We’ve got a British import boasting some impressive fashion finds and entrepreneurial advice. This online boutique entitled, The Student Boutique, is catching the eye and credit cards of students from all over the world.
Candice Edwards-Marchrones appears to have found a niche in the market. Her goal is to please student fashionistas everywhere with her high quality goods at cost-effect prices.
But what if you’re no longer a student? No worries! Read our questionnaire for Candice, learn her success secrets, be in the know and receive your “student discount” even though you no longer fall into the category – we do!
When did you start your company?
CE-M: I started the company 1 year ago.
Professionally, what were you doing before owning The Student Boutique?
CE-M: Before I started to run my business, I had just graduated from University, and was working part time in a bar to pay my bills. I’m also an actress too, so I have regular lessons and auditions which I still continue to do whilst I run my business.
Why did you decide to name it “The Student Boutique”?
CE-M: I named it The Student Boutique because I wanted to let people know who it was aimed at. This way I would attract the right customers – students!
What were the 3 most difficult things you had to go through in the beginning stages of opening up your company?
CE-M: I applied for funding to start my business, but I got declined due to the recession. The banks were very tight with money, so I had to save up some money to use and to buy stock ect. The Second problem I struggled with was finding a professional website designer. I didn’t have a large budget and I couldn’t have the best website to start with, but as the company made more sales, and became more popular I was able to update my website. The last problem I suffered with was myself – struggling by myself with no one to bounce ideas off, but I was able to get some help from my friends and family.
In the beginning how did you get the word out? How do people know about your company now? (Advertising, pr company? do you look for press on your own? etc…)
CE-M: In the beginning, and even now, I do my own advertisement. It’s mostly through Facebook adverts, posting links, and social networking. I don’t have a big enough budget to pay someone else to do it.
What separates your shop from your competition?
CE-M: I am very student based, and I have some students gaining work experience with me, so I’m really at the centre of students and what they want. I’m also a young female and I have a good idea of what women my age are looking for; price and design-wise.
What must you personally possess to run a shop like yours?
CE-M: Ambition! You must be a hard worker and willing to put all your spare time into making the business work. You must have an idea what is up and coming. You need to have a creative eye to create the look of the shop and the photo shoots.
How much money did it take to open up your company? And how long did it take for you to see the first signs of a Return on your invest?
CE-M: I initially started with £1,000, and I had to put more money towards it along the way. Making the money stretch as far as possible was important. Every time I get sales, the money just goes back into the business, so I am not taking any money out of the business as of yet.
Tell us a fun story that came out of you having this company.
CE-M: I just got sick and tired of all these websites selling clothes that don’t appeal to me or are too expensive, so I thought I would set up a company that would be everything I want when I go shopping online.
Did anyone help you open up your company?
CE-M: No help as such, I went to a few workshops on how to start up a business, but I was pretty much by myself at the beginning. This was hard at times, but now its a little bit easier as I have the help of students who can give me new ideas and an extra hand.
Who is your big inspiration and why?
CE-M: My biggest inspiration was a website called ASOS. I saw there company go from strength to strength and they are a huge business now. I want to do what they are doing, so I thought why not give it a try!
Tell us about a difficult time that you proudly overcame as an entrepreneur.
CE-M: I am proud to say I’ve kept my business open over a year, right through the recession. Even my business advisor was surprised I was still trying hard and getting sales. A lot of people gave up and lost faith in their business in hard times.
How would you describe the pieces you carry?
CE-M: They are high fashion, good quality, reasonably priced, feminine pieces, and you can wear them with many different outfits.
What do you LOVE the most about having your own company?
CE-M: I love being my own boss. I enjoy the creative part of the job, along with organizing the photo shoots and creating the different styles in the photos.
Give us 5 great pieces of advice for any current or future female entrepreneur.
- People buy for their reasons not yours.
- Be realistic – think if your idea is realistic and if you think it will work.
- Research if your idea is needed or wanted. Having a great product is pointless if there is no one to buy it!
- Be patient, nothing is going to work over night and just keep with it.
- Be willing to give up your spare time, along with seeing family and friends if you really want your business to take off!
Written and edited by: Bridgette Margot
THE STUDENT BOUTIQUE.CO.UK