Grimsby murder mystery creator fronts campaign for those who don't have a clue about exporting!

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 31 Jan 2018

A Grimsby entrepreneur's global ambition is being propelled by Government, as it underlines the opportunities of world trade.

Jo Smedley, and her Red Herring Games murder mystery operation, are now fronting the latest campaign from Department of International Trade, as it flags up both the advisor assistance offered and the demand for British goods and services worldwide.

It comes just a fortnight after Baroness Rona Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, highlighted her in a special article for

The former business ambassador for UK Trade and Investment, and past chairman and chief executive of the Financial Times Group, outlined how she wanted more companies to follow the overseas success. 

She wrote: “I want to see more success stories like Grimsby-based Red Herring Games which has transformed its business through exporting. Established 10 years ago in managing director Jo Smedley’s spare room, the company now sells a range of 146 dinner party and murder mystery games across the globe. In 2016, 50 per cent of the company’s revenue was through exporting. In 2017, this rose to 75 per cent with sales through Amazon alone. 

“Just four years ago, the company approached DIT and with its advice and support, Red Herring Games had the knowledge and confidence to send its entire catalogue of titles out to the US. The US is now the company’s biggest and most lucrative export market, with plans to go to even further.”

MORE: Read Baroness Fairhead's full article  

Jo Smedley, a fun-loving MD, is a phenomenal example of the benefits of self-promotion, having caught the attention of her business peers in Grimsby with her in-character appearances at events and the likes of high profile business 'celebs' Theo Paphitis and Jacqueline Gold CBE with her active online marketing.

Her success led her to being named one of the top 100 small businesses in 2016, which in turn brought a Downing Street invite as part of the Small Business Saturday movement.    

Of the whirlwind of attention, she said: "It is lovely. The fact we are a quirky business certainly helps, and we have been working with Duncan Slater, our advisor, for three or four years now to go international, and he had been really good."

Funding and advice to get the business export-ready has been key, especially now a trial franchise model is being rolled out in Australia this year, with the US likely to follow should it prove a success. 

Duncan Slater, international trade adviser at the Department for International Trade, said: “We’ve worked with Jo for around five years and seen her business grow from an idea she chatted about over the kitchen table to an international success story.

“Jo is a brilliant ambassador for other businesses in the area looking to explore overseas markets. She will be sharing her experiences and insights at our Boat Camp event which takes place on February 20. We’d encourage anyone who has been inspired by Jo’s story to come along and hear more.”

On board a P&O Ferry at Hull's King George Dock, the one day workshop event will 'sail through' the key aspects of exporting and e-commerce. 

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