Name: Blessin Adams
Course: English Literature
Deli Soaps specialises in manufacturing and selling handmade glycerine soaps from a small workshop in the Norfolk countryside. The soaps are crafted in my workshop by hand; the hand crafted quality of the items offers my customers an affordable yet luxurious cosmetic experience.
What motivated you to set up this business specifically?
The motivation behind Deli Soaps was to make bright, playful handmade soaps that remind my customers of delicious deli treats. I've always loved buying handmade soaps from markets and fares, however I noticed that the soaps on offer were always cold processed soaps which look very plain and muted. I felt there was a place in the market for bolder and more striking glycerine soaps.
When I was growing up my mum used to make and sell cold processed soaps and I would often help her with production and packaging. As an adult I started making glycerine soaps as a hobby, however I quickly found that friends and family were asking for more and more. I looked back on my experience helping my mum, I considered just how much I loved the creativity of soap making, and from there I started seriously thinking about starting my own soap making business.
How did the UEA Student Enterprise help you?
UEA Student Enterprise have been essential in helping me start up my business. The funding I was awarded has financed the entire project, and without that help, I would have no business. On top of the financial aid, UEA Student Enterprise has provided me with invaluable support and guidance. I've attended business workshops and have also had one to one guidance on business plans and market research. I learned a lot on these courses and I also found they operated as networking events. Contacts I met at workshops have helped me down the line with marketing and getting my stall into events and exhibitions.
What have the biggest challenges been setting up your own venture?
It can be intimidating to start a business on your own and at times it can feel overwhelming. For me the most important and challenging part of setting up my own venture was taking the time to create a thorough business plan. It was difficult for me at first, I had never even seen a business plan before starting out, however it has been invaluable in helping me plan and organise every step of starting my business.
How has this experience allowed you to make use of your skills and experience?
Before going to university I had worked for other people for over a decade. I always had a manager or superior leaning over my shoulder and telling me what to do. Being a student at UEA gave me a great deal of self-confidence, independence and motivation to work for myself.
What has happened to your business since you started?
Since receiving the award from UEA Student Enterprise I have been able to test and finalise my soap range, set up a stall, created a website and have designed and created all my own marketing materials. I'm in the process of building a workshop and whilst it is still early days I have started trading and am getting my business into local events and exhibitions. The reception I have received so far from customers and local business owners has been extremely positive and I am confident that my business will go from strength to strength.
What are the main positives of starting your own business?
Whilst there is a lot of hard work involved, there is a great deal of satisfaction to be gained from starting your own business. I enjoy the creative freedom I have and I feel motivated to work hard and push myself because I reap the benefits of my own hard work.
What are your dreams and aspirations for the business?
Of course I want my business to be a great success, both through the stall and online. My dream is to have my products sold through major retailers. I would also love to have my own thriving shop where I can expand my product range beyond soaps and into a variety of bath and body products.