6 Student-Owned Businesses that are Rocking It - Part I

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6 Student-Owned Businesses that are Rocking It - Part I

September 25, 2017

To finish the cycle of teaching and learning in September, I felt there's no better way but to bring to your attention 6 incredible students (in two posts) who are also very successful business owners. Read their stories on how they started and made it.





🌟 James Yardley - Def Couture


1. What is your business about? 

Def Couture is an online store specialising in hip-hop, urban and retro clothing and goods. I started off reselling retro and vintage hip-hop clothing on our Depop store and have expanded that into selling new goods on our dedicated website www.defcouture.co.uk. It’s been a pleasure to bring together some talented individuals who are creating great products to provide a diversified and vibrant offering for my customers. There’s still plenty of space to grow, as I plan to bring about a blog in the future too.

2. How did you decide to start a business while studying?


The idea came from my excessive vinyl collecting, when I decided to turn some damaged records into hand crafted vinyl bowls. I ran a pop-up shop during summer selling these and other related goods which went very well, which inspired me to launch a store on Depop so that I could dedicate hours to the project during university and not have to wait until summer to run more events. I wanted to do something creative to complement my more academic and rigorous Economics and Politics degree, but I’ve been considering running the company full-time once I graduate, so I’ll have to see how it goes in this final year.

3. What was the biggest challenge?


Actually finding time to sit down and dedicate hours to the project became more of a problem in second year when the workload increased and I decided to continue my part-time paid work on the side, too. I also felt a bit guilty whenever I did find time for Def Couture, as I always wondered if the time would be better spent on my degree work.  In the end, it was a trade-off I was happy to make, and I’d say it’s definitely possible to strike a healthy balance between the two (and other responsibilities).

4. What was your first big milestone?

Like anyone selling online, I was delighted to see the first few sales come through. It’s very rewarding early on, as besides any profit made, it tells me that I’m doing something right on the marketing side! Transitioning to the website was also a big deal as it was a sign that I plan to invest serious time into the business, and I’m very happy with how the site is looking.

5. How did you go about promoting your business and growing your client base?


I’ve made use of social media quite heavily, as it’s an easily manageable and cost effective way to reach my target audience. Heeding advice from good marketers in online groups and on social media has been very useful along my journey, and I also learnt a lot from the very helpful entrepreneur office at my university.  I’ve attended fairs and other events to sell directly, which gave me good first-hand insights into how people view my products.