Speding and Orr
Tom Keighley

Member Article

Sunderland e-commerce outfit outgrow premises and eye future floatation

Sunderland e-commerce business which specialises in home and garden furnishings and sports equipment is expanding in the city, and says it would like to float in the future.

Variety.co.uk is moving from its current offices at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) to a larger unit and now plans to recruit another two members of staff.

The firm began in 2010 in an incubator unit at the BIC, but has since expanded by at least 30% per year to reach £2 million turnover.

Entrepreneur John Orr, who founded Variety, said: “We are moving to bigger premises to accommodate more storage space and more staff in customer services, accounts and administration.

“We are always looking to expand into different product sectors and countries worldwide. E-commerce is becoming more and more popular and with 90,000+ products already for sale we intend to be at the forefront in our sector.

“When you look at our counterparts in America they are floating on the stock exchange. Our aim is to have that happen here as well. That same growth is already happening here.”

The company sources its products from suppliers around the UK. It sends items out across the UK from the Isle of Skye to the Channel Islands and has delivered to some very prestigious London addresses.

John, who is Sunderland born and bred, previously ran a business which designed a fold-up motorbike that could fit into a car boot. He was supported by Sunderland entrepreneur Sir Peter Vardy who continues to mentor him.

He has also been strongly supported by Sunderland City Council, which provided advice and guidance to help with Variety’s move into larger premises.

John added: “I’ve found the City Council helpful to entrepreneurs, both as a younger person starting a business and as an established business owner aiming to grow. They have been a great support.

“I would say Sunderland is a brilliant place to start and grow a business. The city has everything you require to help an enterprise flourish from start-up to expansion.”

Councillor Mel Speding, Cabinet Secretary of Sunderland City Council, said: “Sunderland is renowned as a great location for manufacturing and engineering industries, but Variety is a great example of the newer types of technology and entrepreneurial companies that are also thriving here in Sunderland.

“We are pleased to have helped advise on Variety’s expansion and can offer similar support to other new and growing businesses.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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