Small Businesses Run by Students in Segovia


Creativity runs in different ways around the Segovia campus students. From artists to designers and writers. There’s no limit to a person’s talent and imagination when it comes to their craft, and today I bring you four students that turned their creativity into a business. 

Here are four businesses run by Segovia students, and what they have to say about what goes behind the product.

1. Hi! First of all, why don’t you tell me your name, where you are from, and what your degree is?

V: Hi, my name is Valentine Dupuy, and I am a 2nd year BBA student from France.

J: My name is Julia, I lived in Sao Paulo my whole life and now I’m studying BBA at IE Segovia. I’m a second year

C: Hello! My name is Carolina Rossi, I’m from Milan in Italy and my degree is BCDM.

J: Hello, I’m Joseph Weinstein, I’m from Lima, Peru, and I’m doing the Bachelor of Design.

2. What’s the name of your business and what is your mission?

V: My little business is called Duuduck and consists of selling trendy phone straps/accessories that are characterized by a duck. The idea is that each strap is unique and customizable for each customer to bring authenticity and a special touch to each accessory.

J: Madebyjop. Sustainability and individuality. These are the two principles that encompass my brand and propel my dedication as an artist. 

Over the years, fashion has powerfully reflected social changes by echoing the growing consciousness of a sustainable lifestyle. With Made by JOP, I took small steps against fashion habits that have negatively impacted our environment by embracing the growing trend of upcycling fashion. In other words, instead of throwing out a clothing item or accessory, I provide people with a chance to transform something old into something new. This brings me to the second principle of individuality.

All my designs are customized to the specificity of the order, making each detail and intricacy different from the rest. My customers are given the chance to express their imagination, and I transform it into a reality while maintaining my uniqueness that makes my brand distinctive

C: My small business’ name is La Borsina di Carolina, in Italian, it means Carolina’s small bag. My mission is to create fashionable and unique bags while trying to bring a green footprint in the fashion industry using recycled materials and fabrics.

J: I founded a business called Attractive Distractive, and my mission was to allow students from IE – starting with IE but then globally – to sell and buy art on the same platform.

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Images courtesy of @jo_sefiro on Instagram

3. When was your small business founded, and did you do it alone or with a business partner?

V: I launched my brand last October, during my first year at IE. I started this adventure alone.

J: It was founded by me during quarantine, in May 2020. I do 100% of the work for my brand; from assisting the customers in thinking of perfect customization for them to taking care of the financials of the company. I have done more than 300 customizations in these 3 years of business, all of which I have done by myself, with no help of assistants or other artists.

C: I started my small business in 2020 during the lockdown, I wanted to find something that would make my days more productive and fun. So, I tested out different hobbies like knitting and painting, but then I decided to try out learning how to use a sewing machine. Then one thing led to another, and I found myself making bags for my friends and then selling them. I have always worked alone because I was curious to see what I was able to accomplish autonomously.

J: I initially found it with my best friend. We started doing it for the IE Start-Up Lab, but we continued. He also likes to draw, so with our designs, we would make them into hoodies or canvas for the wall, and we started selling them in Segovia. 

People were tired of having in their apartment art like the Eiffel Tower, so we would bring something different, and it would apply to different types of art and for different types of customers.

4. What inspired you to start this business?

V: The idea came to me when I wanted to buy a trendy strap to accessorize my phone and I saw the extreme prices of some. I then bought beads with the sole purpose of creating them [for] myself without thinking of developing a business.

With the rest of my beads, I started to make them for my friends and family first, and from word of mouth, the concept became very popular. Something that I had not anticipated at all and I decided to launch the Duuduck adventure via an Instagram account.

J: Many people that I knew were starting their businesses in quarantine. It was the perfect opportunity to work on a business given the amount of indoor time that we had.

C: As I previously said, the pandemic has been my primary motivation to start, since my days were very monotonous, and I needed a change. First of all, I had a lot of free time to myself, and secondly, I was very inspired to start something new, something I could also continue after the quarantine.

J: Right now, I’m a Design student, but last year I was doing BBA (Business Administration) and what inspired me to start this project was that I was not fulfilled with BBA, I prefer to be more creative, so I used the skills I learned in BBA and combined them with Design to make my business.

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Images courtesy of @madebyjop on Instagram

5. Would you consider it difficult to balance being a student at IE in Segovia and running a business? What do you think is something you have learned from the overall experience?

V: I don’t think that at my scale (very small) I can consider that the mix of both is complicated to manage. It’s true that sometimes during exams it’s more complicated to follow a sustained number of orders (especially since I’m alone to create my models) but it just requires a little bit of organization and it’s largely manageable!

I think I can even say that combining the two teaches me a lot and can be [seen as] an advantage for me. As a business student, this experience allows me to apply the concepts I see in class, in real life at the scale of my small business.

J: Customizations take a lot of time, which means that it can be hard to balance uni life with my business. I used to have many more orders in Sao Paulo, as my market was established there.

I remember that back in Sao Paulo I had at least 10 orders per week whilst doing the IB program in high school. I used to work on my business between classes and a lot on the weekends. I was always either studying for school or working on my business. 

It didn’t bother me though because I am passionate about art and customizing orders was therapeutic and fun.

C: From my personal experience I would say it is nearly impossible to continue a business like La Borsina di Carolina while being in Segovia. I say this for various reasons but the main one is that there are no fabric stores that sell recycled fabric or scrap fabric which is what I used to make my bags. 

This made it very hard for me to continue my business here in Spain, but I must say, that when I go back to Milan I always sit in my studio and make bags to sell since it’s something I enjoy doing.

J: It wasn’t really hard for me to start a business, especially in Segovia, because I saw it as an opportunity to be able to do a business. There’s a real niche market here since everyone wants to have a nice apartment or cool clothes to go out. So, that was our idea.  

And something that I learned from my overall experience was that it’s always better to try. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was just trying, and it turned into a positive experience.

6. How has your business changed since being in Segovia? What positives and negatives can you deduce?

V: Since I launched my brand while I was already in Segovia, I didn’t know the impact before and after. However, I think that being in Segovia has helped me in the development of my brand and its expansion. Being in a small town with lots of students, word of mouth is easier to do and so the proximity of this city was beneficial for the development of my brand.

J: After moving to Segovia, I have received fewer orders in comparison to when I lived in Brazil. Many students live with a restricted student budget, with means many university students are not willing to order customization given the elevated price I charge (as it is handmade). So, I guess I have been impacted negatively not only by the decline in orders but also because many IE students are not aware of my business.

C: I would say that the positive part is that your clientele becomes very international. 

For example, when I used to be in Milan my audience was composed of Italian teenagers, so I only posted with Italian captions; now, since many friends of mine from IE started following the page, I started writing and communicating in English. 

This is a small example to show how my audience has changed, and how I should also make changes depending on this latter. 

For negative changes, I think that the main one is the fact that it is so much harder for me to be productive and active on my channel by being in such a small town that is not equipped for what I need to make bags, and consequently to run my business.

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Images courtesy of @laborsina_dicarolina on Instagram

J: Right now, I’m not doing anything, because I’m focusing on my Design studies, but I can say it was a very positive experience. Even though we didn’t have an Instagram at the time, the business going from mouth to mouth, people were seeing what we were doing, and they liked it. 

Segovia is so small, that everyone finds out about what’s trending fast. So, we would give free hoodies to people hosting parties, or to DJs, and when people saw our merchandise and liked it, that’s how we go our name out there.

7. What is a positive outcome that has come from starting your business?

V: I think that the Duuduck experience has brought me only positive things at the moment. Whether it be from a “professional” or “personal” point of view.

From a global point of view, Duuduck has allowed me to gain maturity and knowledge on the fact that I have to manage the whole construction of a brand (from the creation of models to the sale through communication on social networks). It allowed me to take my first steps into the active world and that of entrepreneurship. Hopefully, it will continue and expand!

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Images courtesy of @duuduck on Instagram

J: I have learned how to administer my own money and have met many new people along the way. 

I have also opened doors to many other opportunities such as being involved in a podcast, being featured in the IEU stork for the 2nd time now, participating in events, and pairing up with community services to help those in need.

C: First of all, I earned my own money for the first time. This may sound cliché, but it makes such a big difference if it’s money you worked hard for. 

Also, it made me realize how much power social media has, and how lucky our generation is to have such efficient platforms that help small businesses grow drastically in a short time.

J: As for a positive outcome from starting my business was my experience; it was very beneficial for me. And as for my roommate, who is my best friend, it was really good to learn together, especially because we were both very young and it was something that interested both of us.

8. Is there a certain milestone you wish to reach this year regarding your work?

V: Duuduck remains a secondary activity next to my studies, but it would indeed be great to be able to continue to develop it, and especially to create my imprint as a real brand!

J: I wish to learn how to crochet and be able to produce clothes to sell in madebyjop. I also wish to make IE students aware of my brand so that I can reach a bigger audience of clients.

C: I think my future milestone would be to restart my business in Madrid where I will have all the equipment I need to make my bags. 

An important milestone would be creating a new custom audience based in Madrid and not in Milan. 

J: We aim to sell as much art as we can to students in Segovia and to have all people interested in art, either buying or selling so that people that enjoy drawing and creating can make money as they study.

9. Where can people reach you or get a glimpse of your work? Do you have any social media or a website??

V: At the same time as the launch of the brand, I created the Instagram account @duuduck and it is through it that I make my sales. I try to make this account “trendy” and attractive to reflect my product in a way that corresponds to me.

J: @madebyjop on Instagram

C: My main way of communicating with my clients is on Instagram (@laborsina_dicarolina), but I also have a website where I put all the bags that are available for purchase at that moment.

J: We used to have an Instagram page called Adjective Distractive, but we have now changed the name to @jo_sefiro, which is my name as an artist, and you can still check out the things we do over there

10.  Any words of advice for future entrepreneurs?

V: I think that some advice I can give to someone who is hesitating to start a business is that this experience will only be beneficial and that one should not hesitate because even if it does not reach the expected goals, it will always bring an experience from which one can learn something positive. And that the best way to know for me is to live the experience rather than read about it.

J: You are going to spend so much time working on it so always make sure you are having fun in the process.

C: The most important thing I learned is you will never know if it will be a success or a failure if you don’t try. This means that even though it may be scary to start something like this in the beginning if you put effort and love into what you do, good results will come.

J: Just to give it a try because it’s honestly cool to just try. Like go for the projects you have and if it works cool, and if it doesn’t it’s still a good experience.

I believe Segovia is an amazing place to start because it’s small and you have friends and people that support you. And there’s always someone with the same interests. I think Segovia is perfect to talk about it with people and give it a try.

As you can see each of these projects is unique in its way, but one thing I believe they have in common is the responsibility and passion behind them. These entrepreneurs took the risk and created something special that will only continue to grow. 

Go give a look at their social media accounts for more of their content!  

Valeria Jaramillo
Valeria Jaramillo
Hi! My name is Valeria Jaramillo. I am a 3rd year BIR student from Ecuador and I just enjoy writing about life.

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