Ningbo was set up by Chris Stockton around nine years ago. Chris had done a degree at Leeds and then went to work in London in the construction industry.
Chris explained: “I went to work there in the very early 90s ....I realised it would be very difficult to get up the ladder and at the same time my Nan died who left me a little bit of money and I decided to set up a Marquee hire business with the funds from that and I also borrowed quite a bit on credit cards. “
The marquee side grew and grew and Chris decided to go into furniture hire. He started to source his products in Bulgaria and then Poland before buying his stock from China.
He said: “I wanted to get married and the marquee industry placed a massive commitment on your life. I had to work Saturdays and Sundays and night times so I made a conscious decision to sell the marquee business which also included the furniture hire side, so that was sold and Ningbo was started nine years ago. “
Chris, who is married to British International Event Rider, Polly Stockton shipped several container loads of furniture in and started to retail it. That was the start of Ningbo.
Chris explained how he came up with the name Ningbo.
“When I went to China sourcing I had a friend who had a factory and an office in the city of Ningbo. It's a huge city and I was literally sat at my desk in the city of Ningbo thinking about the business and how I was going to market it. I wanted to pick a name that was similar in its ethos to Coca-Cola, something which could be of European use. I didn't think of being global then but now we even sell as far away as Africa. “
He added: “It's a random name which can be used anywhere.”
The company has now grown from strength-to-strength with offices in France, Germany, Belgium and Holland.
Ningbo supplies banqueting and office furniture.