A JEWELLERY retail entrepreneur has teamed up with Newcastle College on a project which is paying dividends for both parties.
Carlie Whitaker started party-plan business Silver Republic to bring in some extra income and now has a network of around 70 agents around the country.
“Silver Republic was started as a result of me being on maternity leave and wanting to earn some extra pennies,” said Stanley-based Whitaker, who has worked in sales for BT for 14 years.
“I ordered some jewellery for myself, I loved it and my family loved it, and I thought ‘I could sell this’. It all stemmed from there.”
She has now collaborated with students from the college to produce a Silver Republic catalogue, which is just about to be printed.
“I needed a glossy, professional catalogue and was horrified at the prices. Because we’re a new start businesses, I couldn’t afford it,” said Ms Whitaker. “I decided to ring Newcastle College on the off-chance.” She was put in touch with the C3D team of students, which includes everyone from graphic design to photography students, headed by Simon Lee. The college initiative aims to provide students with real, hands-on work experience while still in the learning environment.
Whitaker said: “We have worked extremely well together. We wouldn’t have been able to do the catalogue if it wasn’t for them.
“They’ve done everything from arranging the photographs to the models, who are students, the make-up artist was a student who used to go to the college and it means they are building their portfolio.”
Graphic design student Andrew Heads put together the graphics for the catalogue, as well as a new Silver Republic logo, and photography students Weisia Bojko and Michael Walker took the images of model students Louise Herron, Perchwane Irakoze, Francesca Metcalf and Sophie Nattress.