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Student Entrepreneurs – Bath Spa University

Bath Spa 'Studentrepreneurs'

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We meet three of Bath Spa's 'Studentrepreneurs'

Wednesday, 1 March, 2023

It's thought that one in 10 university students are already running their own business, alongside their studies. With the cost of living rising, many students are turning to self-employment, side hustles and their own entrepreneurial ventures to bring in additional income.

As part of Student Money week, we met three successful, enterprising Bath Spa Students or “Studentrepreneurs” who have their own businesses to hear their story. 

A spark of genius

Two smiling women with blonde hair pose next to a table selling their candles.Two sisters, Madeline and Ruby Crowther, found a shared love for candles and Greek mythology was the spark for their business, Beehive Candles, which has been alight since April 2021. Madeline (on the left in the picture) explained the inspiration for their venture: “Ruby was looking for Greek god inspired presents for her classics teacher and couldn’t find much online, so we decided to make our own, we started having an interest in the business idea after researching the harmful effects of generic paraffin candles and wanted to provide a safer alternative using natural ingredients. Since then, all our customers have loved the range of candles we design.”

After a lot of testing and product design, the sisters started to sell to a wider audience. Madeline added: “We both love working for ourselves and creating new products and attending markets. Since starting Beehive Candles we have had such a good response and have been successful in every market we do. Depending on the time of year, we do around four markets a month, then during Christmas we do three or four every week, which is around 40 hours a month of in person markets, then lots of time in between making stock, posting orders and marketing online!”

“It’s been such a journey, and we are lucky enough to have great customers, stock multiple shops and do lots of events during the year to boost our revenue. The whole business is a complete learning process, but the main skill I have learnt is resilience. Not everything goes to plan, and you have to learn from mistakes and adapt to every problem that comes up.

A scented candle surrounded by pink and white flowers.Madeline says there are so many positive sides to running their own business, she adds: “I’d say the best thing is the creativity. You have complete control about what you want to do, and how you do it. There’s no one telling you what you can do, what you can’t do, and doing everything yourself really develops your independence and confidence in yourself and your skills.”

After graduation, Madeline and Ruby plan to continue with their business: “We plan to scale up and reach bigger audiences. Running the business has helped in a way that I can be totally independent, and I have gained life skills that some part time jobs won’t provide for me. Having your own business has changed so much for me, and makes you see a-lot of processes behind the scenes that many people underestimate.”

What advice would Madeline give, if you are planning to start your own business? “Have passion for what you plan to do, whether it’s a product or service, make sure you’ll put 100% effort into it. Independence will open a door of opportunities. If you try and don’t succeed, what have you really lost?

Find out more on the Beehive Candles Instagram page.

Curtain raiser

A woman with long curly hair playing a guitar and singing.Bath Spa University Student Roberta Crowhurst founded Ease Events in January 2023, a female-run promotions company in the South West, showcasing a variety of genres of music and encouraging audiences to draw links between live music and other categories of the arts. Roberta adds “When people attend our events, they are met by a bespoke, atmospheric, immersive experience.  We focus on stage dressing, live art, offering affordable tickets and sustainability.”

Roberta started Ease Events as she wanted to offer a platform where art and music can be linked together. “I want to create an immersive exciting experience when someone attends a gig as I believe music and art can be affected by the surroundings they are in. I also wanted to bring sustainability into live events trying to make people more conscious about travelling to events sustainably.”

So far Roberta has hosted one event, which was attended by over a hundred people. “My next event is on 7 March and the planning and marketing for this event is going well.”

Roberta works in events planning alongside Ease Events which is a relatively new venture. As well as planning Commercial Music events at Moles in Bath and working as a programmer for Bath Festival’s Party In The City, she also works at Komedia where she gets to experience lots of live music. 

“I think the most important thing about running your own business is being organised and time management. I enjoy planning ahead to ensure the event runs as smoothly as possible. The best thing is working whenever I need to. I enjoy working to my own schedule to get things done. I also enjoy planning events and curating the line-up myself.”

A stage set-up for a music gig at Moles venue in Bath.

Roberta plans to continue organising events after graduation. “I would like to expand the events I host into Bristol as well. Running my own business has given me the skills to work to deadlines and communicate well with the people I am working with. It has also taught me how to manage my time well as I am planning lots of events simultaneously.” 

What piece of advice would Roberta give someone thinking about starting their own business?

“Don’t expect to have a fully running business immediately. It takes time and work to craft an idea and put it into practice. Make a manageable list of tasks for each week and try to stick to it. Running your own business takes time. If you believe in your idea and put time and effort into it, you can succeed.”

You can find check out Ease Events on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

Charlotte Godfrey, Bath Spa University Employability Consultant (Start-up and Entrepreneurship Specialist) said: "Bath Spa University has a strong entrepreneurial student community. Across schools and professional practices there is a natural creativity, curiosity and an innovative mindset. This is brought to life by the high proportion of academics and professional services staff who have a wealth of experience themselves in self-employment, freelancing and new venture creation. Our enterprise and entrepreneurship support offer is here to help all our students and graduates have the confidence, knowledge and skills they need to realise their enterprise ideas and to get them off the ground regardless of their experience or background. We also encourage all students to understand how important entrepreneurial skills are to enhance employability and career readiness."

Skydiving for Maddie and Libby

Friday, 12 April, 2024

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