Flynne Tytherleigh, who studies law at Monash University, has always made dresses for friends and family, and has long held business aspirations.
Those two interests came to a head recently, when her boyfriend asked her to make a pocket square for him.
Since starting her small business – PocketMan – as a side hustle, Ms Tytherleigh has enjoyed having an outlet that helps break up the grind of lectures and readings for her degree.
“I’ve always had sewing as an outlet, but I’ve always struggled to find time for it while in the grind of law school,” she explained.
“Now, I’ve got a really good excuse to actually do my sewing and not feel like I’m wasting time by not doing my law school work, in the same way you would if you were just chilling on the couch!”
And while the PocketMan business is seemingly outside the realm of legal practice, Ms Tytherleigh has found that it still enhances her understanding and appreciation for the law, especially when considering consumer relations and protections.
“I’m one of the Monash Law Student Society tutors this semester, and I tutor in consumer law – I can go back to my class and [talk about] problems I have faced as a small business owner, such as returns policies,” she said.
“It’s been really interesting to see how those two things, which I thought were probably very unrelated, actually sort of intersect.”
For law students who have to face harrowing educational or professional content, such ventures can also be useful, Ms Tytherleigh added.
Having worked in the Maurice Blackburn call centre, liaising with clients who have faced various traumas, injuries and been fired, starting a side business proved invaluable to Ms Tytherleigh in avoiding getting “bogged down” and hopeless about her career and progression through the law degree.
“Having PocketMan and being able to come home and work on it, close the door on the horrific cases I was hearing at work and any drama at university, has allowed me to switch off a little bit and turn my mind to more practical things, which has in turn helped me stay protected,” she said.
In this vein, law students shouldn’t let their studies get in the way of ventures that will bring meaning, Ms Tytherleigh said.
“It’s really important to have a support network who can help you put your priorities in the right place,” she said.
“I know that my parents, sister and boyfriend have been great in ensuring I spend some time doing my own thing, but also keep on top of law school.
“Finding a tribe is so important, because a business doesn’t sleep – it’s something that keeps going through the night.
“It’s kind of like law school.”
Finding a balance – first within yourself and with the people around you – so that you can achieve both your educational and vocational goals is, she concluded, fundamentally important to ensuring success across the board for law students who harbour an entrepreneurial streak.