Josh Barnett is the founder of contemporary clothing brand Treatment Clothing. His designs have been worn by the likes of Little Mix and Carly Belmont from MTV's 'The Valleys'. Josh graduated from Cardiff Met in 2014 with a degree in Sports Coaching and shortly after became Student Union president. Here Josh tells us about the support he has received from the Centre and his future plans for Treatment Clothing.
My first experience with the Centre for Entrepreneurship was when I took part in the Cardiff Bay Christmas Market in 2013. The Centre provided me and a number of other students with the opportunity to test trade for a full day at the market. This was a really good opportunity as I had only started trading a couple of months before this. Up until this point all my trade had been online so it was a really good opportunity to see people's reactions to the clothes and to get feedback on which items were more popular. It was also a good opportunity to observe other peoples' selling techniques and to work on my pricing strategy.
A few months later I took part in Flash Fund, a competition run by the Centre which allowed students to pitch for a share of £1000 for their business. I successfully applied for £250 to go towards a new sewing machine and I put in the other £250 that I needed. This allowed me to buy a much higher specification machine which helped improve the quality of my stitching and allowed me to progress into new things such as different types of fabric.
During this time I also received one-to-one support from the Centre's Business Start-Up Manager. This was really beneficial as coming from a sports course I had never studied business before so this was completely new territory for me. It was really helpful to gain that expert knowledge on areas like where to access funding, branding and marketing and also the importance of marketing myself as the business owner. I find that I'm usually quite self-driven and tend to work alone a lot so having those conversations when I needed them helped to energise me and made me think about things from different perspectives.
I then went on to complete Countdown to Launch in June 2014 which was the Centre's five day business start-up course. This was a really good experience as by this point I already had a brief understanding of business but it was good to gain a broad range of knowledge on important areas like insurance and trademarking. It was also good to be in an environment where everyone was of the same mind-set with the same goals.
During Countdown to Launch I also delivered a workshop on my approach to social media and marketing for my business. It was a really strange experience delivering a workshop while also being a student on the course, but I feel that it really helped me to integrate with the rest of the group. I'm quite independent and don't usually work collaboratively but I found it really worthwhile sharing knowledge and engaging with the entire group.
On the final day of Countdown to Launch we were given the opportunity to pitch to a panel for funding for our business. I went into the pitch with the aim of telling the judges my story rather than telling them what it could potentially be. I wanted them to know that I had invested my own money into the business and that I had already grown it having started with very little. The approach seemed to work well as I was very happy to have been chosen as one of the six winners, receiving £1500 of funding for my business. I have used some of this money to buy a new cover-stitch machine and am planning on using the remainder towards a workshop and for printing equipment.
Since completing Countdown to Launch I have been working as the Student Union President on a 12 month contract. This has helped me to understand more about public speaking and connecting with students – things that will help me massively in the business world.
My plans for the foreseeable future are to get a workshop and continue building the brand and also to work on getting more celebrity endorsements. My advice to anyone thinking of starting a business is don't be afraid to jump into it – not in terms of throwing lots of money into something but in terms of developing the right mind-set. You can start small and build it up and it doesn't matter if you're not from a business background. You can gain knowledge in the different areas of business as long as you have a positive mind-set and the willingness to learn.