Carli McNaught or the Teessider is a local life, travel and food blogger and Head of Creative Media at Visualsoft, an award-winning eCommerce company.

Carli is in love with her town of Middlesbrough and what it has to offer. Here she shares her experience as a Teesside University BA (Hons) Fashion Enterprise graduate.

My University experience

I was lucky enough to study a fashion enterprise degree at Teesside Uni – a fashion-business type course if you will. I was able to learn business skills, grow my confidence, implement strategies, and develop a product to market.

I got many kicks from working on live briefs alongside industry experts where I was able to gain real-life experience and meet people that are still friends now.

The inspiration that I got from working on a live project was right up my street – being a nosy parker, I wanted to know people’s backgrounds and how they came to be in the design industry. I was able to intern with Ingrid Wagner, a textile company, and knit with the biggest knitting needles in the world. I travelled the country and learned how to put my business skills into practice.

Everyone at Teesside Uni was so approachable and willing to offer help. I never felt alone. It goes without saying Teesside is just the best place on earth.

Teesside University International Business School 

The Business School has partnerships across the globe and graduates from over 100 countries. And is known as a renowned place of study in the North East. How lucky are we to have this on our doorstep?!

Being a Teesside Uni student gave me so many opportunities. It allowed me to make some great friends from Norway and Italy. It helped us develop and become the leaders of tomorrow (or actually today!). Teesside Uni is so practical, safe, creative and somewhere that I’m super proud of. And it’s mine!

Life after uni 

The Teessider, Cake Girl, Tea Girl, Empire Girl…I’ve had a fair few nicknames in the past. It’s all part of who I am, I guess. All the chapters of my life. I was a full-time business owner and part-time
imposter syndrome sufferer. I opened my Little Tea House in 2010, expanded in 2019 and sold it in the same year. In-between all of this I was lucky enough to appear on Sunday Brunch and feature in Good Food Magazine.

Within the Business School, I spent some of the time developing a business plan to implement after I left. My creative business was a hub to house other graduates’ work and showcase what was created in final shows and exhibitions. The opportunity to be able to set up my own business straight from uni made me feel less pressured. The support at Teesside Uni is second to none – you get support to set up your own business through LaunchPad which includes mentoring and a funding platform.

If I hadn’t studied fashion enterprise at Teesside Uni, I couldn’t have opened my little shop and progressed to where I am now. I went from a graduate to a tailor on Saville Row within two months of leaving uni.

Ten months later I was back home opening up the Little Tea House and the rest is history. Teesside just couldn’t keep me away. I am now Head of Creative Media at Visualsoft. You may think it’s a million miles away from that fashion enterprise student in 2009 but that was only the beginning. I now can have it all. A job which I absolutely love and the joy of a shop I built up and passed on. I can still go and eat cake and look back on how far I have come.