Home Business Awards & Achievements Bed maker in dreamland thanks to exporting

Bed maker in dreamland thanks to exporting

Paul Murphy, MD of Aspire Furniture, with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen

Aspire Furniture, a Barnsley-based furniture manufacturer that exports 100 beds a week, is predicting a 50% increase in turnover, thanks to support from the Department for International Trade (DIT).

The business builds and sells mattresses and frames to stockists including Tesco, Next, Dunelm and Wayfair.

Launched in 2013 as a distributor from the Managing Director’s kitchen table, the business quickly expanded. In 2017, it took over a 15,000sq ft factory after making the decision to start manufacturing its own products.

Last year, the business began to work with its International Trade Adviser from DIT when a German distributor contacted the company requesting samples of its products.


Paul Murphy, Managing Director of Aspire Furniture knew exporting was the next step for the business to maximise the company’s full growth potential but was unsure of the logistics of sending his products overseas.

Despite starting to trade abroad just two months ago, the business has already secured deals in Germany worth £6,000 a month and is planning to expand to the Middle East and double its current sales to the Republic of Ireland from 100 beds to a week to 200.

Thanks to its exporting success, the company is looking to add four new members of staff to its team of five and expects its turnover to increase £6m in 2019, an increase of 50%.

Paul said: “When we were approached by overseas distributors requesting samples, we turned to DIT for advice as we didn’t know how we could send something as big as a bed to another country. With DIT’s help we identified the best method of transportation, which meant we could work with new overseas customers and grow the business.

“Our website has also had a big part to play. Our customers check us out there first before approaching us, and we all know first impressions count. We’re also now making our site user friendly for the different overseas markets we operate in – updating for different languages and currencies.

“Exporting can seem daunting when you start but to have DIT there for support and advice has been invaluable. DIT also helped us with our invoicing and we will need some additional support with our accounts as the business grows. Our industry can be extremely competitive so I’m keen to grow our overseas trade and work with DIT to make this as easy as possible. If a bed company that started from a kitchen table can break into overseas markets, anyone can.”

Mark Robson, Head of Regions- Yorkshire and the Humber at the Department for International Trade, said: “Aspire Furniture is a business that started from humble beginnings yet just two months into its exporting journey, has secured already impressive contracts in Germany and Ireland.

“We have a team of International Trade Advisers dedicated to helping businesses across the region. Whether it’s their first time exporting or they’re looking to target new markets in new countries. We can also help with the logistic for businesses where products might be quite large or heavy.

“Anyone thinking that exporting could be for them should get in touch with our team today and see how we can help them in order for them to reach their growth potential.”