Meet the Selfies, 2020

student designing on paper with a notebook and laptop on the desk

Five students have started their Selfies year – choosing to run their own business rather than take a traditional placement within a company.

The Selfies (short for Self-Employed Year in Industry) is now in its fourth year and is a unique opportunity for Kent Business School students to develop their own business as part of their studies supported by the ASPIRE.

The students have access to one-to-one support from the Entrepreneurs in Residence, Adam Smith, Jo Pullen and Karen Winton, and ASPIRE Project Officer, Rebecca Smith.

They also meet monthly to share experiences, learn from each other, develop their business in key areas including customer focus using social media, registering a company and tax. The monthly sessions include visiting speakers, often University alumni, who share their start-up journeys.

This year’s student start-ups are:

Evie Redman

BSc Business and Management, Medway

Business: Evie Teadora, I am a pet portrait artist, I receive photos of furry friends and turn them into unique paintings that capture their personalities.

What inspired your business?

I took A-level Fine Art and for my coursework, I chose to paint pets. Studying the history of pets in paintings was fascinating, and I loved travelling to various galleries to see how different artists from different eras depicted them.

What do you hope to gain from your Selfie year?

As well as business knowledge, I’d like to gain personal skills such as time management, self-motivation and confidence.

Follow Evie Teadora on Facebook and Instagram 

Uwais Mahmood & Roshini Kaur

BSc Business and Management, Medway

Business: DOCIOUS is a milkshake-based business, differentiated by its infusion of highly cultural ingredients which adds a deliciously unique flavour. DOCIOUS will have two main original flavours consisting of vanilla and strawberry, but with a DOCIOUS twist. By incorporating different cultures into the milkshakes, DOCIOUS aims to promote cohesion and celebrate diversity. In a world that seems very divided, DOCIOUS hopes to encourage inclusion through an amazing tasting milkshake, which has ingredients inspired from around the world. DOCIOUS specifically selects ingredients that also have health benefits, so the sweet flavoursome milkshake is not completely slurped away with guilt.

What inspired your business?

DOCIOUS was inspired mostly by my partner and I’s heritage of Indian/Pakistani flavours along with our obsession for milkshakes. One day my partner and I mixed both of these elements together and was so delighted with the outcome that we were determined to make a successful business out of it. By looking at many milkshakes over the years it had also inspired us to create more than just a milkshake, we wanted to create a milkshake that also inspires others to celebrate diversity.

What do you hope to gain from the Selfie Year?

We hope to gain experience in every area from budgeting to marketing and to strengthen our ability to solve problems, creativity as well as our business acumen. We also wish to develop our personal skills such as self-discipline and self-motivation and to encourage others to pursue their ideas and embrace one another.

Follow DOCIOUS on Instagram

Lauren Portnall

BSc Business and Management, Medway

Business: TigTumn Tails, pet accessories and pet-related gifts, specialising in fun, customisable dog bandanas currently. Future products include dog collars, harnesses and leads!

What inspired your business?

Surprisingly, I have never owned a dog. Of course, I’d like one but it is not feasible at the moment. In 2018 I began volunteering for the Cinnamon Trust, helping elderly people walk their dogs, and my love for dogs rocketed. I knew from then I wanted to do something related to dogs, and I thought if I can’t have my own, why not make accessories and apparel for other dogs! I have a cat, who I love very much, who has been dressed up in various things since she was a tiny kitten, so I guess it kind of stemmed from there!

What do you hope to gain from your Selfie Year?

Confidence and belief in myself. I struggle with self-belief, and I know that if at the end of the Selfie year I have done my best at running my own business, it will prove that I can do these things. In addition, I am excited for the ongoing support and knowledge from Adam and Rebecca, as I know that to receive one-to-one support in setting up your own business is an opportunity that doesn’t come around often. Overall, I am keen to see how I grow as a person!

Follow TigTumn Tails on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Giovanni Morgan

BSc Marketing, Canterbury

Business: MGX is a denim customisation service, dedicated to realising the ideas and designs of customers. We are not just a brand, we provide customers with a choice… or 50! MGX not only fashion innovative and contemporary designs of our own but also encourage personal requests from creative customers.

What inspired your business?

The idea that we live in a Creative Age. With the rise of dominating tech start-ups and media platforms such as Tik Tok, YouTube and Facebook we have all been given the tools and a canvas to learn trades, create unique content and express ourselves to the masses. Initially, through the historical and cultural median that is denim, MGX was to created to depict how customer creativity fits inside the profound fashion industry.

In 2018, I studied how prevalent and successful small customisation brands were in the form of trainers as well as the success of global brands such as Nike and Off-White. In order to tackle the saturation of customisation brands specialising in trainers, I decided to take a step into mainstream fashion in the form of a Denim oriented customisation service, MGX JEANS.

Giovanni is simultaneously developing a second business, The Creators Exhibit.

What inspired The Creators Exhibit?

The idea that creators deserve a platform in which they control the narrative. A place where they can be championed through their exhibition for their integral role to the innovation of humanity as a whole, and finally a supporting entity to equitably aid and support them in the monetisation and continuation of their craft.

What do you hope to gain from your Selfie Year?

Refined skills in organisation and management, further understanding of the corporate world, Development, organic growth and cementation of a brand, experience within various industries, valuable experience with managing companies

Follow MGX on Instagram

Previous year’s Selfie programmes have helped to develop several successful businesses including Jehu-cal, TabCare, Hudson Harley and Nadia Esi.

Find out more about a Selfie Year 

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