These are the best Brighton student startups born out of lockdown

Think Dragon’s Den, but without the dragons and a whole load of seagulls and crafty students

To look for a silver lining (which is hard) amongst all the madness of a global pandemic, we have spoken to a hand full of creative students, who whilst being in lockdown, have been hard at work starting up their very own businesses.

From confectionery and craft, to jewellery and fitness, we chatted to the ambitious students of Brighton and Sussex, who are sure to make you envious of their entrepreneurial success!


Grab a napkin and try not to drool as you read about this lil start-up.  Tom, 22, graduated this September from Sussex University as a Psychology student. Tom, or ‘Payno,’ as he was known about campus, and his sister Vikki were inspired by family tradition. Every Christmas, their mother would use her secret fudge recipe to craft packages of this delicious stuff for friends and family.

The Fudge recipe was then brought out over lockdown when Vikki lost her job due to COVID. She turned to the kitchen in an effort to cheer up friends and family with an age-old family secret recipe. Payno joined in, creating an Instagram under the new business handle ‘Pudge’, using the recipe to recreate these little cubes of heaven from his student house.

Pudge has not stopped blossoming since, now making a range of flavours, from Biscoff to Dark chocolate and Chill. They also ship internationally for those overseas students that fear they might miss out on a packet of pudge!

We asked the duo what they hope for the future of Pudge, to which they replied, “we hope to change the Oxford dictionary spelling of fudge, to pudge, then we’ll be able to rest.”

‘Benjamin James: fitness, health and well-being’

Brighton’s very own Leonardo DiCaprio, I present to you Benjamin, 23; a recent song-writing graduate from BIMM. Benjamin, like many others during lockdown turned to health and fitness to overcome the damaging physical and mental effects symptomatic of the lockdown period.

Benjamin’s journey began when he lost his job at the start of lockdown; his fitness career was incited by a desire to learn more about nutrition and fitness, so he enrolled on a personal training course. Having suffered personally with his mental health, he wanted to use his past experience to help others.

What’s great about his business is the well-being aspect, as he emphasises his service isn’t there simply for physical improvement, but “a good old talk,” and raising awareness of the stigmas around toxic masculinity and people, men- in particular, bottling their emotions.

Benjamin currently works at Portside personal training but offers a bespoke service outside this facility for anyone that needs guidance or help with workouts, nutrition and general well-being.

You’re in luck as this business man is currently offering a student deal of £15 ph, with cheaper offers if you sign up to his 4 week program!

‘Brighton Sunset’

We all became a teeny bit obsessed with TikTok over the lockdown period, and for many this manifested in baking banana bread, endless hours of  the WAP, or Tye-dying any old clothing we could get our hands on! Instead, Sussex English student Ellie, 21, was inspired to start her own small business.

Ellie began making her own earrings in the hope that some friends would want to buy them. She never envisaged reaching 2,000 followers, or making hundreds of sales in the space of a few months…

These bits of jewellery are beautiful, and many of her pieces are inspired by Brighton Rock, Ellie enthuses, “I love making the jewellery relevant to Brighton as that’s where i’m based and it has so many amazing colours and designs to offer.”

You can get your hands on her gorgeous products via Instagram or Etsy. We personally have our eyes on her ‘Moon&Stars’ earrings! Go and have a gander before we clear her out!

‘Brighton Box’

Who knew a cardboard box could be so exciting?

Sussex Art History students: Hamish, 21, Jack, 21 and (second) Jack, 21, were pushed to ‘think outside of the box,’ (ha- mind the pun) when they had trouble seeking employment during lockdown, following their graduation.

These three chappies honed in on their mutual love for food and drink, and decided to set up a deli-box delivery service. Jack describes what is most important to them is, “sourcing all produce locally from within Sussex and ensuring the highest quality whilst also trying to keep prices as low as possible.”

‘Brighton Box,’ have both an Instagram and website that you can use to get your hands on some of their delectable boxes!  They are also currently selling their products out of the old telephone boxes on New Road on Saturdays, and carry out deliveries during the week.

The boys are ensuring both sides of their business continue thriving so that deliveries are quick and efficient if we are to enter another torturous lockdown. Why not impress a friend or family member with one of their bespoke, local, and affordable boxes of goodies this Christmas?

‘Meg’s Earrings’

If you haven’t already frittered your way through that student loan, this collection of earrings is another very worthwhile investment.

Psychology & Neuroscience student Megan, 21, began her business venture as she had more spare time during lockdown with reduced days on her NHS placement.  Bored and desperate for a project, Megan decided she was going to learn to design, make and sell earrings- and oh wow did she succeed.

Whats more, this ambitious student decided in the early stages of learning and crafting, she would donate 100% of the profits to local domestic abuse charities, which include ‘RISE,’ and ‘Wycombe’s Women’s aid,’ whose services were in need more than ever during lockdown.  After raising £1,000, and having been working essentially a full-time job within it, Meg’s earrings was transformed into a small business.

Meg had to reduce her donations to charity, which now sit at 10%, in order to grow the business and ensure its viability,  but she still ensures this percentage of proceeds goes towards very worthwhile causes.

When we asked Meg what she hopes for the future of her business, she said, “I’d LOVE to hit the £2,000 mark in charity donations, that’d be such a milestone. But, for now, If I’m even able to balance it all with such an intense final year, that’ll be success enough for me!”

Go show this philanthropic business woman some lurrrve.

‘Crafted by KJ’

We all love a house plant (if you don’t you’re living in the wrong city). However, buying the aesthetic plant pots that come with them to make your shelves insta worthy, can be rather spenny.

Enter: Media & Communications student Kirsty, 23. During lockdown, this crafty queen decided to make use of her reams of printing from old notes she had stockpiled for her dissertation. Instead of throwing it away (or burning it in rejoice) Kirsty wanted to recycle it, and after thinking how to do so, she decided to start making papier-mâché plant pots!

She explained that the process begins with making a paper pulp, which is then moulded, dried and hand-painted with a variety of different designs, and finally finished off with a waterproof varnish.

At the moment, Kirsty is working on custom orders as she’s been inundated with messages regarding her cool and quirky creations! She’s currently operating via Instagram, but hopes to set up an Etsy shop in the future, and perhaps sell her products in the local cafés of Brighton!

Aesthetic and good for the planet?? What more could you wish for your new little house plants’ pot!

So, there we have it, a collection of ingenious business ideas we wish we had thought of! Next time you’re in a spending kinda mood, close that Topshop tab and think about supporting one of your fellow students, we definitely will be!