Footstools asks Chamber International to take a seat and help its European export drive

26 July 2017


A Yorkshire bespoke furniture manufacturer has contracted overseas trade specialist, Chamber International, to help it double exports to Europe in the next 12 months.

Footstools Direct Ltd, Leeds, which manufactures bespoke branded furniture and upholstered footstools for events, exhibitions, retailers, bars and clubs, hotels and restaurants, already has customers throughout the UK and in Europe but has asked Chamber International to help grow its export trade. 

Footstools asks Chamber International to take a seat and help its European export drive

The small business, which was founded in south Wales in 2007 and relocated to Leeds the following year, has a £150,000 turnover, three full-time staff and several part-time workers to cover busy periods.

As well as supplying businesses, often through interior designers and specifiers, Footstools Direct Ltd sells unbranded products to the public through an e-commerce website and has an additional brand, Footstools 2U, supplying footstools and cube furniture through a well-known global website to customers in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Recent sales include to a major hotel group, a leading sportswear brand and the UK's second and third largest tour operators. The company has started work with Chamber International as Britain starts Brexit negotiations.

The company has initially asked Chamber International to boost is sales in continental Europe by finding different sales routes and  business and private customers, in addition to its platform on the global website.

Director, Andrew Lydon, says: “Our hand-crafted drum stools, seating cubes, benches and footstools, produced by craftsmen and women, have real appeal and potential in overseas markets and we are pleased with how we have built the business in a relatively short time.       

“The global website has been the springboard for export sales across Europe. We have negotiated preferential freight rates with logistics partners to deliver our products with two-to-three day lead times to both France and Germany, where we made our first overseas sale in 2011 and which accounts for 85 per cent of all our exports.

“Overseas sales currently account for five per cent of our turnover but we hope to double this in the next 12 months. Chamber International has huge expertise and a raft of experienced people it can call on for assistance. We’ve initially asked them to help create French and German language versions of our website and for overseas business contacts and details of relevant trade shows.”

Andrew Lydon says European customers like Footstools’ in-house designed ‘Classical English Footstool’ manufactured in Leeds, which the company aims to develop at a competitive price with cost-effective export delivery and the product is likely to spearhead its European export drive.

Chamber International, international services manager, Lucy Jones, says “Well-made traditional products crafted by British manufacturers have wide export appeal and we look forward to working with overseas and industry contacts to help Footstools Direct develop sales in Europe.

“Small businesses like Footstools are right to press ahead with developing a European exports strategy now rather than waiting to see what trade arrangements are made with Brexit. Those that start planning will be best place when the UK leaves the EU.”


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