A Shropshire tannery that manufactures leather gardening products is aiming for new markets after winning new clients at a global trade show, thanks to the support from Department for International Trade (DIT) West Midlands.
Bridgnorth-based Bradley’s Tannery, founded by Bradley Burn in 1984, has seen exports grow from just five per cent 20 years ago to 85 per cent today. Bradley credits the recent upsurge in exports to the expert advice and support he received from DIT international trade advisors with helping him to expand his global reach.
Working with the Shropshire DIT team, he secured funding to attend the Ambiente Show in Frankfurt, the world’s biggest consumer goods show, in February 2017. Having already signed up at least a dozen new customers as a result of attending the show he is now following up leads from retailers in new markets overseas.
As National Gardening Week takes place this week and gardeners across the UK begin to tackle their outdoor spaces in earnest, Bradley said he hoped to continue growing his export market.

Bradley’s Tannery is one of a handful of British firms that curries leather to turn into a wide range of goods, such as bags, gloves and hats. Its gardening collection of gloves, secateurs pouches, arm protectors, aprons and tool carriers, is widely sold around the world, with Far East markets including Japan and Taiwan. Germany and Austria account for about 60 per cent of its European sales.
Bradley’s Tannery, which counts British royal houses, Selfridges and Liberty among its customers, prides itself on using only leather from the UK for its goods and employs six people at its Stanley Lane workshop, who handmake all the products.
Bradley said: “Our gardening products sell well overseas because they appreciate the hallmark of quality that comes with handmade British goods, and there’s no doubt that without DIT’s help, we wouldn’t be in the markets we are in today. We’ve been able to attend shows in USA, Canada and Japan, thanks to its financial help.
“As a very small, niche manufacturer, these are huge outlays but you have to be there, so having access to expert help and funding is vital if we are to compete with larger companies. Going to the Ambiente show not only gave us many new leads to pursue, we also signed up new customers, which is great.”
Richard Smith, head of the DIT international trade team in Shropshire, who has advised Bradley’s Tannery for a number of years, said: “It’s great news that Bradley has secured new customers and has other leads to pursue after the trade show in Germany. His is a very small Shropshire company that makes high quality goods for a number of niche markets, so the fact that it is stocked in retail stores around the world is something to be proud of. Our Exporting is GREAT campaign demonstrates to businesses that whatever their size, they can make their mark on the global stage.”
Companies interested in breaking into overseas markets and taking advantage of the global appetite for UK goods and services can visit the new online trade hub,, part of the Government’s Exporting is GREAT initiative. is a single digital destination for trade and investment, bringing together and connecting UK businesses, international buyers and international investors. Whether businesses are new, occasional or frequent exporters, they will be able to take advantage of the new suite of tools and exclusive deals on fees or commissions with some of the world’s leading online marketplaces.