Two minutes with 21 year-old entrepreneur Makaela Richardson

We caught up with Free The Fresher's 21 year-old founder to find out how she started.

 
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Q - Tell us about yourself - age, background, where you live.

I’m 21, I was born and raised in Bermuda and then moved to England at the age of 14. I went to boarding school at Millfield, in Somerset and have been in England ever since. I live in London. 

Q - How and when did ‘Free the Fresher’ come about?

I was studying a law degree at Reading University but decided I wanted to switch to a business course instead. I dropped out of law school, against my parents’ wishes, and moved to London. It was at this point that I was pretty hard-up for money and, while researching into how to get all of my uni day-to-day items as cheaply as possible, I was finding it incredibly hard and time consuming - this lead to the idea of a service that provides you with all the things you need in one go - saving money and effort. ‘Free The Fresher’ was born.

Q - What was the most difficult hurdle to overcome? How did you do it?

Probably getting my initial members to sign-up to the service. In order to break-even I needed 2000 members and at the beginning it was a struggle - I had no idea how to go about this. I worked really hard over the summer, with two jobs, saved what I earned and then put it all into Free The Fresher. I took the risk and luckily it paid off! 

Q - Why should students sign-up?

Quite simply because ‘Free The Fresher’ offers the best quality products at the most affordable price of £50. We’ve saved thousands of students lots of money, not to mention the stress we take away from students and their parents! We also offer exclusive discounts for our members to take advantage of with various brands

Q - What are your hopes for the future?

To grow Free The Fresher, turning it into a nationwide service used by students from every university. I’d also love to take it outside of England, around the UK as a whole and then even internationally!

Q - What piece of advice would you give your 16 year-old self?

I would tell myself to relax! When I was sixteen, I was so worried about exams, what grades I was going to achieve, which universities I would qualify for and then go on to attend - my entire future basically. Looking back I wish I had enjoyed myself more and not worried so much - everything has a habit of working out in the end and especially when you’re sixteen you shouldn’t take life so seriously!