Exporting: An exciting opportunity or daunting prospect?
It wasn’t that long ago that Twoey tentatively dipped a toe in the water and decided to explore the business of exporting. We felt sure Twoey products would sell in other countries, but weren’t entirely sure where to go and how to do it.
After much thought, we decided to take a stand at an international trade show. We had been attending Nuremberg Toy Fair in Germany for many, many years as visitors, networking with buyers and contacts. For some reason, we had never exhibited. This year we did! In January 2018 Team Twoey took a van full of products, across all product ranges, and set up a stand at the show. WOW! What an exhibition, why hadn’t we done it years ago and what great feedback and contacts we made.
After the show, then what?
We were overwhelmed with contacts and interest in Twoey products during the show, but how were we going to consolidate this interest and convert it into new custom? We had buyers from Europe, Australia, America visit our stand and enthuse about our range, but it would be impossible to visit all of them straight away. So we needed to narrow it down. We did some research, talked to other UK educational suppliers, listened to Besa’s valuable advice about which countries were growth sectors and then drew up a short list.
Twoey were going to visit Germany and the US!
In April this year we visited Germany, with perfect timing as one of the German catalogues took a selection of products to feature in their Spring flier. We have just had a first stock order from them and one of our products is featured on the front cover of their catalogue. How excited we were back at the factory when that news landed!
And not ones for hanging about, in May Twoey packed up more samples and went transatlantic taking a selection of our product ranges to USA. With meetings booked, Johanne and Jess demonstrated to the American buying teams how Twoey’s unique product design and manufacturing quality is what makes Twoey products stand out from the rest. What great response and feedback we had. They loved them, and went from taking a few products to wanting prices across the whole range. WOW!
“Having only recently joined Twoey the thought of meetings in the UK was pretty daunting, let alone outside the UK! However, both German and American companies we met with were very encouraging, patient and easy to talk to — even with the language barrier. The German company we have recently received an order from, are so easy to communicate with and work with, it is very refreshing. I can’t wait to work with them more in the future!” Jess Doherty, Sales and Marketing Co-ordinator at Twoey
Pricing, stock, shipping…?
It’s complicated, lets just say that. We are currently calculating pricing in euros and dollars, whilst allowing for exchange rate fluctuations. In addition, how will we supply export orders…should we ship direct or use a fulfilment centre to hold stock and ship our products? It’s quite involved and complex, but it’s exciting too. We could soon be supplying to German schools, along with schools across the East coast of America. And that’s a very, very exciting prospect!
Any advice from Team Twoey to other new exporters?
“We were told by fellow UK suppliers, that we had to visit companies to forge export relationships, and that exhibiting at trade fairs just wasn’t enough. They were right, you do! You have to visit, probably more than once. But that is what business is about, wherever in the world you want to trade, building new relationships, face to face, and to do that you have to be prepared to travel.” Johanne Miller, Twoey Managing Director
Twoey are just at the start of a hopefully long, and prosperous export journey. We still have lots to learn and a sharp learning curve ahead. In Cumbria, we have such a great team who are enthusiastic, committed and determined to grow the business, nationally and internationally. And with that commitment and drive, watch out world here we come!