Rowena Simmons – University of Worcester


My name is Rowena Simmons and I’m
currently in my second year at the University of Worcester. I’m studying
business, finance and entrepreneurship. I am the owner of both Black and White
boutique and Franco Florenzi which are online jewellery companies. The jewellery
aspect of things came around when I was like playing and making different things
out of cotton and threads and then my friends came over and kind of said that
they looked really good and the pieces I was making was quite unique and when
they kind of showed an interest and became interested in what I was doing I
kind of developed a passion kind of through like everyone else and what they
thought of it. The time when I thought that I perhaps could make money out of
it was when people said well mainly my friends said oh I’d like to buy that off
you and at first I was selling things for like two pound, three pounds and just
like the odd bracelet here and there. There was a lot more money to be made
out of it by the fact that people were saying they were unique, they’d never
seen them anywhere before so I decided to set up an online website and I think
about after an hour of it going live and doing a bit of promoting on social media
someone actually came forward from Spain and bought one of our items and from
there I just thought well the fact that someone in a different country has
already decided to purchase within such a short space of time that was clearly a
good market for it, especially considering I was so young I actually
didn’t really know about being able to reach other countries. I thought that the
entire business would be Uk-based. The general set up of my business is run
from my bedroom but at this point in time there’s probably not much point in
having a nice luxury office overlooking the Thames. The reason I came to
university mainly was because of the economy and the fact that you don’t know
what’s gonna happen in future. Most businesses fail within the first
two years so obviously I couldn’t because when I applied for
university I was actually moving into year 13 so I was applying for University
during that stage we hadn’t reached the two-year mark I didn’t know how
successful the business was going to continue to be and looking back on it
now my business knowledge was nowhere near as good as I perhaps thought it was
so I think I needed to come to university not only to secure a degree
so that I’ve got more of a stable future if anything does happen but it’s also
given me a lot more knowledge that I definitely need. The course that I am
doing has generally overlapped in terms of the business and in the real world
because I see it from the front line every single day and what actually
happens it’s quite nice to learn a lot of the theory and what I put should have
to be concentrating on in order to make sure that the business is a success long
term and not just short term. We’ve also learned several things such as E-business and obviously with an online website you can’t get much better than a
course and a lecturer who has actually worked with big corporations and done
their online websites which means that it helps me to improve mine and I can
also learn different things about language translators, online chats to
make sure that my website is the best that it could possibly be. I really like
Worcester Business School for several reasons – the fact that I’m doing a course
that’s business entrepreneurship and Finance I’ve been able to pick and
choose what I want to do and those particular areas that I would like to
study, whereas a lot of other universities you just have business
business management and it’s a standard course that you have to do whereas I get
to learn a bit of everything which is helpful especially when running your own
business. In over the past year I think I’ve won the Lloyds Enterprise awards
for best digital which was to do with our website. Only last week I won the
young entrepreneurs award for the Midlands and exporter of
the year.

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