Bart and Sally-Ann
Student business becomes online brand
Two entrepreneurial Exeter alumni are seeing success after setting up a jewellery business while still at University.
Bartosz Wozniak (Law, 2017) and fiancée Sally-Ann Dunn (Biological Sciences, 2016) started their company, Baltic Beauty, in 2014 while in their second years of study. Since then they have grown the business into an established online brand and sold their pieces across the globe.
We asked them what inspired them to start their business while at Exeter.
“We actually never had any intention of creating and working on a business together. We were simply studying and in our spare time travelling. During one of our travels to Poland we discovered amber and in particular its use in jewellery. After much discussion and evaluation, eventually the idea was sprung. But it wasn’t so much a business idea, but rather the start of a hobby. Fortunately for us, we opened our online shop in full swing of the Christmas period and this holiday momentum showed us the potential of our idea. Within one year of our shop launch, we decided that this is what we wanted to do full time.
“Three things really helped us to find time while still studying and that was: organisation, teamwork and fun.
“We were both studying, both playing sports, both involved in sport’s committees; so organising our time and work was crucial. Teamwork was everything. We split the workload based on our strengths and timetables, as well as helping each other with our actual studies. When you’ve got someone motivating you to revise, or just to wash the dishes whilst you finish an assignment, you really can conquer anything. I think finally the real key to finding time for our business was the idea that it didn’t feel like work. Our spare time was dedicated to our business because it was fun and it was genuinely how we wanted to spend our free time.”
Baltic Beauty as now been in operation for four years and what started as Sally-Ann and Bart’s side project on Etsy, has grown into a business that sells around the globe.
“We’ve sold our jewellery to over 50 countries worldwide, we’ve been featured in numerous fashion magazines and publications, someone recognised us at a jewellery convention and actually asked us for a selfie! It’s a crazy whirlwind of an adventure and we’re just getting started. We’ve also noticed our presence in the market having a real impact on the trends of amber jewellery, which is just a truly amazing thing to witness.”
And has your time at Exeter helped you on your way?
“100% - being at Exeter gave us the platform, opportunity, connections and time to launch our business. Whilst we studied completely irrelevant subjects to jewellery making and selling, Exeter was where we learnt the key skills in becoming self-employed.”
Bart and Sally-Ann are now working on developing brand outreach and exploring the potential of stocking their jewellery in high street stores as well as online. And they are constantly creating new and innovation creations to keep building their market for the future.
Date: 12 October 2018