At the age of 14, Sophie had attempted to secure a handful of part-time jobs but after being unsuccessful and always spotting gaps in the market for accessories such as tote bags and jewellery, she decided to launch her own Etsy shop selling music inspired merchandise. Sophie took the leap of faith whilst at school and has continued to grow her business while studying at the Sixth Form College with the help of iTrust, our business start-up programme designed exclusively for students.
Sophie, who’s studying A Levels in Maths, Business and Sociology, said: “It all started when I was browsing for jewellery on Etsy a couple of years ago when I discovered a recurring gap in the market. I found that when businesses sold popstar-inspired products to music fans, prices would double. As a fan of music myself, I felt I had a good understanding of what others might like so had thought about setting up on my own.
“Last year, I was in my final year at school and home-learning was becoming really repetitive. School suggested we took a day off to learn something new so I decided to take that plunge I’d always thought of and set up my very own shop on Etsy.”
Since launching in 2021, Sophie has sold over 7,000 items and has begun working with iTrust to research alternative ways to grow and streamline the business. She has also worked with the team to spot areas for improvement, such as marketing and social media.
Our Enterprise department is home to the iTrust initiative, a joint venture between College, The Barnsley Chronicle and The Business Village, which supports students interested in starting up a business in Barnsley. Students who receive support from iTrust will have access to an array of information and guidance such as mentoring from industry specialists and local businesses and financial investments.
As part of the iTrust programme, Sophie has received a grant of £250 – some of which she has used to purchase embroidery equipment – and plans to utilise the remaining cash to expand her jewellery offering.
Sophie added: “I would definitely recommend the iTrust programme to others who are thinking of launching, or have already launched, their own businesses. The grant has been so helpful and has encouraged me to expand my ideas and business prospects!”
Lee Perks, Enterprise Team Leader at College, said: “Sophie has taken both her true interests and self-taught skills and turned them into a business. She has a super creative mind and I am really excited to continue to support her and watch Soph’s Ringss grow.”