This is part two of my attempt to compile a list of businesses being run by St Andrews students. In this article, I’m highlighting service-based businesses, and a couple of brands which will be launching in the very near future.
If you’re looking for art commissions in St Andrews, 3rd year student Hanabi Blackmoor is your person. She has been selling her artwork since 2018, and as well as actually producing the works, she also likes to write about art. In fact, an article piece of hers – alongside some of her artwork – was recently published in Pilot magazine!
Hanabi knows that commissions can be too expensive for some people, so she also produces framed art pieces, stickers and posters too for those with smaller budgets! Her love for art is why she has this business, and so Hanabi is very open to suggestions and doing customised works. Her goal at the moment is to make people happy with the commissions that she creates for them, so she’s open to working with people to create a piece which fits their wants.
To anyone who’s considering starting up their own business, she recommends finding other small businesses like yours online, and communicating with them. Building a network like this for yourself can be a huge help when running your own business, as your community can relate to your struggles and support you throughout your journey.
You can browse Hanabi’s amazing work – or even purchase some! – on her Instagram page: @blackmoorxart
Lucas Gater, a 2nd year Biology student, has combined his interest in nature with his passion for drawing and started DYR Designs. He sells commissioned sketches and drawings – all of which are done by hand – and also offers prints of these drawings at a lower price, for those who may not be able to buy a commissioned piece.
Through his business, Lucas hopes to bring awareness to wildlife conservation, which is a topic he really cares about. He tries to use sustainable products for his artwork and delivery, and intends to become more involved in sustainability as his business grows.
In keeping with his interests, Lucas’ artwork is usually based in nature (so he’s a great choice if you’re looking for a drawing of your pets!), but he is open to diverging from this theme if he receives a request for something else.
To see Lucas’ work, visit his Instagram (@dyr.designs), and contact him there if you’d like to commission a piece.
Anyone who’s attended even one of the many events here in St Andrews knows how much it can cost to find the right outfit – and how difficult it can be! Noemie was no different, but rather than spend lots of money buying various dresses and outfits, she decided to put her sewing skills to good use and start making her own.
Soon enough, she was making outfits for her friends too, and today she hand-makes bespoke dresses for individual clients. If dresses aren’t your thing, don’t worry – Noemie is open to any ideas, and says she would be happy to design “anything for anyone of any gender”. If you’re ever interested in a having a specific outfit or piece designed, reach out to her and she will be more than happy to work with you!
Noemie has attended fashion school in Boston and is still taking online classes, meaning that she’s constantly improving and finetuning her skills. Knowing this – along with the fact that her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, Marie Claireand Vogue – you can rest assured that you and your outfit are in talented hands!
Noé Dresses can be found on Instagram and TikTok (@noedresses on both), and you can see more pictures of Noemie’s work on her website: www.noedresses.com/client-work
Suhit Amin (2nd year) began working in volunteer positions in the influencer industry at just 13, and after being diagnosed with cancer when he was 17, decided to follow his dreams and start his own company: Saulderson Media, a premium talent management and influencer agency.
He kindly explained this to me in layman’s terms: on the talent management side of things, they manage a roster of social media creators (from sites like Instagram, TikTok and YouTube), get them brand deals and organise events; on the other side of the business, they run influencer and marketing campaigns for large brands.
Saulderson Media’s mission is to do influencing and marketing for good. They strive to provide their clients with the best possible services, and aim to create personal and empathetic relationships with each of them – building friendships, rather than just business relationships. Suhit also sees this as a way to give back to the people who helped him while he was undergoing cancer treatment, as he donates a percentage of his profits to different charities.
He started his company in July 2018, and saw it become a 7-figure company less than 3 years later, with several industry awards under its belt. Saulderson Media is one of few companies like it in Scotland, and Suhit aims to become one of the biggest and most well-respected marketing companies in the UK.
Saulderson Media can be found on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram (@saulderson), Twitter (@Saulderson) and on the company website: www.saulderson.com
Seiken Ryu Karate
Anastasia Seccombe first began teaching karate in 2018, when she started teaching lessons at home. She decided to continue this when she moved up to St Andrews to start university in September 2020, and just a couple of weeks later she was running her own club.
Her club is part of the Seiken Ryu Karate Association, who practice the Shukokai style of Karate. Anastasia thinks it’s ‘the best job she’ll ever have’, and she’s happy to teach anyone – no matter their age or level of experience. Classes are unable to run at the moment due to lockdown restrictions, but she hopes to start her lessons up again in September.
Engaging with the community in St Andrews – both with students and locals – is a key aim for Anastasia and she’d love to get more people signed up to her classes. She also plans to do some charity work in the future, and is planning to give classes where all of the attendance fees will be donated to Fife Women’s Aid.
To find out more about Seiken Ryu or to sign up for classes, visit their Facebook and Instagram (@seikenryukarate) pages, or have a look at their website: www.seikenryu.co.uk
VeGo is a social enterprise affiliated with Enactus, which is currently being run in St Andrews. The project’s aim is to alleviate food poverty in the town by providing people with nutritious, affordable, vegan meal kits, delivered to their doorstep.
Although they are affiliated with Enactus (a student organisation which runs projects all over the world) Project VeGo is completely organised and run by St Andrews’ VeGo team. The group – made up of six students and led by 4th year Sabeeh Mirza – decide which recipes will be used and assemble the meal kits. One member of their team has a Nutrition Certificate from Cornell University, so they can be confident that the food they provide is nutritious and healthy.
The meal kits are vegan because sustainability is important to the team, but also because the beneficiaries who they are trying to provide meals for are often people who rely on foodbanks. This food tends to be non-perishable items, so by providing vegan meal kits VeGo are trying to provide fresh food and nutrition.
VeGo’s aim is to empower those who suffer from food insecurity: they want to remove the stigma of ‘taking’ food from organisations and charities. So, they charge their beneficiaries a low cost for a kit, so that people are able to afford the kids but also feel like they’re contributing to the project. Students are charged slightly more at around £4 for a kit (which is still cheaper than a post-night out Dervish). The project runs on a self-sustainable model, so they need students to purchase the more-expensive meal kits in order to allow them to continue providing for their beneficiaries.
VeGo is a great project tackling food poverty here in St Andrews, so why not buy a meal kit, help a good cause and get yourself a healthy, delicious meal at the same time?
Check out the team’s work on Instagram and TikTok (@enactus.vego on both) or on the Enactus VeGo Facebook page.
Stay on the lookout for these exciting new businesses, which will be launching in the UK in 2021!
Founded and run by 1st year Sofie Brøgger Jensen (with her high school friend Alex), Concept Zero is a start-up which produces and sells eco-friendly alternatives to single use products. The pair were inspired when they visited a café near their school in India, and were served drinks with metal straws in them – something that neither of them had ever seen before. Currently, they focus on producing kitchenware – things like reusable straws – but they hope to expand their range in the future.
Sustainability is a key value for the Concept Zero team, and they’re currently developing their ethics and sustainability strategy so that they can be genuinely sustainable. They already have a carbon budget in place for their whole supply chain and CO2 neutral production, but they hope to move their production to central Europe in order to reduce their transport as much as possible.
The brand was launched in the summer of 2018 and started selling in Norway, before being expanded to Denmark. Sofie hopes that they’ll be able to launch in the UK in September 2021.
You can find Concept Zero on Facebook, Instagram (@conceptzero.co), LinkedIn and at their website: www.conceptzero.co
Growing up in the Trossachs and spending his summers working in a café near Callander, 3rd year student Lachie Fingland has always known how many visitors come from all over to visit this beautiful part of Scotland. Recently, he’s become increasingly aware of the fact that the area was missing a product that captures its beauty and memorable nature. So, he’s decided to fill this gap in the market himself.
Torrie Gin is a micro-brewery being set up, funded and run by Lachie himself, on a farm just outside Callander. He distils and produces bespoke gin in small batches, flavoured with local honey and lavender (the honey actually comes from bees which are kept about 20 yards away from the brewery), all in a bid to celebrate the fantastic nature on offer in the Trossachs. He has also been experimenting with other botanicals to flavour his drink – all which are sustainably sourced, and the majority are actually foraged or grown on the farm where his brewery sits.
Sustainability is crucial to the brand, both in ingredients and production methods. At the moment, Lachie is working on constructing a gravity-fed water-cooling system, which would mean that his distillation process would be fully off the grid. He and his brother even handmade his worktable, using wood from a fallen tree on the farm. It doesn’t get much more sustainable than that!
He’s in the (complicated) process of applying for the various licenses needed to sell alcohol, so he hopes to be able to properly launch the brand in the summer. Until then, he’s using the same botanicals to create candles and reed diffusers, which will eventually be sold as part of gift packs with smaller bottles of gin.
Keep up to date with Torrie Gin’s progress on their Instagram: @torriegin
Ria Chakrabarti describes her business, Veristyle, as “a machine learning-based product aiming to provide high-quality personal styling and recommend clothes to complement a user’s unique features.” Basically, she’ll be revolutionising the world of online shopping.
Personal stylists have long been viewed as something reserved only for the wealthy, and this means that the majority of people have no access to their services. We all know how quickly fashions can change and most people recognise the pressure of having to follow specific trends being set, which can mean that people aren’t really dressing for themselves. In creating this service – which will be completely free to use – Ria hopes to cut out the middleman, and encourage people to base their looks around their individual style and unique features.
Using the Kibbe body type method – which is rarely criticised or disputed, and bases a user’s body type off of their bone structure, fleshiness and individual facial features – Veristyle will calculate what colours, patterns and styles of clothing best complement each user, to lead to an easier shopping experience. In the future, Ria even hopes to license this software to different retailers so that users can link their profiles to their favourite clothing websites.
Having thought of this idea a few years ago, Ria decided to give the business a go after graduating in 2020 with a degree in Computer Science and Management. She’s been working with current St Andrews students through Castlecliffe Consulting, and hopes to launch to the general public in summer 2021.