Award-winning founder of a fashion website and London Met Marketing BA graduate Priscilla Lubin explains how London Met helped to jumpstart her career, leading her first to a marketing career at Unilever and then to strike out as a fashion marketing entrepreneur.
What made you choose London Met for your marketing degree?
I'm originally from Paris and moved to London about six years ago, when my English still needed some improvement. I wanted to go to a multicultural university where I could receive some extra help with my assignments and get to understand how the system works. It was wonderful to see how everyone was committed to helping foreign students to be more integrated and to lessen the language barrier.
What did you like best about your course?
I enjoyed the diversity of the modules and the fact that we had a lot of teamwork throughout the years. I think students don't realise just how beneficial it is to become a good team player if they want to work in a multinational company.
I also enjoyed my lecturers very much, especially Helen Gabriel and Alex Muresan. They were both very passionate about their job, so it reflected on the course.
And London Met in general?
I enjoyed staying late at the library and all the resources given to us for free – such as the access to the database. I met incredible people there who I am still in touch with. Everyone is happy to help, from the lecturers to the students.
How do you think it helped with your career?
From the practical module I did and all the teamwork assignments we had to undertake alongside the theory, London Met gave me the right tools to land my dream job. I tried to follow the advice coming from the lecturers as much as possible and it helped me a lot to get to where I am now.
Did you get to do practical work or a placement whilst you were at uni?
My lecturers always emphasised the fact that we should get relevant work experience whilst studying. Therefore, I got myself a student job at L'Occitane en Provence as a sale associate. I think every marketer should have sales experience as it is the only way to see how people sell the product we market.
Also, I did a four-month summer placement working for Exide Technologies, one of the world's largest producers, distributors and recyclers of lead-acid batteries, at their European headquarters based in Paris.
I understand you were a part of London Met’s LaunchPad start-up scheme. Can you tell us a bit more about that, and how useful you found it?
I had the opportunity to enrol in the LaunchPad start-up scheme after attending a 3DS start-up event organised by London Met and Queen Mary University. I like the fact that the business start-up programme focuses a lot on customer discovery and market validation. We did a lot of testing and heard from successful entrepreneurs about their journey so we could learn from their successes and failures.
Have you won any awards? Can you give us details if so?
Yes, my team and I won the Try It Award from Queen Mary University who support early stage business with a grant of ￡10,000. We had to pitch our business idea in front of a panel of judges and explain how we will benefit from the grant. We are due to be part of their incubator beginning of October 2017.
I gather you worked for Unilever on some of their big brands like Dove, who have run award-winning marketing campaigns. Can you tell us more?
Right after my graduation in 2014, I completed a year-long internship in Unilever working for Domestos as an Assistant Brand Manager. I was working on the toilet block segment and were managing projects, all at different stages, from concept development, research and development, market validation to products ready to be launched. I really enjoyed being part of a global team and designing marketing strategies for different markets. You really need to become culturally savvy and get to know consumer habits from all around the world.
After two years of working as a temp in the Domestos team, I got the opportunity to secure myself a permanent position working for Dove as a Digital Assistant Manager. I was working on the deodorant segment and managing all digital aspects such as e-commerce, website, social media and content creation. I really enjoyed switching to a more digital role where I could learn new skills.
What made you decide to set up your own business, and can you tell us a little more about it?
I always had a passion for business and always wanted to set up my own business from a young age. However, I was still waiting for an idea that would make the entrepreneurial journey worthwhile.
The business idea I was desperately waiting for hit me last summer 2016 when my boyfriend at that time and I were spending our very first holiday together. Both him and I are very into fashion, and pay close attention to what we wear. Before choosing an outfit for the day, he would religiously ask me what I was planning to wear so that we could coordinate our colour and style choices. I absolutely loved the idea of creating and coordinating matching outfits with my partner.
This curiosity caused me to do some online research to find a website that could be designed and offered matching outfits for couples. Unfortunately, I could only find websites that offer cheesy, untrendy, and awkwardly obvious matching outfits. I was looking for fashionable, classy, and modern matching outfits that complimented the couples who chose to wear them. It was from here that the MatchYourVibe journey started.
What’s the next step for you?
The next step for me is to successfully launch MatchYourVibe and hopefully be able to scale the business up.
Do you have any final tips for students or student entrepreneurs?
My final tips for students would be to get as many practical experiences as you can get – even if it means giving away some of your spare time for free. And if you get a student job, try to make it relevant to your field so you can build yourself a nice, consistent CV that you can be proud of.
I would encourage students to start their own business while still studying if they can. There is so much help given to you that it would be a shame not take full advantage of it.
My last tips would be to stay focus on your end goals and work toward it. Never forget that you need a good storyline when going to interview, so do things that are relevant to your field so you can stand out from the crowd.