Garry Ogden: growing his business through export success

3 April 2014

When Garry Ogden acquired the family textile fibre manufacturing business Joseph Ogden Ltd, from his father and other directors in April 2000, it exported only between five and 10 per cent of its sales.

He changed the name of the business, based at Becks Mill, Keighley, Bradford, West Yorkshire, to Ogden Fibres Ltd, and today the new-look company exports  a greater value of sales than its entire turnover 14 years ago.

Garry, a We Are International export ambassador, is the fifth generation of his family to run the polyester and nylon manufacturing business which was established in 1878.

Since he took over, there has been transformation in the global textile market. All UK raw material manufacturers have closed and Ogden Fibres now imports and exports with the Americas, Europe, Middle East and the Far East.

Garry Ogden says: “In spite of the huge change in traditional markets, we’ve grown every year by concentrating on exports and we now also sell to China.

“We compete with huge multinational companies so we have to be able to offer fantastic service across the world with fewer resources than they have but, as a smaller operation, we are able to give closer attention to detail and great value.

“Exporting is the reason for our success and we continue to develop markets where we can add value to our customers.”

What advice would Garry give to new exporters? “It is crucial to spend a lot of time researching your target markets as this can avoid problems and delays later.

“Speak to as many successful exporters as you can and learn all you can. However, most important is to get on a plane for face-to-face meetings as you can find out about customer requirements and gain local knowledge.

“Finally, if you can, get a good local agent because this can make your life so much easier.”

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