National Stationery Week is in full swing and recent statistics show that global demand for UK stationery is high as exports of British-made notebooks alone increased by 20.6% to £23.62m in 2018.
One stationery company riding the wave of this burgeoning overseas interest in high quality UK products is Cheshire-based Chase and Wonder, an independent stationery, home fragrance and gift brand.
Founded in 2010 by husband and wife designers David and Faye Aspinall, the company produces its range of gifts and accessories from a converted cowshed in the heart of rural England.
The company first approached the Department for International Trade (DIT) for support in 2014, and through an introduction made by the DIT team in Italy, secured an initial contract worth around £8000 for one of the country’s largest department stores.
Since this initial contact and having supplied its products to some of the world’s finest emporiums including Liberty of London, Fortnum and Mason, Harrods and John Lewis, international interest in Chase and Wonder’s stationary has gone from strength to strength with exporting now accounting for 45% of the business’ turnover.
David Aspinall, Co-founder at Chase and Wonder said:
Our products are full of British personality so exporting seemed like a logical step. It’s a big world out there, full of great opportunities and overseas sales have really helped us to grow as a company.
DIT provided a number of really useful resources for us, and I would certainly recommend their services to other businesses looking to explore opportunities to export.
The best thing is that their advice and expertise comes free of cost for the most part, and their international trade advisers are genuinely invested in making sure you succeed.
If we can export successfully, so can other independent UK companies.
Natalie Bain, DIT’s Head of Northern Powerhouse said:
It’s always rewarding to see a company like Chase and Wonder successfully exporting to every continent in the world after coming to us for advice and support five years ago.
“This serves as a perfect example of how a small independent business can find success in vibrant new markets, and it’s the passion of individuals like David and Faye that enables British brands to flourish overseas.
I have every confidence that a bright future awaits UK-made craft and stationery producers, and I encourage more British companies to consider exporting.
Businesses looking for support should visit great.gov.uk for more information.