Sam Cox, alumnus, PgDip ArchitectureSam discusses his business "Rootlabs", his latest creative idea "Farmbus" in a community food market, and how LSBU has supported him and his business throughout
I had been interested in the relationship between natural ecological systems and architecture for quite some time, and LSBU had a fantastic diploma course where I could continue both of these explorations.
While studying, I balanced a demanding academic course with work commitments, which wasn’t always easy.
My advice to current LSBU students is to be organised, believe in yourself and keep going. For me, it was really important to manage my time and plan ahead. I completed a professional placement between my BA and my diploma, where I worked as an architectural assistant in Delhi, India. It was an experience I certainly won’t forget, and it definitely shaped a lot of my cultural thinking.
The whole LSBU community has been a great support in my career so far. I’m still in close touch with The Student Enterprise team, a team who provide support to students and recent graduates who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs, who have provided invaluable business advice and mentor-ship during and beyond my studies. I shared a number of late nights working with great friends before deadlines that I look back on fondly to this day. I have to say your peers are often the best support when the pressure is on!
My current company, Rootlabs, is made up of a team of designers and plant scientists to create sustainable growing systems that transform spaces into socially productive places by using them to grow plants. My team has always been interested in how food and plants can be used to address today’s global environmental challenges, and we created the Farmbus to showcase this. We’ve partnered with Mercato Metropolitano, a community food market just opposite LSBU, to deliver a programme of educational workshops throughout the summer. The vendors in the market also take advantage of our presence, and they end up with a lot of delicious produce from us.
Starting your own business is an exciting journey. Within a small team, no two days are the same and I’m lucky to work with a number of fantastic people. We all push each other forward, and are working towards taking our installations to parts of the world where resources are scarce and we can have an even bigger impact. This means I can spend my time doing what I care about and enjoy most.
A remedy for the stress
In the past, stress is something I’ve had to deal with. When you’re doing a lot it can be all too easy to burn out, which makes me become completely counterproductive. Taking time off isn’t always easy, but it’s important to make time for the things you enjoy and do lots of regular exercise! Running was often my silver bullet.
Time is important
I’m sure we can all find instances in our lives when we’ve doubted ourselves, and it’s often experience that helps to conquer any insecurities. I’ve found that taking time to recognise your achievements is equally as important as learning from your failures.
Contribution to society
I really enjoyed showing a group of LSBU enterprise students around what we do in Farmbus. Those students are starting a lot of great businesses!
Making a positive contribution to society is really important to us at Farmbus, and we regularly provide educational sessions and training to school groups and students.
Being an LSBU alumnus means I have the support of the university no matter what I apply myself to beyond its walls.