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FIRA and UK Trade & Investment successfully launch Furniture Export Hub
The Furniture Industry Research Association and UK Trade & Investment UKTI have successfully recently launched the FIRA Furniture Export Hub, an online reference hub for those within the furniture industry looking to export products or expertise to overseas markets.
The event, held at FIRA's Stevenage office, attracted a number of delegates from various organisations within the furniture industry and was very well received by those who attended.
The launch included a presentation by Robert Doak, International Trade Advisor for UKTI, who was heavily involved in the development of the Export Hub. He spoke on generating export opportunities and managing any initial risks.
"The world offers literally hundreds of export markets where there are exciting export opportunities for British firms that manufacture and sell furniture," he said. "However, exporting on the back of speculative assumptions often leads some firms to costly business failure; pre-qualification of markets and customers is a critical factor for success. UKTI has helped many thousands of businesses achieve global success, and we can do the same for your business."
The launch also included a case study from Viv Jebson, Managing Director of Sutcliffe Play, who spoke of her own experience of how a small British manufacturing business can enter international markets successfully. She provided delegates with extremely useful insights into how her company had tackled the issues of how to export and to which markets.
"Export has grown to be 20% of our business in recent years and we're delighted to be asked to share the successes and learnings of our international experience," she said. "As well as the more accessible markets within Europe, we also sell further afield into the USA, Australia, Japan and the Middle and Far East.
"It was an honour to be asked to share our experience with those who attended the Export Hub launch. I hope this new venture helps British furniture manufacturers to export with more confidence."
Inga Wells, Snr. Manager, Head of Marketing at FIRA International, whose initial idea it was to develop an online, Export Hub says: "It was very satisfying to see my idea of an easy-to-use, reference hub turned into a reality. The feedback from delegates was extremely encouraging.
"Exporting products and services overseas provides a new source of income for UK manufacturers, but it is often an avenue which is overlooked as it is perceived as being too complex. This site aims to collate the most pertinent information for furniture manufacturers all in one place, summarise key issues and signpost users should they require further practical support."
Through the FIRA Export Hub, understanding the exporting process will be simplified in order to help UK manufacturers make the most of opportunities to export products and services abroad.
Speaking of the Export Hub, Liz Basing, Regional Trade Director for the East of England said: "This is a really welcomed initiative and shows that FIRA recognises just how important export opportunities are to its membership nationally. The UK exported a billion pounds' worth of furniture last year, up by18% on the previous 12 months.
"A partnership like this, combining UKTI's export knowledge and FIRA's experience of the sector and ability to reach its members, looks set to be an extremely valuable resource for this industry and an example of leading practice that should encourage others."
The FIRA Furniture Export Hub website is now live. See it at:
2nd November 2012