Heidi Gardner – from PhD to independent business owner.

One of the best skills of a scientist is definitely creativity.

The constant challenge of finding solutions to new and stimulating problems really drives you to get creative. Creativity shouldn’t stop to the lab bench in my opinion. All the skills we learn during grad school should be implemented in our personal and professional life too.

So, what about get creative and make actual money for it? Many grad students don’t have a permanent salary, have to teach or demonstrate to support themselves or ask a loan to the bank. I think there is a better way to make a little extra money while doing a PhD and this comes from monetising your hobbies.


So, let me introduce my friend doctor Heidi, who just got her PhD in clinical trials from the University of Aberdeen and she works as a full-time researcher now. I met Heidi through Instagram and was really impressed by her endeavour of setting up her own business while still doing her PhD as if a PhD wasn’t hard enough already!

20181013_130820Heidi got the idea of staring an online business, Science On A Postcard, on her way back to Aberdeen from London. She was on a train and started a conversion with the person next to her. They asked her what she was doing for a living and she said she was a scientist. The person looked at her and said “Oh, but you don’t look like a scientist!”. Heidi was a bit upset by this answer as traditionally the image of male and female scientists is highly stereotyped.


20180828_125714She went home and started the shop on Etsy straight away along with an Instagram account and a page on Twitter. Heidi designs small pins, postcards and notebook with motivational and science-related quotes. I was lucky enough to meet Heidi at the Peterborough Science Festival.  I bought the lovely pins scientists and a motivational card. One of my first purchase was a set of postcards Heidi did with Nina Chiinta. Absolutely loved them from the first moment I have seen them.

In a few years, Heidi made around 1400 sells on Etsy and also contributed to the growth of the page PhDepression by designing these pins and postcards. Glad to have met Hedi, who definitely inspired me to open my own shop on Etsy Crocheting Science.

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