Our world is your world. Careers in land-based industries.

Lottie James

"it’s not until you start running a business that you fully understand the modules that you are being taught are real life."
Lottie James in her shop Lottie checks her stock

I am a... shop owner

You could run your own business if you are:

  • Yearning to be your own boss
  • A self-starter and decisive
  • Creative and able to solve problems
  • Driven and persistent
  • Confident in your business skills
  • Able to take calculated risks
  • Knowledgeable in lots of different areas, including finance and administration
  • A ‘people person’
  • Able to manage and delegate
  • Interested in sales and marketing

Business graduate Lottie James has continued a long tradition of entrepreneurial Harper Adams students setting up their own business - she started her own clothes shop while she was still studying.

“Harper Adams is a great platform to get you to amazing opportunities of employment, but it won’t feel like all work and no play - there is an amazing social side to go with it.”

“Without Harper Adams I wouldn’t have had the courage to start my own business,” says Lottie, who started trading in 2010, at the end of her first year studying Business Management with Marketing. “I thought I could make some money in the summer holidays, selling country clothes at shows in a marquee.” The venture was a success, and led Lottie to take out a lease on a small shop in the nearby town as “I decided that in Newport there was nowhere to get clothing of country style.”

The 24-year-old stocks the shop (called Lottie’s) with the sort of clothes she and her friends like, and it has proved to be hugely popular. It’s also hard work, and Lottie has had to be disciplined and efficient with her time to juggle running the shop with her studies.

“I manage three members of staff. I also work as a sales assistant making sure all of our customers are happy. I do bookkeeping, banking, change the window displays, merchandising, and ordering of new lines and stock.”

However, the part of the job she enjoys the most is: “The people you meet and making someone feel special or good in a new outfit.”

It’s a role she excels in - so much so that she’s launching a second store in Shropshire. Lottie - like so many other Harper Adams students - has the willingness to dream, take risks and work hard, but she credits the university with giving her the theory and support to base her business on.

“It has been invaluable, it’s not until you start running a business that you fully understand the modules that you are being taught are real life. The course was varied and useful for me alongside running my business, I could put the theory into practice very easily. Harper Adams has a real spirit where you are part of a big family.”

Placement as a shop manager at Gonalson Farm Shop also gave Lottie chance to further her experience. “I would manage around 12-15 members of staff and make sure everything was running smoothly and everyone knew what the goals were. I bought all the fruit and vegetables, chilled products, bread and some of the general groceries. The best things about placement were the people I met and what they taught. My placement year gave me invaluable knowledge on managing people and how to run a successful business.”

We leave Lottie about to serve one of her loyal customers but there’s time for one last question - what advice would she give to students who’d like to follow in her footsteps?

“Definitely go for it. It’s a lot of hard work and it really challenges you every day, but there is no better feeling than saying that it’s yours.”

Find out more about Lottie's business on her blog (www.lottiejames.co.uk) or by following her on Twitter: @lottiesfashion

Thinking of setting up your own business after you graduate?

Check out some of these websites for ideas and inspiration:

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