The UCA Epsom alumna, who is anticipating having to bring more team members on board to keep up with demand, tells us how passion and drive, combined with creative flair, has led to her having a successful business and getting to do a job she loves every day.
“I initially sold 50 notebooks to friends, family and people on my course, but after graduating I decided to launch the brand properly and it’s grown from there,” Gabi says. “I’ve always been obsessed with paper and stationery but the basis of the brand started with my love of colour. I love the stories behind why people have favourite colours and dislike others. I wanted to create products that allowed people to express their personality, which is why there are 20 colours to choose from across our many ranges.
“It was important to me that personalisation wasn’t a luxury but something that was more accessible. All the Chroma products can be completely personalised, allowing every one of my customers to create their dream piece of stationery; whether that is adding their favourite quote, their name, a set of initials or a logo.”
Launching the brand with little funding was challenging, particularly as Gabi didn’t feel ready to approach a bank for a loan, so she decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign. While acknowledging that it was incredibly tough in the beginning, her ambition and drive meant that she secured the money she needed to purchase her first 1,000 notebooks and a machine. Now, Gabi has her own office space for the business and has big plans for future products and new team members.
“I think creativity is hugely important for young entrepreneurs,” Gabi adds. “I come from a very creative background. I always wanted to work in the fashion industry and completed an Art Foundation at UCA Farnham before my creative degree. I think the skills I learnt on these has only benefited me when running my own business. I can problem solve well and find solutions which might not be conventional or initially obvious.
“It can be tough at times, but I’d urge other creators to keep going. The final year can feel so challenging. I’m sure it’s the same for all degrees, but the end result is so worth it and your hard work pays off.
“Make connections with people on your course as they could well be your colleagues or great contacts in the future. One of my art-work designers and my photographer are two people I went to UCA with. When setting up a business, my main piece of advice is to go for it. Take baby steps and surround yourself with a brilliant support system who will cheer for you when things go well and be there when things don’t.”