The complete guide to Durham’s best student small businesses

Perfect for that last-minute Christmas present!

In this time of mass online shopping and the pandemic taking its toll, we thought it was high time we spotlight the best of the student-run businesses in the Durham area that you can support.

There are lots of offers and Christmas treats available, so be sure to make the most of them while you can.



Threads of Change

Flo, who runs Threads of Change, sells lovely hand-embroidered clothing with 100% of the profits going to charity – so it’s one of the most ethical and sustainable businesses you can support. Having started the project over the first national lockdown, she has now raised over £1700, with support ever-growing.

You can find Threads of Change on Instagram @threads_of_change, and you can order through their website.



Cydsline sells absolutely beautiful hand-painted, sustainable and responsibly sourced (GOTS organic certified and fairtrade) t-shirts, hoodies and makeup bags. There are over 30 designs to choose from, with the ‘Durham Nostalgia’ design being their bestseller, or you can even customise your own by sending in your ideas.

Special edition makeup bags are available for Christmas, so make sure to order by the 18th December to guarantee delivery before the 25th!

Check out their Instagram @cydsline.


Upcycled by Phoebe

Phoebe’s speciality is upcycled clothing that is both handmade and sustainable, making this another one of Durham’s particularly ethical brands. She can also make custom versions of tops that are available and ones that have already been sold.

Check out Upcycled by Phoebe on Instagram @phoebemakesthings_, or on Depop @phxebevxckery.



Zephyr Jewellery

Zephyr Jewellery was established during the first national lockdown of 2020, and creates utterly stunning and unique pieces of seaglass jewellery, all made sustainably – from recycled silver wire to reusuable packaging. Every piece is made to order, so get in touch if you would like something that is not advertised.

Quoting ‘ZEPHYR’ upon ordering a necklace means you get a free pair of green or gold sea glass hoops as well, so be sure to take advantage of this great offer.

Check out Zephyr Jewellery on Instagram @zephyrjewellery.


Rural Sky Creations

Alice, who runs Rural Sky Creations, creates a mixture of beautiful handmade jewellery and sewn items, with free delivery across the UK.

Rural Sky Creations is on Instagram @ruralskycreations and Etsy @RuralSkyCreations.


Chloe’s Beads

Chloe makes gorgeous handmade jewellery, with cool and rare designs, though custom designs also available. Although currently on a break, she is starting back up again in mid-January. Chloe is also the official jewellery brand for GCCFS 2021 (Grey College Charity Fashion Show), which this year is raising money for Durham and Darlington NHS trust, so expect to see a lot more of her work in the new year.

Check out her instagram page @chloes_beads or on Depop @chlogriggs.


That Funky Feeling

ThatFunkyFeeling is run by Harriet, a third year student at the university, who sells funky yet affordable earrings. TFF was born in April 2020 and has continued to grow ever since.

After the crazy year that was 2020, TFF will be on a short break over the Christmas holidays, so if you want your items before 2021 make sure to get your order in by the 15th December (any orders after will be posted in the New Year).

Her Instagram handle is @thatfunkyfeeling or you can check out her website



Gkmdesignz sells gorgeous upcycled and personalised jewelley, which can even be designed upon request. Postage is free during term-time, and there is even a 20% on first orders for Durham students. With plans to set up a stall in the future, this is definitely a business to keep an eye on.

Check out Gkmdesignz on Instagram @gkmdesignz.


Earrings by El

Earrings by El has a wide array of handmade funky and unique earrings available – and has a fantastic offer of three pairs of any style for £5 on right now so do not miss out.

Earrings by El is on Instagram @earringsby_el.


Maybe Accessories

Maybe Accessories has a wide array of jewellery on offer, from festive necklaces to adorable earrings. Currently there is a £5 offer on all their Christmas earrings so do not miss out!

Maybe Accessories is on Instagram @maybe_accessories_ and Depop @mais18.



Durham Collective

Durham Collective is run by Bobby, a second year History student at St Aidan’s, who specialises in making bespoke reusable facemasks and accessories. The business was started earlier this year, and was inspired by the need for a unique mask that could be worn on a night out or special occasion, leading Bobby to design her own. However, she also loves taking custom orders, and the work of a Durham artist is expected to be featured on designs soon. Bobby is also currently supporting the body positive and feminist book group run by Durham grad Katie Budenberg (@make_love_not_diets on Instagram). With Christmas and clubs (hopefully) reopening around the corner, there has never been a better time to support Durham Collective.

There is currently a great offer of 20% off when you buy two or more masks, with free postage included.

You can find Durham Collective on Instagram @durham.collective, on Depop @bobb999 or in Discovering Durham in Durham city centre.


Nailed It by Emily

Emily makes amazing custom press-on nails. She also offers a fixed deal of two sets of nails for £20, which are normally priced at £13 each!

Check her out on Instagram @nailed_it_byemily.


Mic’s Kicks

Mic’s Kicks is run by Micaela, who makes custom shoes from high-quality Angelus paints, which makes them scrape and scratch protected. You can message her directly to discuss designs and prices meaning the products you receive will be truly unique.

Find Mic’s Kicks on Instagram @kicks_by_mic.



SiobhanPrints makes absolutely lovely original prints, keychains and stickers, with designs from everything from Hamilton to a song of your choice! The perfect addition to the collage on your wall at uni.

You can find Siobhan on Instagram @siobhanprintsetsy or on Etsy.


Did we miss anyone? Have a shop you bought an amazing item from? Leave us a comment and we may do a part two!