Programme helps Lichfield business reach global markets

UK Trade & Investment international trade adviser Pat Steele is pictured with Gray’s of Shenstone managing director Nick Gray and company export manager Sue Birtwistle

UK Trade & Investment international trade adviser Pat Steele is pictured with Gray’s of Shenstone managing director Nick Gray and company export manager Sue Birtwistle

An established Lichfield designer and supplier of giftware is reaching global markets – with help from UK Trade & Investment.

Gray’s of Shenstone was founded in 1922 and specialises in a wide range of giftware with equestrian and rural themes, such as clocks, jewellery, table mats, watches, models and collectables.

The company turned to UK Trade & Investment to help it to export more proactively and has recently completed the flagship Passport scheme.

This programme provides a package of support for new or novice exporters, including a free export health check, attendance at an export workshop, assistance in formulating an international trade strategy and matched funding to help implement this strategy, quality training and mentoring advice and access to the full range of UK Trade & Investment services.

Gray’s of Shenstone is now exporting its giftware to more than 20 countries as a result of exhibiting at leading equestrian trade show Spoga in Cologne, thanks to financial support through Passport.

Export manager Sue Birtwistle said:

“We first attended Spoga with funding through UK Trade & Investment in September 2008 and were delighted with the outcome. It was such a success that we have returned twice since and we are looking forward to going back this month.

“We are exporting across mainland Europe and to Australia, Canada, Hong Kong and Japan because we were able to meet leading retailers and distributors at the event. Our export turnover will be well in excess of £100,000 this year, up by at least 25 per cent on last year.

“We had never exhibited at an overseas event before going to Spoga and we were unsure about it at first because of the cost and time involved. With financial support from UK Trade & Investment and the encouragement of our international trade adviser, Pat Steele, we felt much more confident to go to market and the results have been fantastic.”

International trade adviser Pat Steele, based at North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, said:

“The team at Gray’s of Shenstone are very focused on exporting. They channelled their strategy and marketing budget into identifying and benefiting from a platform which gave them maximum exposure and opportunity, and this has proved very successful.”

Gray’s of Shenstone has 20 employees and an annual turnover of approximately £2m.

For more information about how UK Trade & Investment can help businesses expand into new markets abroad, contact the international trade team at North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce on 01782 202222.

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