A Hartpury University student and his business partner are celebrating a successful first year after impressing the judges at last year’s Hartpury Enterprise Finals. The young entrepreneurs created an Instagram business that provides a VIP personal shopping and concierge experience to clients.
Johan Flo, a third year BA (Hons) Sports Business Management student, established J & O Client Shoppers in 2020 with business partner Ollie Chell. The online store sells a range of garments including leisurewear and trainers, a number of which are limited edition and designer branded. Bespoke requests can be made by customers and worldwide shipping is available.
Despite a global pandemic and the pair living on opposite sides of the Atlantic, the online concierge business has gone from strength to strength. J & O has a range of celebrities and sports stars as clients.
The entrepreneurs featured in the second running of the Hartpury Enterprise Finals, an event at which students showcase their innovative business ideas. Held in a format similar to the Dragons’ Den TV show, Hartpury students pitched their plans to an expert business panel comprising Ian Renouf-Watkins (Renouf Wealth Management), Russell Warner (Westend Office Suites), Sam Halliday (Federation of Small Businesses), Lucie Hammond (Hazlewoods Accountants), and Hartpury University’s Academic Dean Prof Stephen Draper.
The finalists submitted a full business plan and a 90-second video pitch before receiving constructive feedback and questions from the panel. After assessing the various strength and weaknesses of each business, the panel decided who would mentor each student and how to distribute a bursary fund of £6,000.
Johan and Ollie earned the mentorship of Ian Renouf-Watkins, Financial Advisor and Managing Director of Renouf Wealth Management. This includes 1-2-1 support and guidance on everything from creative strategy to activating new clients through networking.
“Although the £6,000 would’ve been nice, we believe that we have received much more value from the meetings with Ian and are incredibly grateful for his time and help,” said Johan.
“Ian has helped us implement new ideas such as a CRM software and TikTok channel and a new set of eyes on the operation of J & O has been invaluable. Balancing our studies, football commitments, personal life and other obstacles such as the Atlantic Ocean being between my business partner and I can be very tough. We schedule days and times to sit down and work on J & O related tasks and we maintain good communication that helps us to remain focused,” he added.
The business continues to build new relationships with suppliers, adding new clients all the time including professional athletes from around the world.
Ian Renouf-Watkins said: “I first met Johan and Ollie at the Hartpury Enterprise Finals and we’ve maintained a monthly catch-up ever since,” said Ian.
“I’m delighted that their business is doing so well with impressive trading during its first calendar year. Their work ethic and energy are unparalleled in my experience of young entrepreneurs still undertaking higher education” he added.
Simon Spooner, Head of Innovation, Careers and Enterprise at Hartpury, met with Johan to discuss and develop his business idea. He said: “We’re very proud of Johan and his business partner Ollie. Their entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiasm shone through at the Enterprise Finals in July and they’ve made good use of the mentorship opportunities provided by the Business Friends of Hartpury – our network of industry contacts. We hope to add further success stories via our Hartpury Enterprise Business Launchpad in the months and years to come.”
Students have a range of opportunities to work alongside local businesses and industry leaders while studying for a high-quality college or university qualification. These valuable connections lay the foundations for future employment, management and entrepreneurship.
Survey results from the 2021 HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey show an impressive 96% of 2019 graduates from Hartpury progressed into employment, further study of other purposeful activity.