International trade: the opportunities are endless

Douglas Adamson, Executive Chairman of Anthropods & Co, explains how international trade has accelerated growth in his business.

Overseas interest in a product can develop quickly, and it’s no different for Anthropods.

A design and manufacturing business based in North Yorkshire, Anthropods builds high-end glamping products and micro-dwellings.

They identified the fast-growing glamping sector as one lacking innovation and product development. And even before the first anthropod prototype was completed, website enquiries started pouring in from Europe and the UK.

The prototype Bleriot 72 4 berth model went on display at the Glamping Show in September 2018. There was a very positive consumer reaction, receiving over 400 enquiries. The first sale came from a major Netherlands campsite owner. After the show, the company contacted the local Department for International Trade (DIT) office to find what help they could give in exploring further opportunities in the Netherlands. This resulted in attending a seminar and the preparation of a market report on the sector compiled by the British Embassy in the Hague.

The DIT has been very helpful and assisted with funding travel to the Netherlands to meet other campsite operators, and helping to source a Netherlands sales agent. Two more pod sales followed, which was a welcome boost for a start-up business not yet a year old. The company also gained new knowledge when invoicing in Euros and checking with the bank regarding charges for currency exchanges. The DIT can also advise on export credit guarantee arrangements and letters of credit when dealing with other overseas markets.

More recently, Arthropods has been approached by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for an order worth over £8m. The Saudis specified they needed a local Saudi partner to fulfil this contract and the DIT put the company in touch with the British Consulate in Riyadh, who assisted in validating potential partners.

There is plenty of free help out there for businesses wishing to consider exporting through the DIT (including the ‘Exporting is Great campaign’) and local Chambers of Commerce. Exporting to the EU was straightforward, but now there is a lot more paperwork to contend with and unknown import tariffs (depending on what deal, if any, is achieved). British products still carry a cache for quality and innovation and exporters should not be daunted by the paperwork -  there is a world out there waiting.

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