what life would be like to play the sport she loved full-time.

‘I had my sights set on the big time but the one thing that constantly dragged down both my confidence and my performance, was the apparel available for young women in the sport.’

Garish patterns, pinks in every hue and eye-watering price tags left Jessica, now 21, in despair. ‘I’d often choose men’s clothes to wear instead. Not only because they were available in a greater range of colour palettes that were more suited to my style, but that the functionality of the gear better supported my game.’

Great British Life: She Swings founder Jessica PictonShe Swings founder Jessica Picton

But Jessica – who played at county level for Lancashire and is a member of Hart Common Golf Club – had her plans dramatically blown off course when she sustained a spinal injury that rendered her unable to swing a golf club for over a year.

‘I was devastated. I knew that with each passing day that I didn’t play, I was losing my edge, so when the time came for me to pick up a club and try, my confidence was at rock bottom. My hopes of going pro were dashed so I needed a new plan of action.’

Jessica – who also suffers with the painful and debilitating autoimmune condition, Lupus – enrolled at Myerscough College and University to study for a Bachelor’s Degree in Golf Management.

Jess said: ‘My degree enabled me to undertake in-depth research with a number of female athletes, on their perceptions and attitudes towards sporting apparel and how it impacted their performance. I found that there was a universal issue with the availability of clothing that empowered women to feel and play their best. I wanted to change that and this is when She Swings was born.’

Great British Life: Jessica Picton started sporting apparel business, She SwingsJessica Picton started sporting apparel business, She Swings

Jessica’s studies also revealed the devastating drop-off in girls continuing club sports after they finish school, when compared to their male peers.

‘I want to create a range of sportswear that not only combines affordable quality and choice for girls and young women, but also encourages girls to stick with the sports that they enjoy, long after they leave school and enter higher education or the world of work.’

Jessica’s entrepreneurial spirit has been fostered and encouraged by her parents, Andrew and Hazel, who have supported her and helped her to get She Swings off the ground.

‘It’s been a family affair to get to this point with my dad taking the role of managing director and helping me to sort the business side of things out, allowing me to focus on the designs, the fabrics and production of the range, while also figuring out accounting, website design and everything else in-between.

‘It’s also allowed me to make time to boost my social media following to spread the word about She Swings.’

Jessica has appointed a British manufacturer to make all of the garments and her supply chain is all UK-based too, adding to the provenance and quality of the collection. ‘It felt important to me to source and produce the range in the UK – not only so I could better contribute to our economy but also, so I could work closely with the team to make sure everything was perfect.

Great British Life: Jessica with a selection of She Swings sportswearJessica with a selection of She Swings sportswear

‘I am so proud of the products and can’t wait to see them gather momentum as more women and girls start buying and wearing the range.’

As well as nurturing her fledgling brand, Jessica also works a full-time job for an international golf events company. ‘The days are long and punishing but I know that my experience with the world of work will only strengthen my own business in the long run, so it will be worth the long hours.’

The first ever capsule collection from She Swings features a black, white, grey with signature red accents to make the items stand out and aims to create fashion-forward functional sportswear for girls and young women to enjoy – no matter which sport they choose to play. The first collection includes leggings, skorts, polo tops and half zip tops, which have been made to the highest specification to achieve quality, comfort and performance.

Having invested heavily in the production of the first collection for She Swings, Jessica comments on her aspirations for the brand. ‘I have given this 100 per cent of my love and energy and will do everything it takes to see it succeed. I believe in the products and the designs and I think that collection will have mass appeal to girls and women in sport.

‘I believe in She Swings and believe we have what it takes to become a household name. I have big plans for expansion and will be adding new collections and products later in the year. The big boys will need to move over – I am coming out swinging!’