HAMILTON, Bermuda, Thursday April 6, 2017 – At just 21 years old, Bermudian Makaela Richardson is quietly stomping her way into the world of entrepreneurship, leaving footprints of success.
Richardson, who is currently pursuing a business degree, is currently getting her own hands-on experience through the business she founded last year – Free the Fresher, a website for students looking for home delivery of living essentials and academic supplies.
As she shared her story with the Royal Gazette newspaper, Richardson admitted that business was not her first choice. She thought she was destined to be a lawyer.
However, in the twists and turns of life, she found herself moving in a new direction and transferred from a law degree at a UK provincial campus university in Reading, to the University of Greenwich in expensive London to study business and economics.
It didn’t take long for the business idea to pop into her head and Richardson began the tough task of raising money to fund her dream.
Taking up a 9-5 job during her summer holidays and waitressing at night, she was able to raise around $7,500 to launch Free the Fresher.
The subscription service delivers stationery, kitchenware, bedding and even a hangover kit direct to students’ doors, as well as exclusive discounts at major businesses like restaurant chain Nando’s and fashion retailer ASOS. “I saw the potential, and from the moment I launched it, it was getting good traction right away.”
Within two months of launch, the site had 3,000 subscribers and now has close to 11,000 subscribers who pay a one-time fee of between £50 (US$62) and £75 (US$94) depending on the specific package, to receive a total of three boxes a year.
Now she has lined up a major investor as turnover is expected to exceed $3 million in the current financial year.
Looking ahead, Richardson is planning to stick with her business.
“I should be graduating next year, and I will probably just keep running my business.”