Ones to Watch | Zen Beach & Vintage Religion founder Benjamin Penrose
20 October 2023
Business & Entrepreneurship BSc(Hons) graduate Benjamin Penrose is the owner of clothing businesses Zen Beach and Vintage Religion. We spoke to him about his startup story, what's next and his advice for budding entrepreneurs.
In this interview, Business & Entrepreneurship BSc(Hons) graduate Benjamin Penrose talks about his life as a thriving business owner.
"I studied Business & Entrepreneurship at Falmouth University and I graduated in 2022. I started my business at the start of lockdown. I had been travelling for two weeks, it was supposed to be two months, when I decided to start my business full time. That's when it really turned from a hobby to a business. I always want to be working for myself - that's a huge motivation. I never want to be in a nine-to-five.
"My proudest project it would probably be Zen Beach. I came together with my friends, we all chipped in and ended up designing the robes and the business is thriving today because of them.
"The best thing about studying Business & Entrepreneurship at Falmouth is you've got so many creative people in the same place. I think it's really one of the unsung benefits of the University, and I soon realised it was the perfect place for me to start my business.
"So a typical working day is I get up at 7am and I typically try to spend three quarters of the day on Vintage Religion and a quarter of the day on Zen Beach. I'm in constant contact with my suppliers, always on the lookout for new clothes. There can be these golden days where there's so much good stock you've got to be on top of that and ready to buy it before someone else does. It's a constant competition.
The best thing about studying entrepreneurship at Falmouth is you've got so many creative people in the same place - I think it's really one of the unsung benefits of the University.
"Over the years, I've built a wide network of suppliers from Italy, France, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia, sometimes the US, Pakistan - it's truly International.
A big part of the business is doing in-person selling events. You can actually see people enjoying the clothes and that's really what makes the business tick for me - seeing people enjoy a product I've created, a product I've chosen, and seeing them getting good use out of it as well. It really makes the business worth doing!
"I've recently been contacted by a video selling app called Rated, which is almost like eBay meets Instagram. You post a video of you holding up the clothes, people can bid, people can auction on it, they buy the clothes there and then. I can develop quite a cool personal brand with my followers so it's a really cool opportunity and I'm really looking forward to developing it.
"The advice I'd give to a budding entrepreneur is don't give up - back yourself! A lot of people are going to say things about the business, things about your product, but just back yourself.
"As the businesses have grown, I've become more passionate about the business side. I'm very open to starting other businesses and I'm looking forward to see what projects I come up with in the future."