In the quaint village of Canon Pyon, Herefordshire, is a family-owned business that has found global success with its innovative products. Gill and Alan Dickson and their sons run Pyon Products – a company specialising in products that keep newborn calves and lambs warm and safe.
The company is now four years old, but co-founder Alan says: “In the last two years we seem to be really motoring forward.” The key to Pyon Products’ newfound success? Exporting.
The brainwave that helped create Heatwave
Gill and Alan have worked successfully in the animal health and nutrition industry for over 25 years. They set up Pyon Products after a kitchen table discussion about the difficulties of rearing calves in cold weather.
Having looked after thousands of calves, Gill saw the evidence first hand to suggest that a diet of warm milk in the first eight weeks of a calf’s life is highly beneficial. She also found research from Northern Europe and America that suggested warm milk in particular ‘switches on’ genes that protect against disease.
Inspired by the family discussion, eldest son James (a mechanical engineer and product designer) worked with Cotswold Dairy Equipment to design Heatwave. A simple, reliable machine that can be used all year round to convert cold milk into warm on demand. Perfect for a newborn calf.
The product launch that led to global success
In 2015 the Heatwave milk warmer was launched, winning the RABDF Livestock Machinery & Equipment award. The success around their first product led to them developing solutions for other common farming problems.
Following this success, Gill and Alan saw a demand for a good hygienic product to warm up hypothermic lambs. Inspired by their time rearing pedigree sheep in the 1990s, the family then developed the Frisky Lamb Warmer.
Soon they were getting enquiries from international farmers, which led Alan to the DIT website. He says: “When we saw the DIT website, we knew straightaway there was potential there.”
Next stop New Zealand, then the world
From Sweden to Australia, the Pyon Products range can be found across the world and this year the team are excited to be heading to New Zealand.
Alan says: “Quite simply, without the support of DIT and grant aid, we wouldn’t be going to New Zealand to launch our products and scope out distributors. DIT’s programme helped us to identify the easiest markets to tackle. Because of this, 25% of our business now comes from exports.”
Pyon’s advice for future exporters
Alan and Gill’s advice for business owners starting their export journey is simple – pick up the phone and talk to DIT. Alan says: “It’s great to have someone in the background you can ring up for advice. Just knowing you’re getting the right information and you’re on the right track is very helpful.”
Are you inspired to go global?
From a chat around the kitchen table to launching their product globally, Pyon Products’ journey shows that exporting can work for every type of business. To get advice on selling your products internationally, get in touch with our friendly team.
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