Some people spend their uni lives playing Fifa and ordering pizzas, but more and more students are getting themselves out into the wider world from the word go. I caught up with Maria Perry, a young designer who launched her own sunglasses line in her First Year of uni.
How did you first come up with the idea of Glitta Glo?
It was when I was in first year! It was Christmas and I was going to the beach, obviously it's not normally that sunny in winter so I really struggled to find a pair of cool sunglasses. So I found an old pair of mine that were really battered and boring and decided to put some gems around them, jazz them up a bit, and that was the original product!
Who would you say inspires you as a person and a brand?
James Caan is a huge inspiration, he is such an impressive business man but in general I would have to say founders of big corporations like Spanx. I think it’s amazing that the founder (Sarah Blakely) grew a company out of a such a simple idea, it’s the same with Nasty Gal founder, Sophia Amoruso, her story is so amazing, the way she used photography to really sell her brand was so revolutionary when she started. Her finding that gap in the market, I want to do that.
What advice would you give to people wanting to set up their own brands?
I would say go for it! The quicker the better in my opinion, don’t give yourself time to overthink just do it, otherwise you will think of 100 reasons not to. However, I would also say it’s important to know when to ask for help. I found that speaking to other young entrepreneurs has really helped me with things, even if it’s something as simple as using Instagram in a different way can really revolutionise a brand.
London Fashion Week Top Tips?
Go with what you like, style is so personal, and it should be! I think fashion should be about enjoying what you wear and that is what Glitta Glo stands for. You should be able to play with what you wear at whatever age without worrying about what is in or out at that time.
Anything exciting in the pipeline for Glitta Glo with university ending imminently?
At the moment we are starring in loads more Uni fashion shows and after that I am planning on just growing the business. I am going to take a business course, so I have more knowledge about everything I am doing and how I am doing it and hopefully following that I will be able to get Glitta Glo into some high street shops. The dream would be my own shops, but I am going to have to wait a while for that one.
I think so, while I am open to other products there are so many different styles of sunglasses that I have not experimented with yet so for the moment I am sticking with sunnies.
How do you juggle it with uni work?
I am fortunate to do a course with few contact hours, so that helps but I have been creating Glitta Glo as a brand from first year, so it’s been there since day one! It’s really my baby so I can’t really imagine my uni life without it. Plus it has opened so many doors for me, working with publications and other universities like Durham, with their annual fashion show, so it’s been a really interesting time for me. I like to think of it like as my sport, while some people might be off playing rugby or netball I’m doing this.
Image credit: Maria Perry, Charlotte Jaeger and Helen Wong