What is the connection between flowers, Edinburgh University, bees and an old Citroen van?
The Botanical Bus is the brainchild of a group of recent graduates (and one current student) who are easing themselves into post-university life with a crowdfunded initiative that will test their business acumen whilst raising money for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.
The team consists of Meg Doherty, Jenny Rush-Cooper, Theo Cadbury, Jack Gillespie, Theo Shields, Dan Kraemer and Tom Paskin. Having mostly met in the very first days of Freshers’ Week the project has Edinburgh University foundations and includes representatives from a range of degrees including literature, business, art, politics and geography.
The skills of the business graduates has provided a useful platform for the enterprise, but Meg Doherty is also keen to stress the importance of the Edinburgh environment.
I think more than anything it was the culture at the University which inspired us to try out this project - having run successful ventures within Edinburgh before and within the supportive network of the university and city.
The team plan to convert an old Citroen HY van into a floral festival haven, complete with a deckchair and greenhouse area. The idea is to rock up to a series of British festivals and sell floral inspired teas and a selection of flower based cakes. Alongside the more conventional refreshments, the van will also be selling floral headbands created from seasonal, locally sourced, flowers. A unique concept that Meg is confident will make the venture a success.
More and more, fancy dress (and especially floral headgear) has become very popular at festivals, and yet nobody is using real flowers.
The team have already booked a slot at WOMAD in July and are currently in the process of applying for more festivals whilst fundraising for the project via the Crowdfunder website.
Crowdfunding has grown in popularity over the last 5 years and represents a cost effective way for recent graduates to test ideas and gain valuable real-world experience before entering the job market. Meg admits that the idea came about during final year conversations as
a way to avoid the real world of post-university life, but as the project has taken shape, the Botanical Bus has become the real world – complete with challenges, opportunities and the promise of adventure.
The crowdfunding campaign runs until the 20 May 2015 and the Botanical Bus will also be raising money for the Bee Conservation Trust.