Before coming to Cumbria, Kelly studied at the Cathedral Academy of Performing Arts (CAPA) stage school in Wakefield.
Why University of Cumbria?
When I attended my audition, I was overwhelmed with how welcome they made me feel. Compared to other institutes, it was so warm and friendly.
Why did you choose your course?
It offered many possible career options and the ability to acquire a wide-range of skills. The course allowed room for creative freedom and personal growth. This is one of the reasons my business WishStrings was born.
What is WishStrings?
An online and high street store selling jewellery, vintage delights and WishString wish bracelets. Further information follows.
What was the best thing about university?
The help and support from tutors. Throughout my time here, as I began to grow and learn, they were always on hand to help and guide me in the right direction. The support from the Performing Arts team was overwhelming.
Your favourite university experience?
One of the very many has to be in the second year and the opportunity to work with professional directors and choreographers on fantastic, full-scale shows. I shall never forget it.
Any memorable/funny stories?
Almost too many memories. I made lifelong friends and shared experiences with them that will last a lifetime.
Did university change your life?
Yes, it provided me with a safe environment, in which I grew and developed, as a person and in confidence. Whilst much of my business grew outside university, I did carry many of the skills I’d learnt into my business.
University is the experience you make it. Everyone takes different things away with them. I used my course and the skills it taught me, in a different way to many of my peers. But I don’t regret for a moment not choosing a business course as I believe performing arts offered me the creativity, skills and personality which I wholeheartedly put into
Other than your degree, what else did you get out of it?
A much-valued life experience, amazing friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.
How did your career ambitions change?
When I first started university, I was all set for a career in performing arts, maybe as a teacher. But, as I grew and developed throughout the course and its different modules, the creativity grew, leading me to WishStrings - my business was born.
Would you be where you are today without your degree?
No, most definitely not. My degree, and the experiences it offered, has given me the confidence to be where I am today. Many people don't think my degree has anything to do with my business, but when you look beneath the surface you can see the foundations are made up from all elements of my studies.
For example, window dressing, comes from the techniques learnt in set design and construction. Making cushions and other textile items, developed from skills acquired in costume. Marketing, from experience in promoting university shows and other events. Time management, needed for survival on any degree course. Performing, every day in my shop. I leave all my personal problems at the door and put my customers first, no matter how ill or rubbish I feel.
WishStrings is growing by the day. I have huge ambitions for the future, maybe a chain of stores? A brand stocked by leading retailers? A wholesale company? I feel my opportunities for development are endless and I am extremely excited about what my future holds.
What are you most proud of?
Everything I have achieved coming out of UoC. Owning my own business and property.
How did you stay motivated to study, whilst pursuing your dream - and enjoying university life?
The balance was one huge juggling act. Thankfully, I had an amazing support structure and friends. I had a roller-coaster three years, including my father suffering a life-threatening brain haemorrhage and my great grandfather passing away - all within the same month during my second year.
This time proved extremely difficult, but thanks to the amazing support of tutors and friends I pulled through with no major disruption to studies.
Your advice to freshers and prospective students?
Work hard and enjoy everything UoC has to offer. You never know what may lead to future opportunities. Even the times that feel unnecessary are important, so make every second count, push yourself beyond your limits and reach for your dreams. If I’d followed the flow, I wouldn't be where I am today.
WishStrings .Co is an online and High Street store selling jewellery, gifts, vintage delights and our WishString wish bracelets. WishStrings was originally founded by myself in 2012, as part of a New Year resolution. Since then WishStrings .Co has grown with the loving help of family, friends and of course my loyal fans. It began life as a hobby, attending craft fairs etc and then grew beyond my wildest imagination, expanding into a full online store and high street store (is this in Brampton? And do you want to say anything about turnover, ie what you make in an average month? Realise you might not want to?)
Find WishStrings .Co on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Wishstring