Graduate entrepreneur, Toby Snowdon (BA Economics & Business Management 2014), has realised his vision of launching his own premium footwear and clothing store. Based in Stokesley, in North Yorkshire, Soul is a customer-led fashion and lifestyle store stocking designer clothing and providing a bespoke, personal shopping experience.
Since graduating last year, Toby has been working hard to launch his own business with support from the University's Careers Service's Rise Up scheme, which provides free bespoke business support for Newcastle graduates.
Having worked for retailers around the world, launching his own store was a natural progression for Toby. He also gained first-hand experience in product development and business selling while working for his father.
Toby said: "I always liked clothes on a personal level, but it was working with the product which helped me to realise the detail and versatility of clothing and footwear."
Soul's aim is to instil a sense of fun and playfulness into clothing and footwear to create a fashionable look and capsule wardrobe that combines style, practicality and quality. As the name suggests, Soul reflects Toby's vision that product and customer-led service should be at the centre of everything they do. The concept is simple and guaranteed to help this independent store make its mark.
"We have predominantly gone for the more fashion-orientated product which will complement the store and the individuals who shop there," said Toby.
Toby said: "Rise up was extremely supportive. Jackie Wade, one of Rise Up's Business Advisers, went through my whole business plan offering recommendations on how to improve it and spent time discussing the business with myself."
"The connections of the Careers Service also meant that I had a lawyer look over a lease for free. This service was fantastic as legal representation costs a lot of money. Overall I couldn't recommend Rise Up enough to anyone considering an entrepreneurial project."
If you're thinking of your starting up your own business, Toby is keen to share advice for other budding entrepreneurs. "The advice I would give is to always be ambitious and aim to do the very best you can, but have realistic expectations and predictions," said Toby, "In order to succeed you must keep setting short-term goals which work in conjunction with the long term aim of your company. Finally, be driven, opportunistic and don't be afraid to ask for extra help from anywhere possible."
If you're considering setting up your own business, Rise Up is here to help. They can help any graduate looking to develop their enterprising skills, or to start up or grow their own business. This service is for free and for life. Even if you only have an idea, the team have over a decade's worth of experience and can provide you with tailored support and advice. Business coaching, advice, access to finance and opportunities are amongst the many services the team are able to offer.
For more information about Rise Up please click here.
published on: 2 April 2015