Exporting success hits all the high notes

Exporting success hits all the high notes

A Birmingham company that makes colour-coded musical instruments to help young learners has secured two exporting contracts to the USA and Australia, and looks set to achieve £1m worth of overseas orders.

Shades CP develops musical instruments with colour coding to help children learn to skills such as guitar, ukulele, harmonica and violin playing.

Since winning an influx of new orders at the Nuremburg Toy Fair in Germany in January, the firm has seen a significant boost in overseas business, including attracting attention from the global shopping channel QVC.

The firm has also received an order from Modern Brands, one of Australia’s biggest retail distributers, which has signed up to take 10 of the company’s best selling products, with plans to increase orders over the next three years.

Despite trading for the last five years, the firm only beganits exporting journey last year in a bid to boost sales.

However, the decision has paid off, with Shapes CP recording growth from a turnover of approximately £100,000 two years ago to an expected £1m within the next 12 months.

Managing director Chris Poole thanks the support of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) for the firm’s recent success, after he received funding from  the Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) to attend the German toy fair.

“The business has been bubbling along for about five years but I decided that the time was right to start selling in the UK and overseas more seriously,” said Poole.

“If it wasn’t for the support of UKTI, I wouldn’t have gone to the Nuremburg Toy Fair, which has since led to a flurry of new orders in some potentially massive markets and the promise of new markets to approach.

“I’m sure that if I hadn’t have sought help, the business would either no longer exist or it would have taken us a very long time to achieve what we’ve done in the past few months. I’m very excited by what the future holds for the company.”

With the Shades CP’s projected growth, Chris, who also runs a music tuition business in Moseley, is hoping in the next 12 months to take on extra UK sales staff, sign up more overseas distributors and find a larger warehouse.

Mark Sankey, head of the international trade team in Birmingham, said : “Shades CP Ltd is the perfect example of what can be achieved in terms of export success, even as a very small company. 

“We are thrilled that our support so far has been a vital part in its overseas selling success and are looking forward to building on that to get its innovative products known across the world.

“As experts in export, we have the infrastructure available to any business that has ambitions to sell its goods and services overseas, regardless of its size.”



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