Student businesses to follow is a three-part mini-series at the Mancunion Fashion & Beauty section which intends to highlight students that balance their uni work while also managing their own business. This second installment is about two women who each run their fashion brand alongside their university degree.
3rd-year music student Ella-Marie started her small business Hart & Co. Clothing in her second year of uni when the pandemic had just hit. Like most of us, she filled her days by browsing the internet and found herself frustrated as she couldn’t quite find items that she liked enough to click ‘buy’.
She started making crop tops from old materials that she had up-cycled, like bedsheets or old curtain fabric. It rapidly grew to the point where she started selling her products on Instagram, turning a hobby into her own business.
“I started asking my friends for their measurements and sending out crop tops to them to model/experiment on, and then I created an Instagram account once I felt confident enough to share it outside of my family and friends!”
Ella-Marie found joy in pouring energy into something new, whilst her degree was on hold. “I started with something I loved doing, that let me be creative and I loved it so much that other people expressed interest in buying my items”. The rest is history.
Although it’s sometimes a struggle to find the right balance between uni work and her business, Ella-Marie loves running her own brand:“I adore having a small business, being your own boss, making all the decisions from social media, to finance, to designing the items themselves!”
She is hoping to start a masters in marketing and will continue Hart & Co. Clothing whilst she continues her studies, and is planning on having lots of more releases and exciting announcements in the near future. Look out for the brand’s first year anniversary on the 28th of May for some exciting news!
Hart & Co. Clothing is a brand with a sustainable mindset. They now sell mostly unisex street and loungewear. To get your hands on one of their gorgeous pieces, DM them on Instagram.
Teju is a first-year aerospace engineering student from London. She runs a unisex crochet and knitwear clothing business, entirely by herself, alongside her studies.
She knitted her first item when the pandemic-induced boredom peaked last May. After that, she quickly started crocheting at the beat of youtube tutorials. Eventually, she turned her passion into a business in August 2020.
Starting a business during a pandemic had its hardship, particularly with the restrictions causing shipping delays for materials and for her own products being shipped. She also felt like people were buying fewer clothes as they had nowhere to go. However, since people had nothing better to do than scroll on social media, corona might have been a blessing in terms of social media reach.
The brand allows her to be more in touch with her creative side and is a good contrast with her degree. Although she loves having her own brand and particularly enjoys the creative process of designing new items, she sometimes feels like she isn’t quick enough to create new designs and enough content compared to other brands and accounts on social media.
“At the end of the day, you have to learn to stop comparing yourself and your brand to others and be proud of what you achieve at whichever stage you’re in,” she says.
Whilst she loves both mediums, she particularly enjoys the intricate art of Crochet: “Crochet can’t be replicated by any machine which brings an extra satisfaction knowing that I can create such intricate items with my own two hands”.
She’s also eager to try new techniques such as resin and rugs. “I’m currently planning to expand my business with other art forms by the end of this year. I usually can’t stick to one thing for too long without losing interest which I can use to my advantage.” She’s planning on reaching a bigger and wider audience with the expansion of her product range.
You can place an order by sending a dm to the brand’s Instagram or by sending Teju a mail.
Take a look at the first installment of this series centered around accessories brands.
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0161 275 2930 University of Manchester’s Students’ Union, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PR