Russian International Hallam University Graduate Launches Unique Ethnic Greeting Card Range

20th November 2015

Elena Kostyukhina (25) a Sheffield Hallam animation and special effects graduate has just launched her exciting range of ethnically diverse greetings cards with the help of the Hallam Enterprise Team.

-I graduated last November and ever since have been working hard on creating the range, choosing top quality paper, designing all the images, greetings and printing up the first card samples myself, explained Elena of Norfolk Park. -After extensive market research among international students and friends, my range has just launched on the online handmade product website, Etsy. I will be selling the cards at the Hallam Christmas market on 2 & 3 December and am currently looking for retail outlets for the cards, phone cases and cotton shoppers, all of which celebrate ethnic diversity". Elena grew up in Kazan, Russia between Moscow and the Ural mountains. Her father is Russian Christian and her mother a Tartar Moslem. Those faiths have lived peacefully together since 1500, so Elena grew up with tolerance and churches and mosques side by side on her town's main street. -I didn't want to choose between my parents' faiths, so I say I believe in God, respecting everyone who wants to live peacefully together, and loving and helping everyone smiles Elena. It was when she and her friend were looking for a card which they could identify with which celebrated Tartar culture, that they realized there was a business opportunity as there was nothing currently on the market to celebrate everyone's different lifestyles and ethnicity. But then her friend's sister was diagnosed with terminal cancer and a degree in animation and special effects brought Elena to Sheffield, where she now has a one year Tier 1 Visa to give her time to start her business successfully. -I have 15 designs so far and as well as Etsy, I have set up my own Facebook page called Safaidcards, I am selling them on a Russian social network called VK too. I am hopeful the Christmas range will also go well at the forthcoming Hallam Christmas fair which is in the atrium of the main Owen building free entry to the general public, and am currently approaching independent retailers with my lines. -We are delighted to be supporting Elena in her business endeavors. She was successful in being awarded a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa which allows our international students to stay in the Uk for 1-2 years in order to develop their business ideas, added Enterprise team spokesperson Andrew Finney. When Elena returns to Russia in the Summer, she will be continuing to spread her values of tolerance and understanding by using her skills gained here in Sheffield to create educational short animations, promoting minority cultures within Russia. Meantime, Elena is looking for couples of different ethnicities to model for her next range of Colourblind Love cards! Safaid cards is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Etsy. Elena can be reached on 07490 421 421 Elena received help from Sheffield Hallam University's Enterprise Team to set up her business. The Enterprise Team support any student or graduate of up to five years with advice from experts, office space, workshops and funding. She is currently in The Hatchery, the University's free office space for students and graduates based in The Workstation. The Enterprise Team provide business advice and Elena has benefited from workshops in general business, marketing, finance, legal, intellectual property areas.

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