Now that we find ourselves accustomed to cabin fever, a lot of students have attempted new skills, whether that be painting or annoying your housemates by taking up the whole kitchen trying out new food recipes in lockdown. Either way, it’s the best form of putting off uni work, right?
Many Soton students have used their newly acquired skills productively by taking full advantage of all this spare time in lockdown and starting up a fresh business alongside their degree.
Here’s a selection of some of the best student-run businesses:
Food and drinks
Tabatha, a third year Geography student, started up her fudge business last year which started as “just a hobby of baking and cooking in lockdown”. After posting a few pictures of her bakes on Instagram, she gained some interest which motivated her to start selling.
Her favourite aspect of the business is the ability to get creative with flavour combinations and experiment freely. Her fudge products range from raspberry fruity flavours to Biscoff marble creations. If you have sweet a tooth, or know a friend that does, Tabafudge provides the perfect dessert or afternoon snack.
The Cocktail Cellar, @thecocktailcellaruk
This small business sends cocktail making kits straight to your front door, making it perfect for a boozy lockdown evening with your housemates. After having a look around the market they realised that most services have “limited choice of cocktails” and with expensive prices.
The Cocktail Cellar is much more affordable making it perfect for students that live life on a budget. Easy instructions are provided in every kit taking you one step closer to becoming that cocktail connoisseur you’ve always dreamed of. From boujee espresso martinis to bubblegum boxes, ordering from the Cocktail Cellar could give you and your house that excuse to finally dress up.
Loubie’s Cakes, @loubiescakes
Eloise, a third year History student, has been passionate about baking from a young age which goes unasked from the impeccable standards of her cake creations. From the age of 12, her independence levels grew as her mum trusted her in the kitchen and, after some words of encouragement from her friends, Loubie’s Cakes emerged in 2018.
Gaining followers on her cake Instagram page motivated her to achieve her food safety and hygiene qualification. Since then, her cake business has hit off and has been “especially busy throughout the pandemic”. Why not surprise your best mate with a personalised drip cake for their next birthday or treat your girlfriend to some pretty pink gin cupcakes?
Rae’s Kitchen, @raeskitchen__
Third year student Rae cooks a range of low-priced sweet and savoury dishes that you can get ordered to your house. Her passion for cooking all started when “the kids cooked on Saturdays” in her house as she grew up. Rae provides a menu of diversity from pork belly stir-fries to vegetarian alternatives like her staple hearty vegetable curry.
Her African roots and London based background influences the majority of her dishes. The meat-based dishes she cooks are sold at around £4-6, whilst her vegan dishes are offered even cheaper at just £3-5. Due to university commitments, her business is temporarily on hold, but don’t let that stop you from ordering one of her wholesome home-made dishes instead of a takeaway in the near future.
No Friends of Mortals, @nofriendsofmortals
This hand-painted clothing brand, run by Soton grad Yasmin, is a unique contribution to the market. Most of her designs are inspired by her own mythology artwork combined with her passion for sustainable fashion. Every garment holds a “mythological story” which she loves “seeing real people connect with”.
Yasmin runs the business single-handedly from designing to promotion to accounting, all whilst studying a Master’s in Illustration. All the clothing materials used are from recycled plastic and cotton waste, which she finds a rewarding aspect of the business knowing she is doing her bit for the environment.
Spire Design, @spire__design
Run by a team of two civil engineering lads, Spire clothing consists of quality vintage garments that are unused. With both carrying “a strong entrepreneurial spirit”, they were keen to “learn more about the business world” which was a motivator to start up Spire Design. Out of their collection of designs, the best seller was the Vintage Stone Sweater which was the “simplest but most liked” – this is also their most recent and has already sold out!
The experience they have gained as co-founders from Spire Design has now driven them to branch out to eco-friendly body wash bottles. This would help to reduce the plastic load that ends up in landfills, fulfilling their aim to help out the planet and work with more sustainable techniques.
Bitsy Sews, @bitsysews
Bitsy, an Environmental Science student, sews her own creative applique designs onto a range of clothes. Her love for sewing all started when she would add embroidery to her friend’s clothes, from dungarees to staple sweats. All her friends then urged her to start charging people which led her to set up a Depop account. She is also looking into starting an Etsy page.
A heartfelt aspect of her business is that “all profits go towards a conservation organisation”, which she says is helping to fund her dissertation. Custom designs are a big part of what she does, so don’t be afraid to ask her to make something more personal to you.
And Stitch, @andstitch_
Rumneek, a second year Economics student also sells unique hand-embroidered designs. She even has an impressive label on Asos marketplace which is a flex.
Demonstrating an eye for style, she quickly realised how “easy it was to make boring clothes so much cuter” by vamping them up. Her favourite piece, and most popular, is the dragon embroidered hoodie which was a success and reflects how well she keeps up to date with current trends. So what are you waiting for? Get browsing.
ClayRA Earrings, @clayra_earrings
Soton grad Ciara established her small earring business during lockdown 1.0 which came about through mere boredom. After having fully exhausted paint by numbers, she “needed another creative outlet and found polymer clay on Insta”.
Designs on her page range from marble shapes to heart dangles and her most recent AF1 pink trainers (which she says is her fave piece yet). Ciara charges between £3 to £15, depending on the design and customisation requests, but “are mostly sold for £10 or below”.
Pretti Print Masks, PrettiPrintMasks
Ellie, who runs Pretti Print Masks, sells fashionable, safe, neat-stitched masks aimed at both men and women. With masks making their mandatory appearance from the start of the pandemic, Ellie was quick to jump on the latest trend. Basic designs were a steady starting point, and as they hit off, Ellie expanded her designs to accommodate men and experimented with “different patterns for the ladies”. Her ditsy cream and pink floral mask was her best-seller which sold out rapidly on her Etsy page.
Amy, the founder of AMfemCollective, is a third year student who sells bespoke hand-made candles at affordable prices. Initially, she realised that most candles are extortionately priced and saw that there was a “huge gap in the market”.
Her business is therefore predominantly aimed at “students and people on a budget that like to make their space lovely”. Making candles is a very precise process and if the wax is melted or cooled two degrees off, the candle is ruined. She says it takes a “lot of concentration”, but with experience, she has improved her efficiency and can make up to eight candles in 1.5 hours.
The Venus Women and the Bubble Cubes are her favourite designs.
Tress Tools, @tress_tools
This online business, run single-handedly by second year student Agatha, offers a range of tools, catering to those with afro hair styles. As a Southampton student, she figured it wasn’t as ethnically diverse as London, her home city, in which she saw that students with this hair type were “struggling to find affordable but quality products to help manage and maintain their natural hair”. This clear gap in the market motivated her business idea by selling tool kits at “student-friendly prices”.
The Date Crate, @thedatecrateuk
If your love life is becoming a bit tedious now that we’re in the third lockdown and a walk is about the only excitement you can get, then look no further. The Date Crate, run by Master’s student Lewis, is a stay-at-home date night service delivered to your door. From warm tealights to romantic roses and sumptuous snacks, this luxurious date crate helps to set an amorous atmosphere to help maintain that spark with your special other.
Next time you’re struggling with date night ideas and looking to save money, The Date Crate is the perfect solution that does it all for you.
Related articles recommended by this writer:
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• Confirmed: Soton’s graduation still postponed, despite lockdown lifting on June 21st