Stephenson’s Online LTD & SOL Retail 

How one of Amazon’s Top 100 UK retailers, turned £10 into a thriving multi-million-pound business

The Institute of Export & International Trade went to meet with Barry Tong Director of Stephenson’s Online & Sol Retail.

Barry’s journey is truly remarkable. Over the course of 13 years, he and his wife Katy transformed a small start-up with a humble £10 investment into a thriving multi-million-pound business. Their success story, turning £10 into £10 million in just a decade without resorting to loans or overdrafts, reflects their strategic acumen and dedication. They started by selling things on eBay no longer needed by the family and as confidence and success grew, they moved into health and beauty products.

Since 2012, they have been one of Amazon’s premier global sellers, achieving a remarkable track record of driving brands into international markets. Export sales came early, and the company was always confident that exporting through e-commerce was the way forward. Amazon approached the company and encouraged them to expand into Germany. Breaking into the USA was a key moment followed swiftly by success in Australia, and Japan, now the company exports on e-market places to over 18 countries, consistently delivering unparalleled results. 

Barry highlights the key benefits of selling globally, primarily business growth, expanding customer reach, from the sites his products are listed on they are receiving over 7 billion “hits” which is driving sales massively. As Barry says, “the more people that see it the more people that buy it.” 

He advises when setting up an export business keep things simple, get your home market right first, do your research to look for the big opportunities, choose your markets carefully, be mindful of how you are going to distribute your product and service customers across borders, pace yourself and don’t spread yourself too thinly too quickly. It’s also about building the right team around you and seeking the right support and advice. The company are looking forward to the next chapter of their entrepreneurial growth story and to one day hitting the £50m goal.