Yacht on the sea in the sunset

Ipswich based company sails its way to international success

While most companies can only dream of attracting the attention of royal families, oligarchs and billionaires, one Ipswich-based company has very few clients who don’t fall into these categories.

Superyachts Tenders & Toys (SYTT) was set up six years ago by husband and wife Josh and Claire Richardson to supply yacht toys (onboard leisure equipment) and tenders (smaller boats to support or service larger ones) to an international clientele of superyacht owners.

The idea came to them while working in the South of France managing superyachts. This led to a move to Ipswich where they had family nearby and the start of a company that now employs eight staff and has clients in the popular yachting destinations of Europe and the Middle East, as well as some business in Australia, the Caribbean, USA, Brazil and more. It’s no surprise that this year they won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise. The company is also hoping to take on another member of staff in the next 6 to 12 months.

Knowing that nearly all business would be coming from overseas, Josh and Claire were offered professional help in the form of the Department for International Trade (DIT) early on and have worked with a regionally-based Export Growth Trade Adviser ever since.

Recently, this has included being awarded a grant to help employ an eighth member of staff through the Get Exporting 2 programme, backed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This allows new or existing exporters to tap into support including advice on international marketing, one-to-one meetings to discuss individual needs and formulate international strategies, workshops on key sectors and markets, meet the buyer events, market research advice and match funded grants of up to £3,000.

Josh Richardson, Managing Director, SYTT, said: “Having a meeting with our Trade Adviser every few months has allowed us to sit down and review where we are, where we want to go and how we need to get there.

Having someone to discuss this with has been the most valuable part. Applying for the Queen’s Award was led by our Export Growth Trade Adviser, and winning this has been hugely positive for SYTT as a business.”

SYTT’s Trade Adviser at DIT is Stephen Banks. He said: “Winning the Queen’s Award was well-deserved and a result of SYTT’s drive and vision for their export activities. They have combined their expertise, experience and passion for boats with offering clients the best products and highest level of customer service.

We are looking forward to continuing to work with Josh and Claire into the future to help them with their inevitable ongoing success.”

“Having a meeting with our Trade Adviser every few months has allowed us to sit down and review where we are, where we want to go and how we need to get there.”

Much of the work involves fitting out new yachts, as well as peripheral services such as the manufacture of custom deck equipment.

“As a new build order is so large it can take time to come to fruition, and thus we need the smaller deals to come through on a daily basis to sustain us,” explains Josh. “Currently there is a focus on large landing crafts to transport goods to and from the shore, and have beach parties etc. There is also a large amount of enthusiasm for foiling boats and surfboards e.g. eFoil (an electric hydrofoil surf board).”

Whilst the number of new builds is decreasing, the size of them is growing and there’s no evidence of buyers losing interest in tenders and toys.

Josh would encourage other business to think about selling their goods and services overseas. He said: “It is not as hard as you think. Start softly and build up the export countries based on demand, rather than pushing particular countries blindly throwing resources into it. Do a study before with consultants so you enter markets armed with the info you need rather than chasing this later.”

Whoever you are dealing with, Josh believes customer service is key. “I am sure some of our success has been through us being very customer-focused, investment in software and IT, maximising staff members’ time and ensuring work is never doubled up.”

For more information on how we can support your business in exporting overseas, get in touch.