Geography graduate Emilio looks ahead to a sparkling future

Friday 14 June 2024

Earning money while sleeping is a dream for many students, but it’s become a way of life for Emilio Rimini, who graduated with a 2:1 in Geography from the University of St Andrews today (Friday 14 June).

Emilio is co-founder of The Green Company, which addresses the challenge of finding alternatives to single use plastic products through its range of environmentally friendly cleaning products.

The Green Company was founded in 2018 as part of a Young Enterprise competition, with Emilio and schoolfriend Kieran Chauhan initially making beeswax wraps in Emilio’s kitchen before selling them at local markets around the UK. The pair quickly became familiar with the hard work, long hours, excitement and challenges of building a business, in their case while completing their final years at school.

Emilio’s long-held interest in the natural world inspired his decision to pursue a degree in Geography at St Andrews, which he describes as ‘the perfect subject’ in its weaving together of the natural with the human in a way no subject he’d studied at school had done. From learning more about human migration to understanding the science of glaciers, Emilio especially valued the breadth of choice, with his favourite being a biogeography module – “the perfect balance between the physical, scientific side of geography, and the human interaction with our environment”.

Having previously founded a number of online jewellery businesses which generated enough income to grow The Green Company in its early years, Emilio’s e-commerce experience became invaluable when the COVID-19 pandemic threatened the future of the company. Moving operations online not only saved the business but enabled it to flourish.

The Green Company is projected to hit £2 million in sales by the end of this year, with its range of products helping to clean the clothes and homes of over 100,000 customers from 150 countries. As demand for The Green Company’s environmentally friendly products has grown, so has the size of the team, and Emilo plans to recruit more staff as he focuses fully on the business after graduating.

“Building a team of fantastic individuals has been the real highlight of my business journey. It always was just me and my laptop, and it becomes quite lonely!” he says, “but having had the opportunity to grow my team to seven full time members, with more to join in the coming months, has been so rewarding.”

Reflecting on his experience of building a business during his time at school and university, with the multiple additional challenges posed by the pandemic, Emilio highlights how important it is to “remember that there is no such thing as a quick buck”, and that his determination to continuously improve has been key to The Green Company’s success to date.

“Having the confidence to fail has been critical”, he says. “I look back on challenges I had to begin with, and whilst they pale in significance to now, they felt just as important as they do now. Money has always been a real challenge however, I’ve had no external funding and had to use every penny I’d made in other enterprises to grow The Green Company, which is fine when it’s just me to think about, but now with several members of staff who rely on the company for their livelihoods, I constantly face the pressures of growing the company without running out of money.”

As he looks ahead to full-time focus on The Green Company, Emilio highlights the importance of being inspired and supported by others.

“Throughout my time at St Andrews it has been the tutors’ deep love and fascination for their subject which has so inspired me. Building The Green Company alongside my degree studies, I’ve also learned to acknowledge mistakes and find opportunities to build my experiences into positive lessons for the future.

“My advice to others would be to ask for help when you need it. I rarely did and look back on times when there were struggles in my life and the business that I tried to battle alone, and as a result more problems arose. Now having a team around me and beginning to build contacts within the world of business, I always have someone to turn to, if I need.”

Many congratulations to Emilio on your graduation, and we wish you every success for the future.

Category Community

Related topics

Share this story