Young Entrepreneurs at the University of Hertfordshire Enterprise Hub, discussing their business ideas
YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR LAUNCHES SKINCARE BRAND
As a new mum, Kristiana Bower was inspired to create her own line of skincare products which were free from harmful ingredients and sustainably produced. However, it was the support of the pioneering Young Entrepreneurs programme, funded by Watford Borough Council and delivered by the University of Hertfordshire, that helped drive her business forward.
Skincare products that care
Like a lot of mums, when she was pregnant for the first time, Kristiana Bower began paying a lot more attention to what she was putting in her body. “I was becoming much more conscious of these harmful ingredients,” she says, “and at the same time was very interested in sustainability and the health of the environment.”
After some initial research, she started creating her own line of skincare products, with three major priorities. She wanted them to be free of harmful ingredients, sustainably-produced, and simple: products that were equally as suitable for adults as for children.
Watford Young Entrepreneurs
Through creating the brand Wake Berry Skin and selling her creations over Etsy for the first three years, Kristiana had a clear vision for her product, but didn’t have the right experience to turn it into an effective business. However, Kristiana saw an advert on Facebook for the Watford Young Entrepreneurs programme, which offered free advice and financial support to people in Watford who were considering starting up or growing a business.
Aimed at 18-35 year olds, it was created and delivered by enterprise specialists at the University of Hertfordshire. The pioneering programme, which was funded by Watford Borough Council, has provided support to 120 young people over a period of just a few months. It has enabled Kristiana to take part in the two stages. The first stage included intensive, practical online seminars once a week, to learn the key important areas of developing a business.
This culminated in the students being given two assignments, which would turn into the pitch for their business and their grant application respectively. “It was an amazing journey,” says Kristiana. “I felt my idea was validated by what I learned, and it was great that they could do the teaching in a flexible way online. That was really important to me as a new mum.”
Kristiana Bower, young entrepreneur
and founder of Wake Berry Skin
£2,500 and a perfect match
After making great progress, Kristiana was invited back to attend the second stage of the programme, pairing with an expert mentor, Corinna Hartwig, who is a successful serial entrepreneur who runs Corinna Hartwig Consulting.
"This was the most important part of the whole experience for me,” says Kristiana, “even more so than the grant. My mentor was the perfect match. She helped me focus more on sustainability and gave me ways to move forward with my ideas. She’s a working mum herself and her journey tapped into what I was experiencing.”
In addition to the mentoring, Kristiana was awarded a grant of £2,500 to make improvements to her business. Working with Corinna, she decided to spend the money on a whole branding package, hiring designers to help her create a new logo and packaging design. She was also able to afford new commercial manufacturing tools, which were an upgrade on the kitchen appliances she had been using up until that point.
Lastly, she was able to send her products off for cosmetic certification. With all her products now certified, she’s ready to launch her new brand and its website.
"I was honestly so impressed, and didn’t expect the level of business mindset I gained from the programme. It went way beyond my expectations.”
For information on grants and business support available to Watford businesses, click here.