Butcher, baker and candlestick makers among 1.5m UK companies using TikTok

For the first time, TikTok unveils number of UK firms using the platform
BizAge News Team
Tiktok on a phone

TikTok has today revealed that almost 1.5 million UK firms, including family ventures, emerging side-hustles, and promising scale-ups, now use the platform to boost their business.

TikTok launched in the UK in 2018, and has quickly become home to businesses of all kinds and sizes who use the platform to reach new audiences and promote their products and services.

At the heart of TikTok's UK business community are small and medium sized businesses such as butchers E.V Slack & Sons, bakers Ooh & Aah Cookies and Bear Burners candlestick makers.

The three firms are among dozens featured by TikTok on a new website showcasing SMEs creating the most joyful, authentic and engaging content.

Promoting goods and services on TikTok gives businesses access to a thriving community of 150 million users across Europe and many use the platform’s growing marketplace, TikTok Shop.

The 1.5m firms milestone follows research from Oxford Economics which showed that activity by small and medium sized businesses on TikTok contributed £1.63bn to UK GDP last year and supported 32,000 jobs.

Hashtags like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt have reached over 74 billion views and made TikTok a destination for people to discover the biggest trending products across beauty, fashion, food, tech and more.

TikTok provides training and support for budding entrepreneurs on the SME hub, where the 25 brilliant businesses are showcased. The new hub will be a useful resource for other small businesses and start-ups where they can go for information and inspiration about how to use TikTok to grow their business.

The Butcher - E.V Slack & Sons

E.V Slack & Sons is a fifth generation high-street family butcher based in Doncaster. By creating content giving behind-the-scenes insight into life as a butcher, Matt Slack is helping to keep a traditional industry alive among a new generation. With millions of views, customers have visited the shop from across the UK, with Matt now using money made on TikTok to sponsor his local cricket club.

The Bakers - Ooh & Aah Cookies

TikTok Shop is now a seven-figure sales channel for Ruth Armstrong and Barbara-Anne McMullan’s business, Ooh & Aah Cookies. Their Ballyclare, Northern Ireland-based bakery specialises in freshly-baked cookies and ships to customers throughout the UK. With over half of the business’ revenue now generated through sales on TikTok, the team has hired four new local team members to help meet demand flowing from the platform.

Ridiculously Rich

After the Covid-19 pandemic forced the closure of her Aberystwyth beachside cafes, Alana Spencer – founder of Ridiculously Rich, was about to give up on her baking brand. As a final roll of the dice, Alana started selling her handmade cakes on TikTok Shop, a decision she credits with saving her small business. By showcasing their favourite products on TikTok Live, Alana and her team have rapidly boosted the brand's profile. Ridiculously Rich now makes the majority of its revenue on TikTok Shop, which has become a six-figure sales channel for the business, and it now employs a team of 20 local staff.

The Candlestick Maker - Bear Burners

Bear Burners is an artisan candles and wax melts company based in Jarrow, South Tyneside. After months of struggling, its business was on the verge of liquidation, but joining TikTok enabled founder Rachel Spence to showcase products and sell directly to customers on the platform’s Live feature. Now Bear Burners has built a supportive community online, re-opened its physical shop, grown the team and returned to sustainable growth.

Rich Waterworth, General Manager, Operations Europe said: “Our TikTok business community in the UK is going from strength to strength and we’re humbled by the sheer number of businesses using our platform across the country. This ranges from household name brands like Tesco and NatWest to a huge variety of small and medium-sized businesses who are seeing phenomenal success on TikTok, telling their stories in a more creative and authentic way and finding new customers for their products. In today's economic climate, businesses have to balance many competing priorities, but the need to reach new customers and drive growth never goes away. I'm excited to welcome even more diverse companies on to TikTok in the future.

Emma Jones, CBE, founder and CEO of small business support platform and membership community Enterprise Nation, said:

"TikTok has undoubtedly opened up fabulous new opportunities for the UK's resourceful entrepreneurs to build loyal communities and tap into new markets. It has allowed enterprising small businesses to tell their story to a much broader audience, showcasing their ideas and products, and ultimately driving sales.  TikTok has clearly established itself as a key channel for business growth."

Matt Slack, Master Butcher at E.V. Slack & Sons, said: “We used to rely on leafleting to spread the word about our business, but now, with almost 130,000 followers on TikTok, our reach has skyrocketed. When my niece recommended TikTok to us back in 2021, we started making videos for a bit of fun, but we could never have imagined it would take off this much. Now, people are coming from further away to visit our shop, and we even get recognised walking down the street! Our business is far better off thanks to TikTok”

Ruth Armstrong, partner and co-founder at Ooh&Aah Cookies, said: "When Barbara-Anne and I started on TikTok, we were excited to be one of the first bakeries to sell on TikTok Shop. Selling on TikTok LIVE took us back to our market stall days, allowing us to build relationships with customers and answer their questions in real-time, just like a modern-day glass-fronted shop - it’s such a buzz. The demand has been crazy and we’ve been able to reach people all over the UK and grow our brand on a massive scale. To any business thinking about TikTok, be brave, experiment, and don’t give up, because it really pays off.”

Rachel Spence, founder of Bear Burners, said: “Six months ago, we decided to try TikTok – and it has revolutionised our business. The ability to speak to the community about their favourite scents of our candles, and get to know customers both regular and new through TikTok LIVEs has been incredible. This has translated to queues regularly going up the street outside our physical shop, with customers visiting from all corners of the UK. We are now consistently selling out, we have expanded  our team from three to seven - and we are aiming to sell £50,000 worth of products on TikTok per month by the end of the year! We are excited to continue this journey, and hope this will keep growing as our popularity continues to snowball on the platform.”

Written by
BizAge News Team
From our newsroom
November 5, 2023
Written by
November 5, 2023