Second year BA Hons Business Studies & Spanish student Molly Heath took full advantage of the lockdown earlier this year to start a soap and skincare company, Essentially You, in rural Aberdeenshire with her mum, Diane.
The products available include soaps, bath salts and shampoo bars, and their range is continually growing with lip and body balms and whipped scrubs about to be launched.
Whilst mum Diane is busy researching new recipes, coming up with new blends and producing the products, Molly says that she has been putting what she has learned so far on degree to good use.
“My main job at the start of our venture was to ensure that all of our products were compliant with EU regulations and all of our cosmetic safety assessments were ready to go. However, since our rapid growth over lockdown, I have been busy doing all sorts; label designs, helping to make the products, local deliveries, website admin and contacting different shops across Scotland who would possibly be interested in stocking our products.
When starting up Essentially You, I knew I was going to have to step up in order to promote our business as much as possible, and studying business gave me the confidence and skills to do that. From my studies in first year, I understand the importance of having a strong brand image, which is why I took the role of designing the labels to ensure that we were recognisable. Even though I am creative, and marketing definitely interests me, studying economics in my second semester has also helped me to understand the financial side of our business.
Working in the real business world has really opened my eyes. There is a big difference between sitting in the lecture hall and learning about business, but I feel as though this experience has taught me how to do that. Working with my mum, fellow crafters and shop keepers has taught me how to be open to new ideas and how to work well as a team. There may be a few disagreements, but we overcame them in order to come up with a solution together – that’s what running a business is about. Things may not always work out the way you want them to, but you have to keep searching and experimenting so you end up with an amazing product that not only your customers are going to love, but one that you love too. I will forever carry the skills I have learned into whatever line of business I end up in.
My advice to any fellow students wanting to start up their own venture is always believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself and your business, how do you expect anyone else to believe in you? Your business starts with you. Love it and cherish every moment.”