ENTREPRENEUR Charlotte Creed has launched her first business after cutting her academic career short.
Ms Creed, 23, was studying for a degree in advertising and marketing at the London College of Communications but left after two years to pursue her dream of opening a shop.
Now that dream has become a reality with kitchenware store The Oxford Pantry opening its doors in Little Clarendon Street, Oxford.
Ms Creed said: “I left university after the second year and earned a diploma.
“I could have done a third year for the degree but it would have been another £11,000 gone and I was offered money that would not have been there in a year’s time had I spent it on the course.
“I was ready to do my own thing.”
The former Burford School pupil had worked for a promotional events company before going to university and was also inspired by the success of her partner, Chris Manners, who helped set up the Rusty Bicycle pub in Magdalen Road, East Oxford, and the Rickety Press in Jericho.
“I really wanted to experience the buzz of setting up a business myself and wrote several business plans,” she said.
“I have developed one of them and have been looking for suppliers and finding premises.”
She identified a gap in the market for kitchenware including pans and coffee machines and is determined to succeed despite a string of shop closures in Little Clarendon Street last year. Inspires art gallery and the Sylvester gift shop, which had traded there for 30 years, both closed, blaming high rent and rates and dwindling trade.
Ms Creed, who has invested £35,000 in the business, added: “There are a lot of affluent families around and we don’t feel we will have any of those problems.
“We are being very careful and hopefully it will work out for us.”
Ninety per cent of the shop’s products are not available elsewhere in Oxfordshire and Ms Creed has sourced suppliers from across Europe who have been looking to break into the UK market.
Ms Creed, who will be helped with the business by her mother Philippa and store manager Amelia Bradley, added: “A lot of people have come through the door even before we have opened so the interest is there.”
And she has some advice for young people looking to start their own business.
“You don’t need a lot of money – you will succeed if you believe you can do it.”