Old Waconians: Our Ones To Watch

In the latest edition of The Old Waconian magazine, Alumni Relations Manager, Charlotte Aspin, caught up with three up and coming Old Waconians that we think are “ones to watch”. Read on to learn about their different career paths since leaving school, their top tips for budding entrepreneurs, and how their time at CHS set them on the right track. For more alumni stories explore The Old Waconian online.

Manav Thapar

Manav Thapar, Class of 2001 | Co-founder of LoveRaw

From Cheadle to Chocolate. Where did life take you after school?

After studying Economics at Birmingham, I was keen to have a change of scenery. A friend in Spain invited me to come and work there so I packed my bags, and got a job selling off-plan properties to international clients in the Middle East and Asia. I then started my own distribution business supplying home textiles for the apartments and hotels being built there.

You’re a co-founder of the plant-based chocolate brand LoveRaw. What’s the story of how LoveRaw came about?

The inspiration for the brand came from the challenges that my wife and I encountered when we were living a plant based lifestyle. We did not want to compromise on the chocolate we ate and as there were no alternatives we had to create our own! LoveRaw is about making great tasting plant based versions of the nation’s favourite chocolates.

Veganism is very vogue. Why are you so passionate about encouraging people to go plant-based?

We want to provide products that are so delicious that they can be enjoyed by everyone, removing the stigma and proving that vegan food can taste even better than its traditional counterparts. We do not preach to be a certain way as everyone’s reason for going more plant based is personal to them.

You’re a business owner and a parent. How do you balance work and life?

It’s impossible. One thing that has made things better is that I plan my week’s schedule to include family time and I try to take 2 Sundays off a month too. Kids just want your time and attention so even though my time is limited I try to be present with them.

LoveRaw is a certified B Corp. What does this mean and why is it important?

We are proud to be a certified B Corp. The B Corp community represents global businesses across a broad cross section of industries and sizes that are responsible for balancing purpose and profit. We are committed to social and environmental practices as part of our mission to create the best-tasting plant-based choc.

Find out more at eatloveraw.com

Follow @loveraw on Instagram

Copy of Eleanor Herbert

Eleanor Herbert, Class of 2017 | Co-founder of RAMP

What’s your career path been since leaving CHS?

I went to Bristol University to study Theatre and German, spending a year living in Germany. I assisted Robert Wilson, a renowned international theatre director, at the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, then moved to Cologne, to work as a production assistant on TV shows for some of Germany’s top channels. After university, I moved to London to work in Celebrity Acquisition at the UK’s largest celebrity engagement tech platform Thrillz, building a roster of over 1000 celebrities and creators, and negotiating influencer partnerships. We launched RAMP in 2022 and have already worked with some amazing brands.

How did you come about co-founding a company, and what services do you provide?

At Thrillz I saw early on the rise of the ‘everyday influencer’ and recognised the value that TikTok creators were bringing to brands through authentic partnerships. My RAMP co-founder Anjan, whose background is in Private Equity, and I noticed that businesses were slow to grasp the full potential of this rapidly growing platform, which created a significant demand for our services. Now we support clients with: TikTok account management, TikTok influencer and gifting campaigns, and production of user-generated content ads for social media.

Impressions. Likes. Comments. Shares. How is TikTok changing the world of marketing?

With more than 40% of young people now favouring TikTok over Google as their primary search engine, brands are being forced to reassess their traditional marketing strategies. TikTok can be thought of as a modern-day billboard, offering brands increased chances of virality, reaching millions of users organically. It allows direct engagement with their target consumers in a way that other social media channels can’t. Brands no longer need to rely as heavily on glossy editorial shoots, and instead generate the same level of authenticity and creativity that resonates with TikTok users to capture consumers’ attention across the board.

How did CHS set you up for success in the world of work?

I give education seminars to private equity firms. It can be daunting being the youngest in a room of CMOs and business owners so the confidence and public speaking abilities developed through CHS productions has undoubtedly played a role. You also don’t get anywhere without getting out of your comfort zone. CHS really pushed you to work hard, enjoy learning and try new things. 

Find out more at rampcollective.com

Follow rampcollective on LinkedIn

Oli Paterson, Class of 2015 | Food content creator

You studied Maths at the University of Bath. How did you find the course and university life?

At school, I loved maths and I had great teachers (like Mr Brackenbury!) so it seemed the logical choice. However a Maths degree wasn’t for me and I’d encourage students to research what they’ll be learning before choosing a course. At school I preferred mechanics so I’d have been better suited to Engineering, or Computer Science. University life was great though; I made amazing friends and it gave me a better perspective on the world.

You now go by “ElBurrito Monster”. What triggered the move to full-time content creation?

I came out of uni not knowing what I wanted to do. Having a hyperactive brain, none of the conventional jobs were for me, and my current career didn’t exist! I worked an office job and applied to jobs in different sectors to see if anything stuck. Lockdown hit and I was working from home. I used to finish a day’s work in 2 hours so I downloaded the new app (TikTok) and made fun cooking tutorials to send to friends. They started to get traction so I started posting as much as I could. A year and a half, and a million views later, I was able to monetise it sufficiently to make a living. I handed my notice in and took the plunge! It was the best decision I ever made.

Over a million followers across all social platforms! What’s the key to your success?

A combination of having a creative brain, a lot of hard work, and an openness to learn! Making engaging videos is no random process, and getting consistent views is down to the pacing, shareability, and quality of the content. Now, I have a network of people doing the same job as me and we talk about content strategy which is mutually beneficial for our success. For newbies, speak to people already achieving success and ask for tips in that field.

How can OWs turn their passion into a career?

It’s important for anyone who’s got a bit of spare time on their hands to dedicate some to a side hobby that involves creating something new. Avoid the trap of getting home from work, switching your brain off and staring at a screen for the evening, and commit time to a little passion project on the side. 

Follow @elburritomonster on Instagram