Articulate, a company which produces and sells specialist picture frames, has been trading since 2007 and exporting since 2013. In the last three years, the company has seen its products sell as far and wide as Europe, the USA and Asia. Colin Gilchrist tells BQ about how the company got started in exporting.
Founders Colin Gilchrist & Eona Craig came up with the idea for The Articulate Gallery a slot-sided picture frame especially for the display of 2D and 3D children’s artwork, back in 2007. The range of products have proven particularly popular in the USA.
Eona Craig said: "Colin won an OMIS report as part of a growth for export prize from the UKTI and decided that the US market was attractive due to the lack of language barrier so we carried out the report there and got started."
The duo received support to help them break into overseas markets, Colin told BQ: "We got funding from the Tradeshow Access Programme which allowed us to exhibit at foreign trade shows and without which we could not have attended."
Now, Articulate exports to USA, Sweden, Holland, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Latvia, Poland and Singapore. Eona said: "We export The Articulate Gallery directly from China to the USA and through distributors from the UK through Germany and the Benelux region. Amazon have made the frames available in 26 European countries."
Despite exporting to such a wide range of countries, the company says Invoicing has always been the easiest part of trading internationally, while setting up a foreign company complete with premises, bank account and distribution centre has been the most challenging aspect.
Regardless of challenges they have faced along their journey, the pair encourage other businesses to take the plunge and start exporting. Their advice is to "Do the research, think is there a market? How do you approach it? and is it financially viable? Then just do it!"
In the next five years, Articulate hopes to delve deeper into the US and Eurpoean markets they already export to. Eona explained, "We’ve not scratched the surface of the potential that the US and EU markets hold, we should be able to add a couple of zeros on to the end of the current trading figures before expanding into new markets.
"China would be attractive as it is where we manufacture and there is less shipping cost of reaching it."
Exporting and international trade remain high on the Scottish Government’s economic growth agenda and the Scottish Export Awards, in association with Scottish Enterprise, are about recognising the excellence in those emerging, wealth creating companies that are selling their products, services and expertise in scores of overseas markets.
To book your ticket for the awards, click here.
The PD Ports Northern Powerhouse Export Awards are about recognising the excellence in those emerging, wealth creating companies that are selling their products, services and expertise in scores of overseas markets.
Click here to nominate and for event information.