Surrey Live

Meet the Surrey dad who designs treehouses and rope bridges for private islands overseas.

Article by John Dexter, Surrey Live

Getting your business off the ground in the UK is one thing, but breaking into the international market is another matter entirely. It can be challenging enough to get your name out there but what happens when you spot the opportunity to expand overseas?

Paul Cameron, 56, director at Treehouse Life Ltd, knows how challenging it can be launch a business internationally.

However, taking this risk was a huge turning point for his business, which has now seen great success and allowed him to travel the world.

Some of this success can be attributed to the valuable advice and guidance received from the International Trade team at Newable.

Now, despite having no showroom and running the business from his Dorking home, his team can work anywhere from the Bahamas to the Arctic.

So how did Paul's journey begin?

Building Treehouses wasn’t a natural path for Paul, who started his career as a very well-respected classical session drummer. Paul has performed at the Shakespeare's Globe, The National Theatre and The Royal Albert Hall to name but a few.

However, it wasn't until he decided to build a treehouse for his two sons, Charlie, now 21, and Elliott, now 25, that he was able to put his creative side and love of carpentry to work.

Visiting the Ideal Home Show almost 20 years ago, Paul noticed a gap in the market and decided to take a risk and booked a stand the next show. In 2002, he returned with his first stall at the front of the exhibition.

Leaving with a book filled with over 140 interested clients, it was then Paul realised that his initial idea had the potential to become something big.

Following this, Paul was invited to contribute his work to the Chelsea Flower Show and BBC's Gardeners' World.

The next logical step was to expand the business. Paul also noted he was getting a lot of interest from international clients.

Having completed an MBA, he knew what this meant. It was time to start selling overseas. But where do you start? Who do you contact? What’s the first step to selling overseas?

That’s where Newable came in….

How did Newable help?

Newable is a UK-based company which helps businesses to expand internationally, promoting exporting products and services from the UK to overseas.

They are the Department for International Trade’s (DIT’s) delivery partner in London and the South East.

Paul said:

"It wasn't until I contacted the Department for International Trade that I realised what help they and Newable could do for me. Newable provided me with advice and set up a consultation meeting to discuss a strategy about overseas business. I was introduced to their education workshops which help connect companies. The lessons helped to grow my confidence to pursue contacts, build and improve my website and help me with social media plus networking. I saw some great success all as a direct result of the workshops. Their help was invaluable. In just four months I was producing global projects."

Paul initially didn't know what to expect from the meetings but was overjoyed when he found out just how much they could help his business grow.

He said:

"At first, I thought they only helped big oil or gas companies but when I learned that they could help small businesses, I was thrilled".

It wasn't long until Paul was out meeting clients and is now travelling the world with clients in more than eight countries. He and his team have built rope bridges for private islands in the Bahamas and worked on adventure tourism holidays seeing the polar bears in the Canadian Arctic.

Paul added:

"Thanks to the advice and tips given to me, I've reached a place where clients don't even need to see examples of the work I do now. Clients just trust the work I do. The confidence and support given to me thanks to Newable and DIT has been fantastic."

Treehouse Life Ltd.