Rachel Sim, from Arbirlot, graduated during the pandemic when few jobs or graduate schemes were available.
But she didn’t put time in lockdown to waste.
The 23-year-old always dreamed of having her own business and spent the time after graduation planning for Spruce Homeware, which launched in October.
The ecommerce business sells home décor and soft furnishings. Rachel handpicks the items, which come from a range of small businesses.
She tells us about her business journey so far.
Q. How did you get to where you are today?
Due to lockdown, we haven’t been able to attend any events yet and have relied on social media and our website to build brand awareness.
My university degree has been of huge help launching the business. I studied management with marketing which covered a great range of business skills, helping to prepare me for running my own business.
Q. Who has helped you along the way?
Business Gateway Tayside and Robert Gordon University’s Entrepreneurship Summer School both provided me with great support and guidance as to how to start the business.
I am also fortunate to have very supportive family and friends who have encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and try something new.
Q. How has coronavirus impacted the business?
The Covid-19 pandemic impacted how I met suppliers and customers in the first six months.
Luckily, I have been able to utilise social media and Zoom to meet fellow business owners and build relationships.
Spruce fit round the challenges of Covid-19. It operates fully online, with social media for promotion.
Q. What was your biggest mistake?
Starting the business has been a big learning curve. Although there haven’t been any big disasters since launching, every day I learn new ways of doing things and ways of improving the business.
Q. What do you hope to achieve in the future?
I would love to set up a permanent space for Spruce Homeware. I’m currently working from home which can be challenging.
I hope to work with lots more small and local businesses who create unique homeware.
I would love to have a small team working at Spruce Homeware in the future.
This would mean that the business responsibilities could be split across the team, with some employees focussing on processing and dispatching orders and others focussing on marketing and website development.
Q. What is the hardest thing about running your own business?
Running a business on your own requires a vast range of skills, many of which I needed to improve when I launched.
I have had to develop skills such as website design to be able to make it a success.
Q. Any advice to wannabe entrepreneurs?
Have belief in your ability and make it happen! Be sure to create a business doing something you love as you will spend so much of your time building it.