Home North East Online accessories retailer gets savvy advice from young Northumbria University business strategists

Online accessories retailer gets savvy advice from young Northumbria University business strategists

BAM Worldwide Ltd, the North East-based company behind the successful men’s online lifestyle accessory brand TORRO, recently teamed up with business students at Northumbria University to explore diversification and new routes to market.

Business partners William Johnson and Michael Farnsworth launched the company, which specialises in the design, manufacture and delivery of premium quality leather cases and covers for mobile devices, in 2014.
In just five years, the TORRO brand has secured a loyal customer base with sales worldwide and a turnover in excess of £2 million per year.

Aware they have only touched the surface of the e-commerce market and keen to keep innovating, William and Michael approached the Business Clinic at Northumbria University for advice.

They tasked a team of four final year business students to research growth potential and conduct a feasibility study into the company’s plans to evolve the brand by adding complementary products to its range.

William Johnson, BAM Worldwide managing director, explains: “Working with the Business Clinic has been a great experience for us. Enlisting the support of bright young minds along with the knowledge and insights they bring has been a transformative process for us.

“We are a small team and when you work at the coalface it can be difficult to step out and see the bigger picture to create new opportunities. We created TORRO to cater for style conscious men, who want good quality products at affordable prices.

“We wanted to know if our strategy to create a new and exclusive range of gents’ leather accessories would enable us to sell at a higher price point. Our project brief focused on two key elements. Firstly, how can we boost our online presence in the USA and Europe, and secondly, to look at how we can take TORRO from the internet to the high street in a manner which fits our brand values.

“The report and recommendations the team produced are excellent, realistic and implementable. I think the Business Clinic model is a great idea that everybody benefits from. It has been fantastic for us to tap into emerging business talent, and to know that we are helping Beth, Jack, Josef and Liam to further their studies.”

The Business Clinic, which is part of Northumbria University’s award-winning Business School, was ‘Highly Commended’ by the British Academy of Management Education Practice Awards Panel in 2017 for its role in bringing students and businesses together to identify and deliver genuine solutions for real businesses.

The model involves groups of business students forming a ‘consultancy firm’ to provide free advice to clients. The service is available to all types of businesses from SMEs and multinationals to charities and third sector organisations.

Students are asked to analyse the problem they are presented, consider possible solutions and provide a detailed report and full presentation of their recommendations to their client.

Nigel Coates, director of the Business Clinic, said: “BAM Worldwide and their TORRO product range is a North East success story and we are extremely proud to work with them. Since we launched the Business Clinic five years ago we have seen over 900 students work with and advise more than 220 organisations.
“The Business Clinic is an extremely innovative education scheme, providing our students with an invaluable opportunity to develop advantageous skills and ultimately improve their chances of securing highly-desirable jobs when they graduate.”