The story of Zennor Glass began with three friends who shared a passion for the sea, a desire to make a difference and a drive to make a living out of doing the things they love.
Setting up and running a business forms a core part of the Business & Entrepreneurship course and students Holly Fowler, Lennie Jones and Ming Dawe decided to pursue a simple idea to create unique pieces of jewellery out of sea glass. The only problem they faced was that none of them had ever made jewellery before.
It turned out to be a minor detail. They were able to learn how to make jewellery and hone their skills through the art workshops offered on campus. And in less than two years the trio have gone from being amatuer jewellery makers to running a thriving business with retailers across the UK and Ireland selling their products. And while doing it, they've created an ever-growing social media community where inclusivity, body positivity, and inspiring people to get outside and enjoy the sea take centre stage.
As Lennie explains: "When we began, none of us had any experience making jewellery. We took advantage of the art workshops offered on campus and spent a month playing with flamethrowers to make one ring. It wasn't even close to being what we wanted it to be. So we tried something much simpler and decided to make necklaces. It was a process of trial and error, but it really took off and we built from there.
"We wouldn't have been able to do it anywhere else other than here because it's given us space, creativity and the ability to take risks, with a support network around us, that we wouldn't have had anywhere else."
From humble beginnings selling their necklaces to friends and family as well as a small stall on the University campus, the business quickly grew with their online presence, particularly on Instagram and Etsy, attracting interest from SurfGirl Magazine, who quickly became a Zennor Glass retailer. The next step for Holly, Lennie and Ming was to build their brand, their own ecommerce website and their different marketing channels.
"We used people who were around us a lot," Holly says. "Being at Falmouth is such a massive help for doing anything business-wise because you're surrounded by so many creative people. From our logos through to our photography, we've been able to draw on people we know to help us produce them with brilliant end results.
"People have such fond memories of being at the beach that span their whole lifetime. Our jewellery is such a nice way for people to carry that with them, especially with the custom pieces we make. A favourite part for us is the community we've built around the business and seeing the way people interact with what we've created."
Creating this community, encouraging people to enjoy life and promoting an active, healthy lifestyle sit at the heart of Zennor Glass. So much so, they've worked closely with leading environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage to run beach cleans and raise awareness of protecting the coast.
Ming adds: "Our next step is to look at diversifying our product range and introduce other items made from recycled materials. We all have different aspirations career wise but it's something we definitely want to carry on, hopefully with a shop in Cornwall."
With ambition as wide as the horizon and drive as powerful as the waves themselves, the Zennor Glass team are now perfectly positioned to expand their business, grow their community and bring their infectious love of the sea to many more people.