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Sussex soap company soaks up £100k Japanese export win

Traditional bar soaps are enjoying a resurgence after the UK exported £378.4 million worth of soap last year.

As consumers across the globe become increasingly environmentally conscious, traditional bar soaps are making a resurgence. The UK exported £378.4 million worth of soap around the world in 2018.

One traditional English soap manufacturer based in Waldron, East Sussex is already tapping into this global demand having just secured a new export win in Japan estimated to be worth up to £100,000 a year.

Christina May was founded in 2000 after the co-founders discovered vintage soap moulds lying disused in a machinery workshop on a farm. The manufacturers make soaps from pure vegetable oils with the perfumes being made in England and designed specifically for its brand The English Soap Company.

The new deal was a combined result of the company attending trade shows in Hong Kong and Bologna with support from the Department for International Trade (DIT) and through continuous contact with its Asia-Pacific export manager. The contract is estimated to increase Christina May’s annual turnover by up to 3%.

Oliver Butts, Managing Director at Christina May said:

The prospect of exporting is exciting and perhaps a little daunting, but always fun and a great experience. The paperwork can be an issue in difficult markets which is why we focussed on the easier markets first to build up experience before exporting to the more challenging countries.

Exporting has also helped us to secure our business against the uncertainty of Brexit as we have diversified our market portfolio across the world so that the impact and any consequences are reduced.

I would recommend any business that is considering exporting to see how DIT can help. The department has supported us with grants to attend trade shows and just general advice which has allowed us to develop an expansive export strategy and find international success.

The family-run business located on a farm in the countryside just outside of Heathfield, employs 35 people and currently exports to over 34 markets including the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Taiwan and New Zealand. There is a strong demand for the company’s soaps in these countries due to affordability and appreciation for quality made British products, and the business plans to further expand its export markets to include the Middle East, India, South Korea and Indonesia.

With exporting currently accounting for over 55% of Christina May’s annual turnover which has grown from £800,000 to over £3 million over the last 7 years, exports have remained consistent during this time and has been a key driver of growth for the company.

Ben Raby, Head of Region – South East at DIT said:

DIT started supporting Christina May back in 2014 when the company approached us for advice, and it is really exciting to see just how much its exports have grown since that initial interaction.

The company is one of a growing number of British manufacturers – many of which are SMEs – that are driving British success in the multi-billion-pound soap market. Their global success is proof that there is strong overseas demand for quality made English products and that there has never been a better time to explore international markets than right now.

DIT has a network of expert International Trade Advisers on hand to help more businesses respond to this demand and navigate the entire exporting journey.

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Traditional bar soaps are enjoying a resurgence after the UK exported £378.4 million worth of soap last year.

£20 million export win for Liverpool supercar manufacturer

Liverpool-based supercar manufacturer Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) secures new export wins to Hong Kong and the United States.

Neill Briggs, Co-Founder of BAC with John Mahon, Director General for Exports at DIT.

  • Company has now exported cars to 37 different countries worldwide following support from the Department for International Trade
  • International Trade Secretary Liz Truss hails firm for putting “innovation from the Northern Powerhouse on the map.”

Liverpool-based supercar manufacturer Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) has secured new export wins to the United States and Hong Kong to the value of £20 million, following support from the Department for International Trade (DIT).

The company manufactures the world’s only road-legal, single-seat supercar, the BAC Mono, and launched a higher-powered, lighter, next-generation model – the BAC Mono R – in July 2019 to global acclaim.

Founded in 2009 by brothers Neill and Ian Briggs, the company has grown and now employs 30 members of staff, with dealership agreements in place in the USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Sweden and Mexico. In January 2017, DIT awarded BAC Export Champion status.

BAC strategically targeted the United States – the number one luxury goods market in the world – approaching potential dealers across the country. In 2019, the company signed two new dealership agreements with Manhattan Motorcars in New York and Tactical Fleet in Dallas.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, the hugely successful BAC Hong Kong contract was renewed with further Monos exported to the region and a number of Mono R supercars to follow.

The Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss MP, commented:

I’m absolutely delighted that DIT has helped BAC to hit the accelerator on its exports. This is a wonderful example of a UK company that is putting manufacturing and innovation from the Northern Powerhouse on the map.

The UK’s heritage in automotive and motorsports is a huge asset, and my department is working to shift our exports up a gear in this exciting and fast moving industry.

Neill Briggs, Director of Product Development at BAC Mono, commented:

These new export wins are a sign of how far we’ve come as a business in recent years and the immense work we’re doing with exports.

Our solid export strategy, fantastic team ethic, exemplary product and – of course – invaluable support from the DIT means we have the ultimate recipe for success overseas. We will continue to strive to put British manufacturing on the map for the foreseeable future.

Performance car manufacturing and motorsport contribute billions of pounds to the UK economy every year. According to research published by the Motorsport Industry Association, there are around 41,000 people employed in UK motorsport, of which 25,000 are engineers.

The sector is seeing rapid growth as global car manufacturers are increasingly turning to UK motorsports companies for help with the development of low carbon technology for road cars.

Motorsport Valley in the UK is the undisputed leader in global motorsport having a dominant role in Formula 1 and other international racing series. Home to some 4,500 design, precision and high-performance engineering companies, the motorsports sector is behind enormous levels of investment in R&D.

Over 25,000 highly skilled engineers work in Motorsport Valley, while 30 UK universities and over 140 colleges are now teaching about motorsport.

Liverpool-based supercar manufacturer Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) secures new export wins to Hong Kong and the United States. ]]>