Exporting boost for TOFT

Exporting boost for TOFT

A Midlands knitwear and wool company has seen rapid growth in the last year thanks, in part, to an increase in export sales.

TOFT, which designs and manufactures alpaca, wool yarn and knitwear at its studio in Rugby, has seen overseas sales soar after it began working with an international trade adviser from the Department for International Trade (DIT) in Coventry.

Since venturing into the European market, the firm has seen its overseas sales rise by about £20,000.

 As well as participating in a number of export masterclasses, the company received funding from the DIT to attend the H+H Cologne show, the international craft show that takes place annually in Germany, in March.

It received further funding to enable it to take part in The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) Trade Show in Washington DC, USA, in May, where it won £20,000 worth of business, with more sales coming through since.

Christine Hamilton, interim regional director of the Department for International Trade West Midlands, said:

“Our export experts provide a huge range of support to businesses and by securing funding so TOFT could attend these key trade shows, we’ve helped this innovative and dynamic business grow globally.

“It’s great news to see a creative business from the West Midlands enjoying such success overseas and we continue to offer our advice and support so that it can achieve even greater heights.”

TOFT now has about 100 stockists across the continent – many of which are in Germany and the Netherlands – and translated the instructions on its crochet kits into 12 languages, including Japanese, Finnish and French.

Kerry Lord, who launched the company in 2006, said:“A lot of our new stockists and customers have come through the shows, which is great, and that’s down to the help our trade adviser gave us. It has meant we have been able to move into territories we weren’t in before.  We’re doing very well in the States, where we are selling direct as well as to trade.

“The trade arm of our business was virtually non-existent 12 months ago and it has boomed this year, with exports being a huge part of that. We’re particularly proud to be selling in Japan because the style of crochet in the kits – amigurumi – is Japanese.”


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