Luke Brookes: the Careers team helped me develop my business.
Luke Brookes, a graduate in Product Design with Professional Experience, tells us about his experiences with the university’s entrepreneurial service which helped him to secure his future by turning his interests – and skills into two successful businesses.
“Before my placement, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do but had an idea that I wanted to start up my own business. I thought I might as well start now and get things going, so when I finish university, I can hopefully jump straight into it. I knew I couldn’t do product design because of the resource and expense needed to start-up, so I decided to go into graphics as it was already a hobby of mine. I ran into a few issues in finding clients and making the businesses sustainable, so I started going to the BeePurple sessions.
BeePurple do a lot of workshops, which have been incredible with lots of different speakers coming in, and there’s one-to-one support and training. Whenever you drop them an email saying that you’ve got an issue, they sit down and talk it through with you, and if they know of anyone that might be able to help you, they put you in touch. It was at the workshops I met another student who was selling products online, after a discussion we decided to partner up and sell products online together. This was my second venture, and a little more tied to the product design, but also allowed me to get a bit of money up quite quickly.
When my third year came along it was a killer! I thought I could juggle both but it was crazy and there was a lot of work, so the businesses stayed on the sidelines whilst I had to concentrated on studying. After finishing I was able to get back to work on my graphic design business as well as the online product sales. Since then the product has been going really well, we’re starting to be profitable and be quite sustainable. Hopefully within the next month or so we should be fully supported by our product, and able to continue growing.
I wouldn’t have done any of this at all if it wasn’t for my course, because it gave me the confidence and the know-how of what I need to do. Although my business is not directly considered product design, a lot of the processes that I was taught on my course about how to come up with ideas, and how to come to solutions, have crossed over to what I am doing now.
When my partner and I first started selling our product, there was a launch phase where we sold out first 10-15 units and we were making £200 a day, that the moment we thought ‘okay this could really work’.