Meet the Soton student who has set up a diverse greetings card business

‘It’s alienating growing up in a world that doesn’t see a point in catering to you’

How many times do you see a greeting card that hasn’t been based on white culture? Do you always manage to get a card that truly reflects the person you’re giving it to?

Back in September 2018, Avila Chidume set up a business, Avila.Diana, alongside studying for her Law degree at Southampton University. Avila made it her mission to have a shop which sells products to reflect a wide range of cultures so everyone can have a personal touch to their gift.

Now, she is in the final year of her degree and hasn’t looked back since. The Soton Tab spoke to Avila to hear her story and how she managed a business alongside her studies:

We need more inclusivity

Avila set up her business after she was “tired of waiting” for relatable gift products for BAME and LGBT people. She told The Soton Tab: “It’s alienating growing up in a world that doesn’t see a point in catering to you.”

Avila.Diana sells diverse greetings cards and gifts which depict marginalised groups, designed by Avila.

It is clear the business has touched so many people. Avila told The Soton Tab: “The response has been fantastic, people are so happy to finally be able to find gifts and cards for their loved ones.”

Many people message her to say thank you, and others have expressed how they never thought about this being an issue but now Avila has shone a light on the situation, they can see it.

One customer told us they feel “it is important to include inclusivity in our society and support a black owned business”.

Avila is really happy to see so much positivity towards her business and said: “The message and mission is being reached from people in the UK and across the world too”, as they have shipped orders internationally.

Most students struggle with 9ams, not to mention running a whole business

Avila made it clear it’s not been a smooth ride to get to where she is today, saying: “It’s been difficult at times, especially when deadlines are happening around orders and marketing”.

In spite of this, Avila told us she is glad she set up the business whilst studying since it forced her to manage her time a lot better and it also opened her up to opportunities she otherwise wouldn’t have received had she not been a student.

“I would spend breaks during lectures promoting my business or responding to emails”, Avila said.

If you are thinking of setting up a business whilst at University, Avila said: “The best advice I can give is make sure you’re really passionate about it.

“There will be times when nothing is going right and you may want to give up. So you will need that passion to keep driving you.”

Avila’s Instagram page can be found here and you can shop her products here.

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