You would be forgiven for feeling anxious for new business owners, especially as the ONS has recently reported a 43% decrease in profit for current traders. Yet there are lots of young, enthusiastic and talented Surrey business owners who have remained optimistic and hopeful in the face of the pandemic and continuing uncertainty. We met with three young people in Surrey who have recently started their own businesses.
Now more than ever we need to shop local. And remember, it’s never too early to get ready for Christmas!
Francesca Vaz: Bee Kind Waste, based in Epsom
At Christmas time we often want to buy new things for the ones we love. But what if we thought differently and used what we already have?
Francesca Vaz is 25 years old and a keen believer in upcycling and ethical fashion. While completing her degree in Textiles, and Masters in Art and Design, Francesca spent most of her time in the print room experimenting. Whilst she enjoyed working in print design, she soon realised that the fashion industry was destructive across the world for animals, the environment and people. Put frankly, Francesca says, fashion can be deadly.
Francesca learned that designers don’t have much control over where their designs end up. She told us, “that’s why I wanted to have my own business. Having my own vision has always been important to me.” This is the moment Bee Kind Waste was born.
Francesca is keen on up-cycling waste materials to increase their value and enjoys sharing her vision. Pre-pandemic, Francesca was able to teach small groups on how to up-cycle and make items. Before lockdown Francesca did a “Fix Your Socks” party. She said, “I think we all need to start fixing our clothes to make them last longer and learn from what our grandmothers used to do!” Over lockdown Francesca offered to help a local charity, The Sunnybank Trust, by creating videos for their members. Through recent funding she now has the role of “Craft Co-ordinator” and creates videos every week for people in local care homes to craft along to.
Francesca sells items online and has traded at the Epsom Vegan Market. Her recent creations of face coverings have done particularly well. Although Francesca plans to do more markets at Christmas she remains realistic, grounded and keeps a regular online presence to promote her business, products and ethical values to help us all to stay more aware.
Francesca regularly updates her Instagram page with various upcycled products she has made, from face coverings to eco-Christmas crackers. If you are interested in upcycling then email Francesca at Bee Kind Waste: [email protected]
Christina Rodrigues: PALM London, based in Wallington
We all want to choose that perfect present for friends and family, but when faced with so much choice it can be hard to make a final decision. This is where PALM London steps in. They do the hard work so you can sit back and relax knowing that you have gifted a loved one a beautifully bespoke, pre-curated gift box.
Christina Rodrigues has always had a passion for creating memories for loved ones through gifting. She told us, “I found that it was very challenging to find unique pre-curated gift boxes that I could send straight to friends and family all at the click of a button. With a passion for gifting and a creative streak I spent the next year researching and spending my time locating the perfect items for each giftbox. Finally, what had started as a dream turned into a reality in September 2020 and PALM London was born.”
By understanding customer needs and with flawless execution, the business aims to create a stress-free experience so that you can show those you care about how much they mean to you. PALM London works with amazing brands: Ecoffee, Love Cocoa, Steph and Joes Popcorn and many more to bring you beautiful pre-curated gift boxes suitable for any occasion. The boxes can be shipped straight to the ones you love (or yourself) with a handwritten personalised message to give it that special touch.
Their mission is based on appreciating those important relationships we have in our lives and not taking them for granted by creating Personal And Lasting Memories (PALM) through gifting.
Despite being in the midst of the pandemic, Christina hasn’t let this phase her. They are solely an online business, however, in future they plan to be in pop up shops and stores. The pandemic has thrown a few curve balls their way, meaning they have to be extra organised, but they are always looking forward with a positive outlook and strong belief in their products.
Follow their journey on Facebook and Instagram and check out their range of gift boxes and get a head start for Christmas!
Georgina D’Souza: Resin By Gee, based in Sutton
Over the first lockdown you may have been thrown by the change in pace of life. While many of us adjusted to the new normal, some people, like Georgina, took the opportunity to invest more time in their artistic side.
Georgina D’Souza has always been creative, and over the lockdown she decided to channel her energy into making custom designed keyrings.
Georgina is still working through this pandemic as a data executive for a commercial real estate company and feels very fortunate to still be in her job. Georgina told us that changing from working in central London to working from home has been an absolute blessing and one of the best things to come out of this crazy year. She said, “it has allowed me the time to start this amazing new hobby that I have been lucky enough to turn into a business!”
Georgina started Resin by Gee in August 2020 and currently sells via Etsy or takes orders via Instagram. Everything that she makes is custom made.