Thursday, 03 December 2015
A third year Business student at the University of Worcester has seen her new jewellery company turnover half a million pounds in its first year.
Franco Florenzi, founded by 20-year-old Worcester student Rowena Simmons, along with 23-year-old business partner Lucky Nwosu, has had a remarkable inaugural year.
The company, based in Droitwich, has achieved global success after being published in household magazines, such as Vogue, GQ, Esquire, Square Mile and Glamour. Their popular range of watches and bracelets has built them an impressive following on social media, with a combined total of 370,000 across Facebook and Instagram.
Company founder, Rowena, who is in the final year of her undergraduate degree in Business, Finance and Entrepreneurship at the University of Worcester, said: “We are so pleased with how far we have come in the past year. Franco Florenzi has really taken off and we are so thankful for all the support we have received. We now have six employees, some of whom are University of Worcester students.”
Together, Rowena and Lucky have won several prestigious awards including Best Digital Business at the 2014 Lloyds Bank Enterprise Awards, Midlands Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Midlands Exporter of the Year. They’re hoping for even more success over the next 12 months.
Rowena’s first company, Black & White Boutique, which she co-founded as an 18 year-old had a first year turnover of £86,000. She grew up as part of a business-minded family – her father also owns his own company – but she says she is still surprised at her early, extraordinary success.
“I have always had the ambition to start my own business, probably since I was around ten years-old,” she said. “I grew up with business knowledge and experience in the family, and it is something that I am used to. However, I have definitely been surprised with my success so far.”
Worcester Business School’s Business, Finance and Entrepreneurship course offers students the chance to engage with employers and undertake a variety of modules geared towards developing job-ready career skills. Rowena says that the course has allowed her to develop as a businesswoman.
“When I was researching courses, I found that Worcester was one of the only universities to offer Entrepreneurship, whilst allowing you to study Finance or other related modules,” she said,
“The course has allowed me to research further into my business market and, through the Business Law module, gain an insight into the legal aspect of things and how to apply that to the business.
“The University has been very supportive regarding my commitments. It isn’t easy studying full-time and running a business. My lecturers are also a great help. Communicating with people who are experts within their field has allowed me to develop my knowledge.”