December 2, 2016, by Liz Cass
Say cheese… students find novel way to fund their studies
An enterprising pair of students have come up with a novel way to fund their education – selling cheese.
University of Nottingham student Hannah Kinston, who is studying Veterinary Medicine, and her boyfriend John Davies, both 19, hit on the idea after running a stall as part of a farm open day.
The pair, who both come from farming backgrounds, found the stall so successful that they started targeting agricultural shows around the region before realising there was a gap in the market.
Hannah said: “We held an open day on our farm, which sees members of the public get the chance to come and see what a working farm is like. We plan lots of activities but the people running the cheese stall had to cancel at the last minute. John and I did it and we found we had sold out within about four hours.
“We then started selling at stalls all around the Peak district and local area and thought we could make a business out of it.”
Milk produced from cows on Hannah’s family farm in Burton-on-Trent is sent to Cheshire where the hand-made cheese is produced. The pair then buy it back and act as retailers.
“We’re targeting the Christmas market next with some personalised hampers for public and businesses”, said Hannah.
“I think people like the personal touch and the fact we can tell them about where the cheese comes from, about the processes involved in making it, and show them pictures of our cows.”
The pair said their backgrounds, with Hannah’s family running a dairy farm and John’s running a beef farm near Ashby-de-la-Zouch, and choices of degree subject (John is studying Agriculture and Business) provide a good mix for the business but they are looking to expand in the New Year.
Hannah said: “We have lots of plans for things we want to do next year, in between our studies. We want to sell more products and also come up with some novel ways of selling them. We’ve just bought a shipping container to transport the cheese around and we’re going to paint it in a cow print so that should help draw attention.”
The pair named the business John and Hannah Ltd and they sell a range of cheese from mature cheddar to a Christmas special smoked red Leicester.
John said: “We don’t want to be like normal 19-year-olds and let our student loans cover university. We want to support ourselves but also deeply support our passion for British farming and the produce our small island can produce.”
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