Progress Update: Zooqie

For the twelfth instalment of our University of Exeter student business updates I met up with Tom Shopland, a final year student who runs an online store for hand-picked independent clothing brands named Zooqie. The initial idea came to Tom in the summer of first year when he wanted to setup, as many uni students do, a clothing brand – however, he quickly noticed that there was a gap in the market to create the a platform for very best of independent clothing brands. Essentially a space between the brands own websites and the massive clothing marketplace platforms like Asos, Not on the High Street and The Lost Lanes, where individual hand-picked brands could interact with new customers who were drawn to the marketplace.

Zooqie - a marketplace platform for the best that independent clothing brands have to offer!

Zooqie – a marketplace platform for the best that independent clothing brands have to offer!

Zooqie first launched in September 2013, selling over £2,500 worth of apparel within its first month as well as gaining a huge social following. However, disaster quickly struck as another company filed a complaint that Zooqie had infringed on their trademark within the same category. Tom points out that is is absolutely critical for students to check whether another business has trademarked their business name of choice before launching their company – a one minute search on the government’s Intellectual Property Office website will give the answer, as well as the ability to apply for your own trademark for around £175 pounds. Nonetheless, Tom, after a great expense of time and money, managed to come to suitable settlement with that company enabling him to continue using Zooqie brand which will see the website relaunch on the 5 July 2014!

Discover Independent Clothing

Discover Independent Clothing

With the help of an Innovation Centre grant the Zooqie website will undergo a complete revamp before re-launch and we can’t wait to see how everything develops once it is back online! With the likes of Young Ones Apparel and Tight Treads already onboard as brands we have a strong Exeter presences but there is always room for more amazing clothing brands so apply here if you believe your clothing company can add something to the marketplace. Zooqie are also keen to move into providing a platform for art, extreme sports products as well as many other exciting products over the next few months, with Tom hitting festivals across the UK this summer to promote his marketplace.

Tom was also keen to highlight the how useful it was taking them ‘Could You Be an Entrepreneur?‘ module within the business school, ran by course leader Professor Gordon Murray. Noting that it “really opened people’s eyes” about the possibly of starting a business Tom thoroughly enjoyed the core part of the module where students are encouraged to develop their own business ideas – something that helped him to further develop the idea of Zooqie as an online marketplace. He also noted the support given by the Innovation Centre in terms of IP advice while trying to resolve the trademark dispute – we are certainly here to help address student’s business problems of all types so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at the Innovation Centre. To get in touch simply email .

Here at MGR Music Tuition it has been another packed week, continuing to grow the teaching team with new websites launching including, including Piano Lessons Bradford (doubling up on the Singing Lessons Bradford website also launched earlier in 2013) as we try to supply the national demand for music lessons! I am also looking forward to getting some time over the next week to develop my fictional Mulberry Silk Pillowcase “eCommerce website on a shoe string” WordPress website (current cost having been £14.48) with the aim to create a fully functioning eCommerce website for under £75 as an example to Exeter Uni Students that launching a clothing business doesn’t need to cost you the earth website wise!

Posted under Clothing Companies, Intellectual Property Office, Progress Update, Zooqie

This post was written by Matthew Rusk on May 17, 2014

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Progress Update: Webwise Media

For the eleventh progress update I managed to catch up with Dan Wiseman, founder of Webwise Media, a website design business aimed at creating affordable websites for small and medium businesses. Dan, who studied drama at Exeter 2009-2012, focused his degree on arts management. Extensively exploring how the creative industry works and is managed on a financial level, he was prompted to start designing websites as source of income while at university. However, his skills for designing websites, as well as his honest and customer focused approach to web design, saw his business start to flourish in its own right during his second year at university. It was this organic growth in the business, where one website design would lead to three further enquiries that ensured that business thrived without spending too much on advertising.

Webwise Media

Webwise Media – not all businesses need to be born from a single eureka moment, many like Dan’s were created from a journey that became increasingly more entrepreneurial as time when on

Dan took a part-time job in the University of Exeter’s IT department, working over the summer to continue to learn and develop his abilities. It also proved a source of inspiration and motivation to continue to drive his business forward. By 2011, after wining some notable contracts, the idea that Webwise Media could become a post-graduation job started to materialise in Dan’s mind. That summer he took the steps to formalise the company, continuing push forward the organic growth of his business which had seen ever more interest from clients throughout the South West. By summer 2012 Webwise Media had started rent hot-desk space at the Innovation Centre, something that is available for all student businesses, subject to the approval of the Innovation Centre staff and had started to develop a number of exciting new software based projects like Screenfish.

By summer 2013 Webwise Media had moved into permanent offices in the Innovation Centre, partnered with an SEO company and continued to grow their client base – taking on new projects from across the South West. This hard work enabled Dan to take on two University of Exeter student interns in early 2014, as well as winning the prestigious 2014 “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” at the Exeter Business Awards that was a fantastic achievement. Moving forward Webwise Media will continue to grow their client base organically, pivoting slightly by looking to develop further into systems development and eCommerce website creation. Dan also plays an integral role at the Innovation Centre in terms of helping to develop the current entrepreneurial students, offering web advice as well as holding regular seminars through the career zone on multiple aspects of developing an online business. He is also always interested in talking on talented University of Exeter students to work at Webwise Media as interns, you can get in touch with him via the Webwise Media website. We are excited to see how Dan’s business continues grow and develop over the next twelve months and hope he represents the first of a new wave of entrepreneurial Exeter students who will choose to grow their businesses in the South West!

Posted under Progress Update, Student Interns, Student Jobs, Webwise Media, Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards

This post was written by Matthew Rusk on May 10, 2014

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Progress Update: Just Winston

For the tenth article in our progress updates I sat down with Chris Rea, co-founder of a custom onesie clothing company called Young Ones, to talk about his growing involvement with another University of Exeter clothing brand now known as Just Winston. Dubbed “the ultimate dinner shirt” Just Winston combines extremely high quality shirts with exciting fabric designs, enabling the wearer to be both perfectly formal as well as having that distinct edge as the party livens up!

Founded by Nathan Ball and Ollie Sills as Winston Shirtchill, Chris and Young Ones co-founder Tom Carson decided to approach the pair in early 2014 as they were interested in helping drive the business forward. The four quickly came to an agreement that saw Chris and Tom come into the business as co-directors. The brand quickly developed, seeing the change in name, improvement of product quality and crowd sourced business funding from Kickstarter. Originally targeting £2,500 Just Winston rapidly exceeded expectations gaining 146 backers and over £5,764 to date. For those who know the passion of these four founders in delivering quality clothing products to market, as well as the potential for this project in particular this success is well founded. Indeed, Just Winston’s dinner shirts represented the University of Exeter at SETsquared’s Uni PopShop held in Spitalfields Market in summer 2013 as our product of choice – something I was luck enough to participate in as a team member.

From the interaction, interest and overall passion the general public had for this brand during the event within London is clear that on a conceptual level the business is completely there – now with the added help of Chris and Tom to develop the brand, business and operational models I really think we will see Just Winston develop into one of the more successful clothing brands to come out of the University of Exeter. The four are set to relaunch Just Winston in September 2014, something that we are all looking forward to! I will keep you updated with their progress!

Just Winston - the ultimate dinner shirt

Just Winston – the ultimate dinner shirt!

Here at MGR Music it has been another positive week, having taken on another new guitar teacher based here in Exeter for the Guitar Lessons Exeter website, as well as a second singing teacher on the Singing Lessons Brighton – both really exciting news!

Posted under Clothing Companies, Just Winston, Kickstarter, Progress Update, Young Ones

This post was written by Matthew Rusk on May 3, 2014

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