PROSPER MAGAZINE: DIGITAL EDITION
EXPORTING JOURNEYS: THREE CASE STUDIES
SELLING CAKES FROM THE BLACK COUNTRY ACROSS THE WORLD
Perfection Foods Ltd was established in 2000 by brothers Sukhdev and Balwinder Singh Bath. The brothers bought over 30 years of experience in the industry, Balwinder with his extensive baking knowledge, having worked with his father from a young age in many bakeries including Harvestime Bakery in Walsall, whilst Sukhdev, bought his business knowledge, gained during the time working in markets, high street retail shops and a factory producing fabrics and garments.
In 2000 the brothers joined forces to begin manufacturing a range of handmade and decorated cakes.
Starting with just 4.500 square ft of factory space, baking high-quality cakes and supplying small independent retailers in the local area of Wednesbury and Walsall, the business soon grew and began to supply products to wholesalers across the West Midlands.
In 2006 the business expanded and won contracts to supply national wholesalers including Makro, Batleys and Bestways, plus major retailers such as Asda & Morrison’s.
Sukhdev’s three sons joined the business after graduating from University, bringing new innovative ideas and methods with them, and building on the success generated by their father and uncle.
Their export journey started in 2006 when Sukhdev’s eldest son Gurdeep began to look at sales opportunities overseas.
“I undertook research and forged links with potential customers to get an understanding for the demand in our products, Gurdeep told Prosper, “I developed an export plan to strategically launch our range of cakes in six international markets, including Central and Southern Europe and Scandinavia.”
The plan was the result of careful and meticulous planning with the help of their International Trade Advisor and led to one of the largest export pushes the Black Country had seen for many years.
As a result, Perfection Foods received an unprecedented level of local and national media attention and won several regional and national awards in the export market.
Building on this success, the company continues to promote its products and grow its sales in countries across the world.
Working with their Black Country-based, International Trade Advisor, Heather Crocker from the Department for International Trade (DIT), Perfection Foods Export Director Gurdeep, has developed and evolved their export strategy.
They have travelled the world visiting trade shows in a number of countries including Germany, Dubai and the USA, promoting their delicious range of cake products.
Heather meanwhile has helped Gurdeep connect with potential buyers and importers through ‘Meet The Buyer’ events and one to one introductions from DIT Overseas Commercial Officers, who have opened doors and helped to secure new business wins and overseas export orders.
Perfection Foods have also received grant funding which has enabled them to exhibit at trade shows both overseas and IFE here in the UK, In the last year alone, the company has secured over half a million pounds worth of orders from introductions to buyers in the Middle East.
Gurdeep said, “It is important to do your research, understand what customers want, adapt to meet the demand for different tastes and changing requirements. We did this by visiting different markets and developing a network of contacts.
“As a business, we have diversified and invested in sites and machinery to expand production, to offer traditional high-quality hand-finished products and to meet changing dietary requirements including Gluten-Free, Vegan, Sugar-Free and Eggless cakes.”
Perfection Foods now sells products into 42 markets across the world with a diverse customer base, from the individual customer who orders a tailormade cake online to major retailers, coffee shops and foodservice sector.
Gurdeep said, “The support from Heather Crocker and Hari Rai, Complex Markets Advisor, and their colleagues based in Embassies around the world, has been key to finding potential buyers and importers overseas, as well as identifying funding support for our travel and exhibitions at trade shows across the world.”
SUPPORTING TAMAAR SKINCARE ON THEIR EXPORT JOURNEY
A clear product proposition and sustainable ethics ensure export success for Wolverhampton skincare brand TAMAAR.
Tamaar Skincare is a premium, innovative natural and organic skincare range. It was founded by Nav Kaur, a qualified pharmacist, after encountering many people seeking out alternative methods to treat their skin conditions. Her vision was to create a skincare brand that was gentle to your skin, rich in natural scientifically proven ingredients and accessible to others around the world.
Nav told Prosper, “I began by researching common skincare conditions – acne, hyperpigmentation, ageing and eczema – studying ingredients used traditionally for centuries around the world, to innovative high-tech natural ingredients that have recently gained recognition.
Over time I identified the power of natural plant extracts, and newer biotechnological complexes, that have been shown to be equal to, or in some cases more effective than, traditional gold standard products that contain harsh synthetic ingredients.”
Sustainability is also an important driver for Nav who uses ingredients from biotechnology that aim to reduce vast amounts of farmlands to cultivate ingredients. In addition, all their products are approved by the Vegetarian Society or Soil Association COSMOS Organic UK and their partnership with social enterprise B1G1 (Singapore), helps them to plant a tree for every product sold.
Exporting was always a key element in Nav’s growth strategy, particularly as her own cultural background had influenced many of the traditional ingredients, including Turmeric, Tamarind and Holy Basil (Tulsi) and all of her face creams come with Climate Responsive Technology that automatically adapts to the environment, so the creams do not feel heavy in hot or humid conditions.
Nav initially approached DIT for support through the website after seeking support from the e-exporting team to connect with overseas marketplaces. She was then directed through to a local ITA for further support in developing an export action plan, connecting with overseas opportunities and advice from the local digital trade adviser.
With DIT’s support in showcasing the range to prospective buyers at a Meet the Buyer event in Slovakia, Nav was able to sign up her first overseas distributor, who have already placed a second order after their initial sales success.
She is now working with her International Trade Advisor, Jayne Shields based at the Black Country Chamber, and the team in India to connect with potential distributors to develop her brand there, as well as to identify other key markets for future development.
Talking about the support from DIT, Nav said, “The support from Jayne and the wider DIT team has been vital in securing contracts overseas, as well as raising the credibility of our brand.
The support and insight from the e-exporting team on different platforms, and providing our contacts to the relevant partners, makes a huge difference and speeds up onboarding processes compared to contacting them directly.”
ROYAL BRUSH MANUFACTURING:
CRADLEY HEATH COMPANY RELISHING SUPPORT FROM DIT
Prosper spoke to one International Sales Manager about his timely arrival into the job.
“With incredible timing, I took on my new role at Royal Brush on the 1st May,” International Sales Manager, Andy Bennett told Prosper.
“Almost exactly in the middle of the ‘big lockdown, which of course created many challenges; not being able to spend time with the team, getting to know a huge product range and of course reaching out to clients,” Andy said.
“It did, however, offer ‘the gift of time’ and keeping a structured approach to every day was critical.
“With some of the day-to-day pressures removed, it became possible to take an in-depth look at the role, the business and the market and create a strategic plan,” he said.
“I decided to look at where our brand may not be performing, identify customer case studies and explore the best practices we can take from our most successful customers.
“And by asking how we can reorganise, refocus, re-energise and be ready to embrace the opportunity of the world coming back to some kind of normality?”
Andy continued, “While we are fortunate that our products remain in great demand as consumers looked to follow hobbies and learn new pastimes, it was clear that we needed to adapt and think again about how we approach our business.
“As with many businesses, home working and online meetings have replaced physical travel and face to face.
“A combination of MS Teams, Zoom and Google Meets have maintained contact and I think if we are honest, they have improved customer contacts.
“While many say that relationships cannot be built online, I’ve met so many of my clients’ families, pets, and in one case, even a parrot! And I feel we are closer than we may ever have become in a corporate environment.
“Where new markets were sought, simply learning to use LinkedIn to research and meet new contacts has been invaluable. I have finally made the switch from pen and notebooks to using OneNote - I’ve never been more organised!
“However, my very first call on joining the business was to the Department for International Trade,” Andy said.
“Working together throughout this challenging time has been made easier by the fantastic support the business has received – with a focus on re-energising and strengthening our business foundations.
“In just a few weeks, we’ve worked together to find a new freight forwarder, completely reviewed our websites and content, and have received help to find a translator for a new German contract, won through using the online tools on our new look website.
“The future is going to be challenging, without doubt,” concluded Andy.
“We talk about a world in which there is a ‘new normal’, but we have to embrace the change, use the technology to get closer to customers, reduce overheads and research new opportunities, and personally I would implore companies to take the time to meet their local DIT advisors, they have a wealth of information, contacts and opportunities that can only make that future brighter.”