With help from Huddersfield University’s Enterprise Development team, young designer Elisa Etemad has launched a unique business selling jewellery and crafts made by fellow graduates and students. HILARIE STELFOX reports on her venture
IT’S FAIR to say that the world of fashion retail is awash with jewellery which is why it was so important for design graduate Elisa Etemad to find her own unique niche.
With a degree in textile crafts from Huddersfield University under her belt and an unusual line of quirky jewellery, she knew she wanted to be a designer but understood that it would be difficult to make a living.
What’s more, saddled with £30,000 worth of student debt and newly-graduated, she also knew that no bank would give her a loan.
Her solution to the problem was to apply for an activation grant from the Huddersfield University’s Enterprise Development team which provides mentoring and financial assistance to students and recent graduates who want to go it alone.
After facing a Dragon’s Den style selection process, 24-year-old Elisa secured £2,400.
Together with her bank overdraft facility and the remnants of her student loan she was able to open an outlet in Huddersfield’s Byram Arcade and stock not only her own designs but those of fellow graduates and current students.
“I was very lucky to get the grant,” said Elisa. “They were only making one business to consumer grant and without it I would have struggled.
“It is just about enough to cover the rent for the first year but didn’t cover any of the renovations that I had to do.”
In order to secure the grant she had to make a bid to a panel of business experts.