Leading figures from the UK garden and leisure industries were among the delegates and speakers at the conference on The Future for International Trade, held in Stratford upon Avon on Tuesday 12 March. The event was organised by leading trade associations, Gardenex, PetQuip and BHETA.
Two of the successful exporting businesses that delivered export case study presentations were Spear & Jackson and VegTrug, both long-standing members of Gardenex.
Amanda Sizer Barrett of Gardenex and Will Jones of BHETA (who were joint organisers of the event) talk with Tony Grimshaw of What More UK.
Brett Russell, Spear & Jackson’s regional sales manager for the Middle East and Asia, provided a number of tips for exporters. He advised that in order to adapt to overseas markets, companies needed to have flexibility in order to allow for business and cultural differences. He added that the cliché in successful exporting ‘If you don’t go, you don’t get’ was 100 per cent true, proving that to keep ahead of competitors it was vital to visit customers regularly. Brett cited business exhibitions as a must for new and established exporters, both for finding new customers and also getting a brand into new markets, commenting that it was important to be persistent and exhibit regularly to keep a brand focus in international markets.
Joe Denham, the chief executive officer of VegTrug, then explained how, since the company’s formation in 2009, it now had sales of 600,000 VegTrugs around the world with over 70 per cent of the company’s revenue resulting from exports. He said that the company prioritised exports in order to reduce seasonality issues in the business. As a regular exhibitor at spoga+gafa in Cologne, Glee in the UK and the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, Joe emphasised the importance of trade shows in the growth of his company’s sales. He advised delegates that reliable research was vital, as was the need to seek help through the DIT and he stressed the invaluable support, information and sales leads he had been given by trade associations. “In fact the help Gardenex has given has been a vital component in our export growth.”
‘Ask the Expert’ desks at the event covered translation and interpreter services, government funding, consumer trends consultancy, overseas trade fair organisers, consumer and design trend forecasting agents, business travel agents, international trade consultants, UK freight fowarding and logistics services and the event’s industry sponsor, UK garden and outdoor living trade show, Glee.
During the day the packed audience enjoyed a number of highly informative presentations that investigated the possible paths that the convoluted Brexit negotiations could take and their effects on British exporters.
The opening speaker was John Arnold, a Government lobbyist with an in-depth knowledge of government and the political scene, who provided a fascinating and entertaining backdrop to the current political situation. There were then incisive and illuminating presentations from international trade consultant Strong and Herd, Rathbone Investment Management and the director of legal advisors Dechert LLP, which has a top international trade for business department.
Moving the focus to the long term future opportunities in export, Euromonitor explored global megatrends and the effect they have in shaping product design and retail developments in consumer markets worldwide.
(Left to right) Ivo Darnley of Rathbone Investment Management, Tim Hiscock of Strong and Herd and government lobbyist John Arnold were among the top-level speakers.
Richard Tauwhare of Dechert commented after the event: “I thought it was a really first-class event with a great line up of speakers, lively discussion, excellent networking opportunities, some very interesting experts available for consultation and highly efficient administration. I enjoyed meeting some of the delegates, from a fascinating range of backgrounds, and learning from the other presenters, particularly the case studies, which really help to bring the issues to life.
Further guidance and in-depth export information and advice was provided throughout the one-day conference by a wide range of experienced export service providers and experts specialising in translations, logistics, trend analysis, business travel and research grants among many. Representatives from the DiT and trade exhibitions were also on hand, and Glee was the event’s industry sponsor.
Brett Russell (left) of Spear & Jackson and Joe Denham of Vegtrug are joined by Amanda Sizer Barrett prior to their export success presentations.
Commenting after the event, director general of Gardenex and PetQuip, Amanda Sizer Barrett said: “Our aim in organising the conference was to assure businesses in our product sectors that -- regardless of the outcome of the protracted discussions on our country’s departure from the European Union -- there is a raft of expert help and guidance available through our trade associations and our wide range of associate service providers to help smooth the path for continued export growth in the long term. Trading internationally remains an important element of the majority of companies’ long term stability and success, and suppliers in the pet supplies sector can be assured that in Gardenex they have direct access to a dedicated team that is delivering essential advice, exclusive research, business information and international sales contacts that current member companies are turning into new business globally.
“New export initiatives we are delivering are hard on the conference’s heels: this month, Gardenex has invited garden product buyers from Germany, Sweden, Spain and The Netherlands to meet with UK suppliers at a ‘Meet the International Buyers’ event on 27 March. Then, at the beginning of May, the association will be organising the British exhibitor pavilion and industry information stand at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas.”
Companies can benefit from the comprehensive range of advice, business benefits and services that Gardenex offers its member firms by contacting the Gardenex team by phone or email.
Networking was an important element of the conference.