Alumni in Focus

Rachel Sim

Owner/Founder Spruce Homeware

Rachel Sim started her homeware and soft furnishings business Spruce Homeware in 2020, after graduating into a global pandemic and at a time when employers were not taking on new staff.

We were keen to talk to Rachel to find out more about her journey since leaving RGU last year, becoming self-employed and starting a business during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rachel is passionate about her business selling homewares. The business stocks small, artisan creatives and producers from across Scotland. She recognised that some creative businesses want to sell their products but perhaps don’t have the desire or the business skills to manage the sales and marketing side. At a time when many high street retailers have had to close their doors, an online retailer like Spruce Homeware gives a real boost to small independent producers.

A lot of the retail business skills and knowledge Rachel has developed came from her time on placement working for two small retail companies, whilst studying for her BA (Hons) in Management with Marketing. Rachel has received business support from various places since graduating, including Business Gateway and RGU Innovation’s Entrepreneurship Summer School.

Rachel explains how starting your own business comes with a lot of ups and downs and being resilient is essential. There will be weeks that are incredibly rewarding and others that can be equally difficult. She advises alumni thinking about starting a business during a pandemic to go for it. If it fails, the skills learnt during the process will be invaluable and if the business is a success, you will have created something from the ground up that you will be so proud of.

It’s evident that Rachel is passionate about what she does and proud of what she has achieved in a short time. She puts a lot of thought into customer presentation, making sure the packages she delivers have that personal touch. She builds strong relationships with her stockists and is working hard to develop a business model that benefits both Spruce Homeware and the producers she stocks.

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