A number of North East businesses visited the renowned international lifestyle trade show, Maison & Objet, in Paris, as part of a Northern Powerhouse trade mission to explore export opportunities.
Organised by the Department for International Trade (DIT), the mission saw 15 of the region’s businesses meet prospective importers, distributors and buyers from across the globe.
The biannual four-day event is the flagship international event for the home decor, interior design, architecture and culture sectors. Businesses from the North East met with agents; attended workshops and seminars on doing business in France; and visited Parisian boutiques and department stores to gather insight into doing business in the country.
For Saltburn-based Light Up North, a specialist in El neon wire wall art designs, the event was an opportunity to network with like-minded North East businesses, to make new global contacts and to learn about the practicalities of exporting.
Emma Krause, Co-Founder at Light Up North, said:
“Social media is a key sales driver for us, and over the last two years we’ve built up a worldwide fanbase, so we know that there’s a massive potential to sell our creations in overseas markets.
“We jumped at the chance to visit Maison & Objet with DIT. It was a money-can’t-buy experience to attend a world-famous event. I’d learnt so much about exporting from the other businesses on the trip before I’d even got on the plane!
“In the next year we’re looking forward to working with the contacts that we made at the trade show to grow our exports. DIT will play a big role in helping us on this journey too. They’ve already been invaluable in helping us to nurture relationships with buyers and to increase international sales.”
David Coppock, Regional Director for the North East at the Department for International Trade, added:
“This trade mission was a great opportunity for businesses across the Northern Powerhouse to learn about a new marketplace, meet with specialists and more importantly, build networks and speak face-to-face with valuable contacts.
“In the 12 months to September 2017, businesses in the North East saw goods exports increase by 8.4% to £12.7bn.
“We know exporting to new markets is not without its barriers, but we have a team of 19 dedicated advisers in the North East, ready to work with businesses to overcome these. Anyone thinking of exporting to new marketplaces should get in touch and find out more about how we can help.”
As part of its Exporting is GREAT campaign, DIT is currently showcasing 30+ UK businesses – from a range of sectors and regions – to inspire and support firms up and down the country to export.
Businesses looking for support should ring 0300 365 1000 or email [email protected] They can also visit great.gov.uk, which has more than 1,600 live export opportunities currently listed and includes general information on exporting and events.