‘If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito’ Delhi Lama XIV
48-Hour Health Challenge 2018
Summer Startup Programme 2017/18
NZTA Kaikoura Challenge, winning team 2017
Lane Neave Lawtech Bootcamp 2017
What project are you working on at UCE?
I am working on a sustainable fashion label, The Dandy Club, which eliminates cotton and synthetics due to the harm they have on the planet. I am starting with men’s clothing, so I can focus on getting one thing right first. I am using innovative material such as milk waste, hemp and bamboo.
How and when did The Dandy Club start?
The Dandy Club started about 3 months before the Programme. I had heard about the Summer Programme and knew that it was coming up. I did a fair bit of research into sustainable fashion then pushed myself into applying for the Programme to start developing my idea.
Why sustainable fashion?
I am aware of the bad place the fashion industry is in and hear it crying out for changes. I am interested in anything to do with saving the environment and fashion is something I have always been passionate about so I want to see if I can improve the industry.
What are people’s reactions to The Dandy Club?
It can be mixed. For the most part, people react well and get my idea. They don’t need a lot of info, once they hear sustainability they react well. It’s the people who have already researched the topic that question and push me a little further, which is really good.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far?
The logistics of sourcing and shipping new material to manufacturers. I have to communicate extra clearly not only how the clothes are manufactured but instruct manufacturers how to use these new materials. This is a new experience for manufacturers and not everyone is up to the task.
How did you find the UCE Summer Startup Programme?
Without doubt, the best thing I have done at university, I cannot recommend it enough. Working with such great people in a close environment for a long period of time was so great. When I first started, I noticed everyone was a little hesitant to share their idea but then warm up and eventually everyone knows each other’s ideas inside and out. Everyone just pushes and helps each other really.
What is your most memorable moment this summer at UCE?
There were a few really good laughs, but UCE pushing me to speak at Ministry of Awesome, Coffee & Jam was a whole new experience. Speaking in front of a fresh audience then opening the floor to questions was exhilarating. You have no idea how they will react or what they will ask.
How was the NZTA Kaikōura Challenge?
It was good, totally on the other end of spectrum to the programme. Being involved in the Challenge, helped push myself to do something I have never done before. It was a full-on weekend, Friday through till Sunday. I didn’t know a single person and definitely felt out of my comfort zone. It gave me one of a kind, practical hands on experience with business owners who had just lost their business. The Challenge was positively intense, if that is such a thing.
How was the Lane Neave Lawtech Bootcamp?
It was good again for another reason, UCE provides variety in their different Programmes and Challenges. For the first time, I was not the only Law student participating. The Challenge was held at a law firm which was a good experience for law students.
So you’ve just scored an internship, Ministry of Awesome, tell me a little bit about that?
I actually just had my first day as an intern at Ministry of Awesome today. It started when I spoke at Coffee & Jam. I decided to approached Ministry of Awesome myself as I really like what they do and what they are part of. My first day was good, everyone was friendly, and I knew a few people. I am excited to be part of the future city activator also. This internship is a step up and a new experience for me which I am really thankful for.
What do you find interesting about being an entrepreneur?
I never shy away from risk. In something that seems safe I get bored easily, uncertainty is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is exciting for me. I also like the flexibility, for example if you start out looking for fashion, you can take always take those skills and put it into another startup. I also like the people aspect, you have to push yourself to go out and meet people and make connections, I really enjoy that.
What advice would you give to another student considering starting up their own venture?
Do it but do it with UCE!
What are your plans for this year?
I have three months working for the Ministry of Awesome and will continue working in The Dandy Club while studying.
And what are your aspirations for the future?
To take a startup from the ground up and be successful, whether that’s via an exit strategy or progress it onto something I will do full time. Obviously, it would be great for The Dandy Club to become successful, but it will most likely pivot and change. I don’t think many people would get that lucky with their first start up. I’m optimistic but realistic.