World-class online retailer, famous for fast growth
Multi-award-winning Ozaroo was launched 10 years ago by brothers Chris and Conor Martin from a Belfast bedroom with relentless commitment to saving people money and obsession with world-class service. The duo led the brand to become one of the top-rated and fastest-growing multi-channel retailers in the world, winning numerous awards and employing an expanding team of local people. The Financial Times recently listed us as one of Europe's fastest-growing companies and Deloitte has ranked us highly in the top 50 fastest-growing technology companies in Ireland for the past five years in a row.
Chris worked in part-time jobs from the age of 13 and throughout his teenage years and even ran a sweet shop from his locker at school. Keenly interested in computers, he started selling some of his old games and hardware on eBay. He discovered a niche market where Australians wanted to save money on computer games by buying online from abroad.
Chris invested the few thousand pounds he had saved-up into a few ideas, starting the company and operating it from his bedroom while studying and still living at home. Successful from the outset, Chris' strategy was to continually reinvest profits into new brands and products, technology and ideas. His hobby rapidly grew into a small business through diversification of product ranges and Conor, his 16-year old brother, soon stepped in to help.
"Being frugal and efficient is crucial," explains Chris. "We were brought up by our mum to not get into debt. We intuitively applied the same belief to our business, not spending unnecessarily or taking-on debt. All our growth has been purely organic by reinvesting the majority of profits back into the company."
The brand name came from the company's roots as it was specialising in international trade with Australia. 'Oz' was derived from the abbreviation of Australia, and 'aroo' from kangaroo, Australia's national symbol.
Within a year the business had outgrown the bedroom and spare rooms. Increasing daily duties including picking, packing, product sourcing and buying, sales and marketing, and customer service led Chris to convincing his mum Brenda to leave her secure job to work for the new business.
Reluctance to take on overheads was eventually overcome, moving to a small warehouse unit at a nearby business park. Without any loans or grants, the brothers’ limited funds made it difficult to keep up with the growth and to find space for the increasing product range. Quickly outgrowing the first five premises we moved into, we soon upgraded to our current state-of-the-art distribution centre, increasing local employment with every expansion.
"I started the company hoping that I would be able to make some pocket-money while studying at university, so it's a dream to be able to offer many more careers to my family and other local people," says Chris. "We’re extremely grateful to have been recognised for customer service excellence and fast-growth by several independent organisations and we thank our customers who continue to support us."
Our first-class service and great value prices has attracted customers and brands in droves over the years, expanding from just a handful of products to several thousand and continuing to grow at an award-winning pace every year.