Name: Steven Athwal
Company: The Big Phone Store
About Steven Athwal and The Big Phone Store
Before launching The Big Phone Store, Steven Athwal was already a tech entrepreneur with a successful corporate recycling business. He founded Euro Communications Distribution Ltd. in 1999, a company that specialises in recycling, refurbishing, and reselling mobile phones and other consumer electronics.
In 2018, the consumer market for refurbished phones was a third the size that it is today – and dominated by either mobile networks or large retailers who moved into selling refurbished devices. At the time, it was common for any website that sold refurbished phones to be buying them from a third-party refurbisher, like Athwal’s first company, ECD.
The Big Phone Store’s launch represented a change in how business is done in the refurbished phone market. Athwal’s experience positions TBPS as a refurbished phone brand led by the refurbishment experts themselves, rather than experts in retail. That also means that when it comes to genuine claims of sustainability, the company has a significant edge.
Athwal’s green credentials are particularly difficult to beat, as he has been championing re-use and recycling in his own businesses for nearly 25 years. Not only does the company’s own office exclusively use refurbished computers and pre-owned phones, – around 70% of the yearly energy needs of The Big Phone Store, from running industrial equipment to data servers, are covered by rooftop solar panels.
Authenticity is at the heart of The Big Phone Store’s success so far. In addition to the people behind the brand having a genuine passion for sustainability, the company’s customer service approach is incredibly direct. Calls, emails, and direct messages are all handled under the same roof as refurbishment and shipping, which allows for a very hands-on approach to customer service.
The brand also owes a significant part of its success to TikTok. Seeing an opportunity, Athwal chose to hire a dedicated video creator to run the company’s social media strategy. As a result, The Big Phone Store unlocked a viral marketing campaign that has led to over 7 million video views in the last two years.
The Big Phone Store has rapidly grown since its initial 2018 launch. In the past two years alone, the company’s website has grown from attracting thousands of customers per month to thousands per day – and has already become one of the largest refurbished phone brands in the UK.