Smarta Blog

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Guest blog: Why being a British business can help you export

When you start a business, you often have a dream or vision of that product or service going global. And it goes without saying that the market for great brands and experiences is truly international. So when I founded Concoction, I did wonder when we would start to export, and what the catalyst for this would be.

The real turning point for us from an export point of view was our launch in Selfridges. The store is world renowned and is a byword for luxury. It’s one of the key destinations for tourists flocking to London. It took me two years to convince Selfridges to ‘give us a shot’ in store, and eventually to my utter excitement I received the green light. The focus was on creating an incredible experience in store, something that would be very PR worthy, especially for the Beauty editors. We had to really stretch ourselves. The big players such as Estee Lauder, LVMH and L’Oreal spend millions on these kind of launches and I had to create something befitting of Selfridges on a startup budget. Somehow we did it, and you can watch it here:

http://concoct.io/selfridgeslaunch

This was the very catalyst we needed to spark our export sales. Even during the two-week pop-up that we had in store, I started to receive emails from other retailers and interested parties around the world who saw potential in our ‘Mixology Technology’. We also noticed that the very first international orders started to come through on our website; - the most obscure of which was from Reunion Island of all places (a small remote island off the coast of Madagascar). 

I admit the Selfridges endorsement has made a big difference. However, as we have moved forward, it is clear that people are interested in Concoction very much due to it being an innovative British brand. When I speak to buyers around the world, the fact that we are British developed and manufactured speaks volumes.

‘Brand Britain’ is very desirable right now and the memory of the Olympics is still prevalent. People trust us. They trust our products, and people know that the UK is a safe haven for online transactions. We also have an amazing heritage and I have been advised that this is key to the positive perception that people have about our products. Importing and exporting is risky, so for a potential importer abroad, they feel safer dealing with a company based in the UK.

Our .co.uk domain has made a massive difference. When we started the business, the domain I wanted, www.concoction.co.uk was already registered, but eventually I managed to secure it. After doing some research I discovered a .co.uk is one of the most trusted top level domains. I would advise other businesses to ensure they register a .co.uk even if it means having to have a slightly different URL.  I notice that even Innocent don't have www.innocent.co.uk, they have innocentdrinks.co.uk. So tweak your web name a little if you really need to.

Finally, we recently joined the UKTI’s Passport to Export scheme and we’ve been allocated an International Trade Advisor who is helping us to ensure we grow our export business based on the right approach and strategy. There’s also £3,000 worth of match funding towards research and getting everything set up.

I’m really excited about Concoction products being lathered up all over the world. I wish the best of luck to anyone else setting out on their export journey. Let’s give it a shot.

For more tips and advice on how to choose the best domain for you and your business please visit www.agreatplacetobe.co.uk and follow @dotuk

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