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RGU graduate Rachel Sim took inspiration from lockdown entrepreneurs

spruce homeware
Rachel Sim, founder of Spruce Homeware

A north-east entrepreneur says Robert Gordon University (RGU) gave her the confidence to strike out with her own firm.

Rachel Sim was inspired by artists and crafters using lockdown to turn their hobbies and arts into a business. This led her to develop Spruce Homeware – a website where people can support multiple small businesses without incurring several delivery fees.

Spruce currently stocks seven different small businesses’ homewares and some products from other UK suppliers.

The vision is to collaborate with more small artists and crafters – to create a space and community which supports these artists and encourages people to “shop small”.

Entrepreneurial spark

Ms Sim, 22, said: “Scrolling through Instagram, I was inspired by the number of artists and crafters using time in lockdown to turn their hobbies and arts into a business.

“I lack artistic skills, so this was never going to be an option for me, but what I did see was an opportunity to build a sales platform that would give these creatives the space to sell their goods.

“Many artists want to focus all their time and energy on their crafts and do not have the time or desire to manage business activities such as developing their own sales platform, marketing or having to manage processing and dispatch of orders.

“On the contrary, this is what I love to do. It was this that sparked my aspiration to develop Spruce Homeware.”

spruce homeware
Rachel Sim

Rachel is originally from Angus but moved to Aberdeen in 2016 to attend RGU, and graduated with a management-with-marketing degree in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic.

She has since returned to RGU to study for an MSc in corporate communications and public affairs, while also running her own business.

Ms Sim said the variety of her management-with-marketing course provided her with a good understanding of several business operations.

RGU encourages forward-thinking and students to be creative.”

Rachel Sim, Spruce Homeare

She added: “The degree covers a great variety of business modules such as marketing, advertising, innovation, business law and business finances.

“During the third year I undertook a placement year with two local businesses – Kilts Wi Hae and the Classic Watch Buyers Club.

“The placement year was a great opportunity to put the knowledge I gained at university into practice and get experience of working in a diverse range of business roles.

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“I also took part in the RGU Entrepreneurship Summer School. This course covered a number of business topics, from marketing to understanding business finances and operations.

“RGU encourages forward-thinking and students to be creative. Modules such as business and innovation, and business ideas and opportunities encourage students to consider alternative career paths – such as launching your own business. This gave me the confidence to pursue my own business venture.”

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