Double Dutch’s founders Raissa and Joyce De Haas
A London manufacturer of premium tonics and mixers is eyeing up new markets in the southern hemisphere after securing a new six-figure export contract with four major retailers in South Africa.
Marylebone’s Double Dutch Drinks, founded in 2015 by Dutch twins Raissa and Joyce De Haas, makes premium mixers ranging from traditional Indian tonic water to more unusual flavours such as pomegranate and basil.
After experiencing strong demand for its products in South Africa, the company has secured deals with Checkers, Pick & Pay, Makro and Spar supermarkets. It will launch initially in 170 Pick & Pay locations in the country, growing to almost 3,000 across all four retailers.
The company has also secured a manufacturing partner in Johannesburg to make and distribute all ten of its mixer varieties locally. This new production agreement will increase the company’s total manufacturing output by 20%.
Over the last three years, the company has been working closely with international trade advisers (ITAs) from the Department for International Trade (DIT) to develop its South African export strategy. A key part of the process has been meeting with other companies currently exporting to South Africa to exchange tips and tap into their knowledge.
ITAs have often been personally involved in exporting through businesses of their own. Based on the ground in each region of the UK, they provide free guidance and advice to businesses about all aspects of exporting – and can tap into the network of government staff and services in the UK and abroad to give businesses the best chance of exporting success.
Double Dutch is now looking to build on its South African success with expansion into the Chinese market, with continued support from DIT. The business attended the Food & Hotel China trade show in Shanghai earlier this month as part of a delegation of British food and drink producers.
Double Dutch currently exports to 25 countries, with overseas revenue accounting for 40% of its total annual turnover. The company is expecting to see this figure rise to 45% by the end of the calendar year.
DIT’s ongoing support comes as part of the Exporting is GREAT campaign, an initiative to encourage and inspire firms across the UK to export.
Raissa De Haas, co-founder, Double Dutch, said: “Right from the start, we recognised how important exporting would be to growing our business. We’re very proud that our drinks are now enjoyed across the world, from Australia to Canada.
“South Africa has lots of opportunities for us to go after, and we’re excited to have secured contracts with some of the country’s leading retailers. Having a production hub on the ground in South Africa means that we’ll be able to quickly and efficiently supply our South African partners, as well as give us a base from which to further grow our business by expanding into new markets nearby.
“We’ve worked with DIT since 2016 and its support has been invaluable. The team has helped us to identify partners and buyers around the world through their network of contacts, as well as helping us showcase our products at trade shows around the world, which has resulted in significant orders. Exporting isn’t always plain sailing, but there’s help available - if we can do it, your company can too.”
Parveen Thornhill, head of London region, Department for International Trade, said: “Double Dutch is a great example of an ambitious business that has made exporting a key part of its business strategy, and is now reaping the rewards.
“There is currently huge demand for British food and drink abroad, with edible exports from London alone totalling £2.9bn in the year to June 2018. To help firms across the city capitalise on this wealth of opportunity, we offer a wide range of support, including access to our network of expert ITAs. They can help businesses tackle everything from issues of logistics to customs and language. I’m urging anyone who is interested to get in touch.”
Michelle Ovens MBE, director of Small Business Saturday, said: “Across the UK, small businesses have provided their expertise and services to their own communities for generations. It is therefore great to see these local heroes looking overseas as another exciting route to consider. Businesses should not be restricted by size; small companies can trade overseas and offer as innovative ranges on their online platforms as the biggest corporations.
“This year’s Small Business Saturday falls on 1 December, with a whole range of small businesses – many of whom are already trailblazers in exporting their products abroad – hosting events and promotions to encourage people to shop local and support businesses in their communities. The UK’s 5.6 million small businesses are the heart of the UK economy, so having a day to showcase their contributions both at home and abroad is well deserved.”
Firms looking for support should call 020 7234 3000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also visit great.gov.uk, which has information on live export opportunities and includes general information on exporting and events.
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