The early days of 2buy2

Published: Tuesday 6th August 2019 at 13:26

2buy2’s story started with its CEO, Robert Kissick. Born in Neath, his motivation was always to add value to people's lives and the beginning of his career is strong proof of that. In 2001, he joined the World Food Programme as a Disaster Manager helping with the Mozambique flood response.
He later joined Crown Agents in 2003, working initially on projects supplying ambulances and fire engines to Iraq, and the rebuilding of a refugee camp in the West Bank before joining the UK Government Emergency Response Team. That's when his interest in procurement sparked.
He managed the procurement of goods for emergencies including: Boxing Day Tsunami (2004), Earthquakes in Pakistan and Haiti (2005 and 2010), Cyclones in Bangladesh (2007) and Myanmar (2008). His work also involved projects in: Uganda, Tajikistan, Guyana, China, India, Kenya and the Philippines.
During these missions he would work 22-hour days, focusing on the rapid delivery of goods to save lives and reduce suffering.
Robert remembers:
“You get to a place where you don’t need sleep and if you sleep you delay things getting to people by 8 hours. Everything is urgent, a GO, GO, GO kind of thing.”
After his sons were born, Robert decided to work closer to his family. He noticed multiple independent shops closing and believed they could become more resilient if they bought together. As a deacon in his local church, he realised churches needed to improve their procurement practices. Therefore, Robert set up his own company in 2009, with the help of his brother-in-law Russell Stables.
Russell recalls:
"Rob started talking to me about 2buy2 (although it didn’t have a name at that point) in late 2008. Moving from idea to reality started in 2009. We were just back from Canada and I was keen to find a job with a clear purpose and mission. The whole idea of building and shaping a business from scratch was really appealing, and especially the focus on supporting the Church."
The name ‘2buy2’ was inspired by Noah’s Ark - a place of safety. Robert wanted to create a company where organisations large and small could join others to save on their costs safely. In 2009, the first deal created was actually the first national deal on office products dedicated to churches.
Russell continues:
“From around October 2010 I started working only on 2buy2 and then in April 2011 2buy2 were awarded the Parish Buying contract enabling us both to commit full time to the business. Late 2012 we rented office space in Waterfront Community Church Swansea for a few months before moving to Pencoed in 2013."
In 2011, in partnership with the Church of England, 2buy2 launched a national buying group for 16,000+ churches in England and Wales. The service named Parish Buying helped thousands of churches save over £8.5 million (by 2018) using their bulk buying power to negotiate competitive prices. As well as financial savings, 2buy2 are committed to improving the environment.
In 2012 Robert moved back to Wales specifically to grow a company that created new employment in South Wales.