International handbag entrepreneur has import costs cut with help from Chamber International

29 October 2018


An international handbag entrepreneur with a base in the UK has had her manufacturing import costs reduced thanks to help from overseas trade specialist, Chamber International.

Online handbag designer and manufacturer, Farah Asmar, who bases part of her business in London, gained advice and support from Chamber International in having samples of new handbag designs exported to her outsourced manufacturing facility in Istanbul where the leather used in the manufacturing originated.

Former graphic and fashion design student, Farah Asmar, who started her business from her home country of Jordan in 2011, approached Chamber International for specialist support on how to export the samples back to Turkey without incurring significant import costs.

Chamber International was able to help Farah Asmar as it is authorised to issue ATR1 certificates, which enable goods to gain tariff preferences on imports and exports between the EC and Turkey, on behalf of H.M Revenue & Customs. 

Farah Amsar, who also operates her business out of Amman,  says: “Thanks for Chamber International’s help, I managed to get the sample handbags into the country of origin without paying extra import duty as they were samples. This was very useful as it reduced my production costs enabling me to supply high-quality items at a competitive price.

“Chamber International was very helpful, made it easy to communicate and guided me through the whole process.”

Farah Asmar designs and manufactures her handbags using ethically-sourced leathers and exotic skins from calf leather and lamb to suede.

Her handbags, which range from clutches and totes to shoulder and cross-body designs to accompany their owners throughout the day, sell for between $350 to $800, mainly in The Middle East, but particularly the Gulf; the UK and US, with HM Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan among celebrity customers after being photographed carrying a Farah Asmar bag several times.

Farah, who employs only an operations manager and a part-time accountant and outsources her manufacturing, says: “I now operate between Amman, London and Istanbul, where the handbags are manufactured. I design all the styles myself and my Istanbul manufacturing team advises me on what’s best technically.

“The relationship between a woman and her handbag is always very strong. They are not only useful and practical but also attractive and give women confidence. My customers are generally people who are smart and want something unique, coupled with the high quality and the limited quantity I produce.

“We launch four or five new designs every season and reproduce and develop the best sellers.”

Orders from Farah Asmar’s website are fulfilled through the Istanbul manufacturer.

She says: “I’ve now got a presence on other high quality online platforms but my aim is to get into well-known UK retailers, such as Harrods and Selfridges, to help position my brand as a luxury one. I’m also hoping to go global and, if so, will be exporting and importing more regularly.” 

Chamber International director, Tim Bailey, says: “By going digital and opening  a ‘shop-online,’ a small supplier such as Farah Asmar, can become a global exporter with the click of a mouse. It’s another good example of how a small firm can access global opportunities through eCommerce.“

Chamber International helps hundreds of new and experienced exporters throughout the UK with a wide range of specialist services to make exporting easier and more cost effective.


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