Soon-to-be graduate, Scarlett Chetwin has avoided the rigorous balance of part-time work whilst studying, due to founding her own bespoke earring business, Hoop.
The 22-year-old graphic design student founded her business which sells natural wooden hoop earrings which can be customised to any colour whilst studying at Kingston University.
For the first instalment in our new Young Entrepreneurs series, Business Advice caught up
with Chetwin to discuss whether she thinks there are young people running their own enterprises and why celebrity icons aren’t really for her.
1.Who are you and what is your business?
I’m Scarlett Chetwin, the founder of Hoop, a business selling fun wooden hoop earrings in a variety of customisable colours.
2. What inspired you to start your own business?
My business actually started by accident when I made a pair of wooden hoop earrings for myself out of some curtain rings. I never thought it would go anywhere but people began to ask me where I had got them from and if I could make them some too. I started making more and more and have now sold over 200 pairs all over the world, from Switzerland to Australia, to America and Spain.
I’d say the best bit about my business is that it gives me a break from my practice as a graphic designer, whilst earning me some extra money on the side. I haven’t needed to get a job during uni so it’s been good way to earn money doing something I enjoy. A
few months ago I saw someone on the tube wearing my earrings who I didn’t recognise. It is moments like that which make me feel like my hard work has been worth it and inspire me to continue doing what I’m doing.
3. What are the barriers to starting your own business as a young person?
I guess the biggest barriers for young people are money and time. I definitely struggled with juggling my degree alongside my business. Although if you are invested enough, you can always find time.
4. How did you fund your business?
Funding my business hasn’t been too hard as I have grown gradually as custom comes in, so I haven’t had to get funding from anywhere else. All my profits are reinvested in the business so that I can keep running and growing.
5. What do you think the younger generation can bring to the business world?
I think young people have a lot to offer in the business world. We are keen and curious, and up to date on new trends and technologies. I am constantly meeting people ticking with new ideas for businesses.
6. Will you ever work a 9-5 job?
I will definitely end up working a 9-5 job at some point as I am currently looking for graphic design internships in London. I think it is important to start working a 9-5 job as long as it is one I enjoy as there
is still so much to learn from others. Maybe after a while I’ll be able to work more full time on my earrings, but at the moment my business will live on as it started, as a passion project on the side.
7. Is a degree a necessity?
I would say it depends on the person. I absolutely loved my degree and probably had the best three years of my life, not to mention how much I learnt from the peers surrounding me for three years. There is definitely something to be said for surrounding yourself with like-minded people. However, I know people who haven’t had the same experience. It’s always going to depend on the person and their profession.
8. What tips do you have for other young people wanting to start their own business?
My biggest tips for starting a business I guess would be hard work. It sounds obvious but all successful businesses will have had a lot of time invested into them even if it seems easy. You also need to be super organised. Balancing 300 things at once was definitely something I had to get used to. And last
ly, be friendly. Most of my custom has been through a community of happy customers who I spend time talking to directly. The extra bit of time will not be wasted.
9.Who is your celebrity icon?
I’m rubbish at knowing celebrities so this is a hard one. I’m really into music and saw Erykah Badu at Field Day last week. It would be pretty cool if she wore a pair of my earrings!
10. What app do you use the most?
The app I use the most would definitely be Instagram. It’s perfect for me to balance my social and professional life and I sell a lot of earrings through that.
11. Where do you see yourself at 50?
At 50, I would like to be running my own design practice with friends, owning and baking at my own patisserie and still selling earrings. Who knows if anyone will still want them.
12. What song should be your life anthem?
My life anthem is another hard one. I love lots of different music so summing it up is hard but a song I will always love would have to be Senegal Fast Food by Amadou & Mariam, it reminds me of my childhood.
13. Netflix or night out?
We’re inviting Britain’syoung entrepreneurs to have their stories heard. To nominate yourself or somebody else for our weekly series, get in touch at email@example.com
Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.