A Worcestershire jeweller who specialises in making glass beads is celebrating her first major order to New Zealand, thanks to support from the Department for International Trade (DIT).
Julie Fountain of Beach Art Glass in Malvern has said now she has completed her first strategic export, she firmly believes the future of her business is in overseas sales.
“My bead jewellery is inspired by the sea and beach, which means it’s very summery, she said. Because of that seasonality I knew I had to expand and reach different countries because it is summer at different times of the year, depending on where they are.”
Award-winning Julie, who founded her business in 2015, joined Malvern Small Business Forum in the hope of getting advice about starting to export. It is there she met an international trade adviser (ITA) from the Hereford and Worcester DIT team.
Since then, the jeweller has been supported as she sought export markets, with DIT identifying key markets and also providing advice regarding her website to ensure it is optimised and found easily.
Julie received funding that enabled her to have a DIT-supported stand at the 2017 Jewellery & Watch show in Birmingham, which is where she met a buyer from an independent store in Beachlands, near Auckland, New Zealand.
“It was an amazing opportunity for me to be able to exhibit at the fair because I couldn’t have afforded to have gone otherwise, she said. It enabled me to meet buyers from around the world, which is very exciting. I’ve just shipped my first big order to New Zealand, which is a huge deal for a small business like mine, and it has really boosted my confidence –I really believe that the future of my business is overseas. That’s where it should be and I’m grateful to DIT for helping me start exporting”.
Ian Harrison, director of exports for DIT Midlands, said: Our Exporting is GREAT campaign is for all businesses – whatever their size – so it’s really encouraging to see a micro-business such as Beach Art Glass making an early success of its exporting plans. As Julie has found out, we provide a huge range of support to companies wanting to trade overseas and that support is ongoing