Nigel Fulton of Fulton Umbrellas
British heritage brand Fulton Umbrellas is looking to increase its presence in the US after a successful year saw it further increase its market share.
Fulton Umbrellas reported another strong year of growth last year despite falling UK retail sales and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
The London-based company, which holds a Royal Warrant to manufacture umbrellas for Her Majesty the Queen, also saw export sales soar, boosted by the weakening of the pound.
The company is now looking forward to another strong year in 2018 as it looks to continue growing its market share and appoint a distributor in the USA.
“Last year was undoubtedly quite challenging for UK retail in general,” CEO Nigel Fulton told BQ.
“However, despite this, and the extremely low rainfall levels, our share of the UK market continued to increase while our export markets also performed ahead of expectations.”
The company’s growth last year was boosted by a number of client wins which saw it clinch contracts to supply umbrellas to the likes of Argos and Shop Direct.
Fulton also bagged a number of new clients for its manufacturing arm which saw it manufacture umbrellas for the likes of Barbour, Fat Face and Wimbledon.
Nigel added: “Within the UK, we focused on further developing new business channels which led to new customer acquisitions including Argos, Shop Direct, TM Lewin, Hobbs, Dorothy Perkins, Fat Face, Wimbledon and Barbour amongst others.
“Internationally, our drive to establish brand presence in our new and emerging markets also continued to be a priority, and our exports within Japan and China grew considerably as a result of this.
“Looking forward, we have a number of exciting plans in place as we look towards 2018 and beyond. From a new product perspective, we are designing our most luxurious range of umbrellas to date, using the finest quality materials available; I can’t say much more at the stage, but watch this space!
“Looking at wider business opportunities, we are continuing to expand our UK business, particularly in non-retails areas, while we are also looking to expand internationally by establishing a US distributor.”
Nigel also believes Fulton’s growth is reflective of the wider fashion and manufacturing industries. He concluded: “I think we are aligned with the wider industry; most of the successful businesses I know are continuously looking for new opportunities, which is what we pride ourselves on.
“I also believe that many businesses have a positive outlook as they look towards the future. At a recent entrepreneur’s dinner hosted by Coutts, and despite the numerous press reports on the negative effects of Brexit, I was taken by the optimism, excitement and determination of all the people around the table, which was really fantastic to see.”