We spoke to the Cardiff second year who started her own business at university

That’s more ambition than some of us will ever have


Poppy Elliott is a second year Social Science student at Cardiff University, as well as a successful business owner. Poppy started her venture last year and is now the owner of Poppy Fleur Nails, a nail business providing Insta worthy manicures in Cardiff.

We spoke to Poppy to find out how she started a business whilst at university and how she juggles this with the pressure of uni life.

Poppy said she "started doing a couple of mates’ nails in first year, but didn’t start properly until the beginning of second year". Poppy explained that she wanted to make sure it was definitely the right decision, so she waited until second year to start her business.

At school, Poppy dreamed of being a midwife, but unfortunately her anxiety got in the way of her GCSEs, meaning that she didn’t get the grades she needed for midwifery. It seems this all happened for a reason, as it turned out to be the start of her journey into beauty and nails, which she has grown to love.

Knowing that university was an experience she couldn’t miss out on, Poppy went on to study A levels and got into Cardiff University. Her passion for nails clearly wasn’t halted by her studies, as it was university that gave her the drive to start her own business.

Getting through uni is a challenge in itself but managing a business as well is daunting to most of us. Poppy says the key is being good at prioritising your time, she said “if you have something you are passionate about then you can make sure it does not impact your degree”.

Poppy spent a long time weighing up whether she would be able to manage both uni and her business, without having to make too many sacrifices. "If I know I have a big essay due one week, I will prioritise uni and book in less clients for that week. I also use organisational apps which really helps me manage my time and stay on top of everything. You just have to constantly be on the ball which is tough."

Obviously running a business brings in money but Poppy says "it wasn’t a way to make money because I couldn’t even afford a nice nail kit at the start, but it just developed into a bigger thing."

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it was so lovely to meet this little lady today 💗

A post shared by Poppy (@poppyfleurnails) on

She told us that building a business isn’t just about the product, overcoming your own fears is a must.

Having struggled with anxiety when she was younger, Poppy explained that a mental block and the fear of putting yourself out there still very much existed when starting her business. Luckily, Poppy was headstrong and knew what she wanted, and was determined to make sure that it happened for her. So, for any budding entrepreneurs reading this, Poppy is living proof that if you want it badly enough, you can do it.

Thus far, Poppy hasn’t reached out for support from the university and isn’t aware of any support available to her and other student business owners.

However, Cardiff University told us that they have an Enterprise Team which offers support for anyone needing help to bring their idea to life. The support includes business mentor meetings, workshops and online tools. During term time, they offer employability workshops and start-up workshops. For more information, contact the Enterprise Team on: enterprise@cardiff.ac.uk

Poppy suggests it would be great to see the university hosting more business fairs or workshops for students with their own businesses, as it is difficult to afford advertising and promotion as a student. Even something as small as a notice board in the students' union could help student startup businesses to get their name out there. Cardiff University’s Enterprise team offer Start-Up Meetings which you can book online through your careers account to help you start the process.

Of course, we were also eager to hear about Poppy's plans for the future!

After graduating from Cardiff University, Poppy is keen to continue growing her business and encourage others to join in with her passion for high quality, affordable nail treatments, with a friendly and approachable feel.

Speaking to Poppy has given us an idea of just how hard it can be starting your own business, but the rewards you get from being self-employed can be huge. If you are passionate about something and think you can turn it into a business, write down some ideas to get the ball rolling, speak to your friends and contact Cardiff University Enterprise Team, and watch your ideas flourish into a thriving business.

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today my client came with a totally cool request – cow print nails. I was a little apprehensive as I was like, can I even make these look cool? I told myself that nail art should just be fun and if it looks shit than just take it off and try again. We soon figured out that this isn't actually that hard to do, you just have to not overthink it (something you girls know I struggle with) I love how my clients are coming out of their shell and embracing funky fun nails! I'm a firm believer in that you should look down at your hands and feel happy, so even if what you choose might be wacky, weird and wonderful – if it makes you happy then go for it. Don't think, just do ❤️ Many nail techs have done this look, but one lady who always inspires me is @lbebeauty 🥰 // as always all @the_gelbottle_inc

A post shared by Poppy (@poppyfleurnails) on

We wish Poppy the best of luck and hope that her future is as bright as her nails. Having spoken with her we can see her determination for chasing both her passion and her degree and we hope she continues to inspire others to do the same. Maybe it’s time for me to set up a business too…