Graduate success story

Linzi Mistry, BA (Hons) Photography, Graduated 2001

Linzi Mistry has been able to transform an interest in conservation into a successful and innovative business selling recycled paper. Inspired by her passion for the environment, the creative 29-year-old launched Pachamama Paper which sells paper made using anything from bananas to confetti and even elephant droppings.

Linzi graduated from the School of Art & Design in 2001 with a BA (Hons) in Photography. She developed an interest in the subject while studying an open Art & Design course at college and after gaining some valuable work experience shadowing a photographer. After graduating, Linzi secured her first job as a Photographic Assistant and climbed her way to Photographic Manager in a West Midlands firm by 2006. Unfortunately, the industry as a whole suffered as a result of the growing digital market and Linzi took redundancy.

But the budding business woman was optimistic about the future, and put the skills and knowledge gained at University and at work to good use.

“The skills learnt on the job in my management role gave me the tools to be able to run my own business.

“My second passion or interest after photography is the environment and conservation and all things ‘green’ and eco. I was able to start my ethical business supplying recycled paper and stationery to businesses and the general public.”

Linzi created a business plan for a photographic business on paper made from recycled elephant droppings. But when she began to talk to people about her business idea, she found that many people were often more interested in the paper it was printed on. She quickly realised there was obviously a market for this sort of business, and gained a bursary to launch Pachamama Paper. The company now sells ‘unique’ paper, boards and envelopes made from things like glitter, grass and old bank notes, as well as office paper, desk stationery and printed stationery such as business cards.

Linzi decided on the imaginative name for her business as it is the Inca term for ‘Mother Earth’, and symbolises her desire to protect the earth’s resources by operating in an environmentally friendly way. Linzi now plans to expand her product range, make more of her own recycled paper and continue to raise awareness of the need to preserve the planet for future generations.

Although her career has taken her in a different direction than she originally planned, Linzi believes that her degree set her on the road to success, and she is still able to draw on what she learnt today.

“My photo skills allow me to be able to do my own marketing shots, website shots and anything that communicates ideas and information visually.

“Since University, one thing has led to another, but without the initial foundation from the course I wouldn’t have reached the level I am at now.”

Find out more about Pachamama Paper

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