Following our #CRLCreator with Yaagni Patel of Y-Heels back in October, we’re pleased to talk to another dynamic entrepreneur from the cohort of our current Accelerator programme. Lauren Bell developed her product Cosi – a children’s toy that eases irritation of eczema – whilst at Brunel University, but the idea had been planted much earlier, given she’d grown up with a family member who suffered from the condition and witnessed firsthand how cold and clinical current treatments can be.
Lauren is an entrepreneur to watch: last year she won a New Designers Award, she’s also won a Tony Anson Fund Award, a Trend Bible Award and most recently prize money at Santander’s Entrepreneur Competition held at CRL and has been shortlisted for the SBID Designed for Business Awards 2018 (an impressive portfolio!). We’re incredibly pleased that Lauren chose to develop her product at CRL. We look forward to continuing to update our community on her successes.
Can you tell us about you entrepreneurial journey so far?
I graduated from Brunel University this year with the hope of starting my own business. I have always loved the idea of designing a product and creating a successful business around it. My final year major project was focused on creating tools and toys for children suffering with Eczema, and it got a great response! My younger brother, Rhys, has suffered with Eczema since the age of 3 and his struggles inspired me to create a product based solution that would help his everyday life. It’s been such an exciting journey with this project so far, and I’ve really loved learning more about the business side of design at the CRL. I can really start to envision my product as a business now and my confidence since university has grown. I’ve won a number of competitions with Cosi, and recently been announced as a finalist for the SBID Designed for Business competition. So it’s going well! I’m excited to see where my business will be at the end of this Accelerator programme.
“It’s been such an exciting journey with this project so far, and I’ve really loved learning more about the business side of design at the CRL”
What products/ project are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on a product that will provide safe scratching to people in pain. Cosi Care is a business that is dedicated to Eczema symptom management. The main frustrating symptom of Eczema is itching, and when you scratch you make it worse. Refraining from scratching is easier said than done, especially if you’re a young child. My main focus for the next 6 months is to refine my product and build a strong brand around it. It’s a brand new approach to Eczema symptom management, and I feel there’s an abundance of product based help for people suffering with skin conditions. I’m excited to change this!
“If you have a product or an idea that you’re passionate about and love working on I think regardless of any apprehensions you should give it a shot”.
What’s your advise to prospective entrepreneurs considering launching a business/ product?
GO FOR IT! If you have a product or an idea that you’re passionate about and love working on I think regardless of any apprehensions you should give it a shot. You have a lifetime after university to work for a design consultancy or company, so for me, I just thought it was the best time to give it a go. People will always tell you it’s a hard road or give their opinion, but everyone’s journey and experience is different. I had a product that got great feedback and attention after university, and I felt it would be a shame to let it go after a year of hard work. I had a design degree and little experience with the business side of product development, but I have learnt so much already from being at the CRL. Joining the Accelerator has offered an amazing network of people with a range of different skill sets that I aim to learn a lot from.
What do you value most about the CRL community?
It’s great to be surrounded by people who are on the same journey as you or that have already been through it. Meeting people that have great contacts and being able to network with others is great for a new business.
Describe CRL in 3 words?
Ideas meet reality!