EXCLUSIVE: Is purple the new black?

With the arrival of the new ‘Purple Pass’, we spoke to creator Andy Mathews to find out if it is all it is cracked up to be…

Andy is currently studying a masters in Computer Science at Hild Bede, but this summer has seen the start of a new entrepreneurial experiment.

The Purple Pass is designed to provide students with top offers across town, but after bad reviews on the function of previous cards, The Tab wanted to find out if this is the one to have.

After selling nearly 500 in the past two days, we rang local businesses, such as La Tasca and Boathouse, to check its legitimacy and they seem keen to be involved.

The Pass’s promotional promises.

What made you come up with the idea?

A few years ago when I was a fresher I remember a few of my mates buying cards that offered them drinks deals at a few bars and clubs in town. Although they were £20 and most of the deals didn’t turn out to be legit, they seemed really popular amongst new students.

Since then I think those cards have fizzled out, and I figured it would be a good time to try and start one that was a bit more useful and covered more than just a few clubs and bars in town.

How does it differ to Absolute Life and will it work better?

I actually bumped into the guy who started Absolute Life in the pancake café on Crossgate a couple of weeks ago when I went in to see if they wanted to join Purple Pass. He’d been a student at Newcastle Uni 10 years ago and explained that the Absolute Life card in Durham has recently been rebranded as the Monk card, but that it only covers a few places in town.

I think Purple Pass differs in a few ways in that it’s run by a Durham student, covers more than just nightlife, and all the deals are on the website so students can actually check out all the discounts available and businesses can run new promotions throughout the year.

Even the least successful freshers can boast having one friend.

Why should we buy one?

Because you get:
  • A free shot with every Jonny Woodgate at Jimmy Allen’s
  • 3 doubles for £6 at Fabio’s
  • 10% off booze at Dunelm

But in all seriousness, the card gives you money off at over 50 popular student spots in town, including big discounts at loads of restaurants, cafes, takeaways, hairdressers and local retailers as well as clubs and bars.

Whereas NUS and NUS Extra cards give you discounts at a few big national chains like Topshop, they don’t apply to any of the local places that Durham students spend a lot of their time and money at.

Are you keen to expand the idea?

I’ve had a few people email me asking if there’s any deals for students based in Stockton, which unfortunately there isn’t yet. So it would be cool to get some businesses over there involved too and expand to other universities as well.

As I said previously though I think one of the strengths of this card is that it’s run by someone with a fair idea of which local places are popular amongst students, so I guess that would be a challenge when attempting to spread Purple Pass to other unis.

OVER 18s ONLY (Fabio’s can’t risk another bust).

How can £10 for the year cover all the offers?

None of the businesses involved in the card have been paid to join, so there hasn’t been many start-up costs involved.

I chose £10 because I’m aware that the card is new this year and a lot of students might have reservations about purchasing one for more than a tenner – especially since there’s been several cards previously that haven’t turned out to be much use past Freshers Week.

As more businesses continue to get involved in the scheme and the brand establishes itself a little more over the year the price might rise, but I don’t want to rip off students either.

Andy (right) and sales exec Xander Barnes at the Freshers Fair.

Andy will been selling cards at the Freshers’ Fair Thursday as well as around the university with 10% of the proceeds from cards sold in colleges going to college JCRs and DUCK. For a full list of the deals, and to reserve a card, check out www.purplepass.co.uk.

He has also been looking for student reps at each Durham college to help sell the cards. There’s commission available on each card sale, so if you’re interested then you can get in touch at purplepass[email protected].