Why I quit Uni to sell Marmite to expats

After just two weeks at Loughborough University last autumn, Katie decided to stop studying for a degree in economics and set up Tastes Marvellous, which exports British food to expatriates reports This Is Money.

The 18-year-old, from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, is now exporting more than 5,000 products and is on track to turn over £600,000 in her first year of trading.

I went to university because it seemed there was no other choice, but I quickly realised I would rather set up a business,’ she says.

‘I was there for freshers’ week and had a great time, but it was a very expensive two weeks.’
Katie, who grew up in Saudi Arabia when her father was working there, says she knows what it is like not having custard and Curly Wurlys.

She says: ‘I left university on the Thursday and had my first order – four jars of Marmite to go to Massachusetts – on the following Tuesday.

‘Staying up until two in the morning researching Monster Munch crisps doesn’t feel like hard work.

‘If I put 100 new products on the site and get ten new orders that day it is worth it.’

Katie has exported to 80 countries and is now selling non-food products, such as deodorant and cleaning products.

She says: ‘Sanex deodorant is very popular, as is Mr Sheen. I had an order for four bottles of Dettol to go to Sunset Boulevard in California.’

Katie buys her stock from Unilever, Mars, Galaxy and wholesalers. ‘A lot of people don’t know what the normal price is,’ she says.

Her website sells 125g jars of Marmite for £3.99 each plus postage and packing. In a British supermarket the same jar retails for £1.70.

She says: ‘I think people pay for the convenience.’