The British Hamper Company
A family-run food business in rural Lincolnshire is continuing to go from strength-to-strength after breaking into scores of overseas markets.
The British Hamper Company creates luxury food hampers made up of food sourced from Britain’s best artisan and independent producers and delivers them to customers across the globe.
The business creates gifts for all occasions, such as Birthday’s and Christmas and sources food specially selected from some of Britain’s best small independent producers.
It also specialises in providing a range of dietary specific hampers to cater for those on a gluten free or reduced sugar diet.
Husband and wife duo Mike and Liz Tod launched the business alongside their son James back in 2014 and operate from a series of converted Victorian barns in the idyllic Lincolnshire countryside.
The company is predominantly e-commerce led via its website www.britishhamper.com with customers ranging from individuals sending to their friends and family to businesses who send to their clients or colleagues overseas.
James told BQ: “Having lived in the countryside and met and worked with farmers who were diversifying into high quality food production as a family we were aware and immensely proud of the variety and quality of food being produced by Britain’s small artisan and independent producers which we felt deserved sharing with the rest of the world and so, with our shared passion for great food, British individuality and a love of gift giving, The British Hamper Company was born.”
The business was founded on the principles of providing high quality food, personable customer service and fast trackable delivery and for corporate customers the business further provides bespoke gift options, speedy bulk ordering and a simple no fuss ordering process handled by their dedicated corporate account advisors.
Due to the fact that it was an e-commerce business, the company had always planned to delve into exporting but the family were surprised at just how quick they managed to develop interest from overseas customers.
James added: “We have been exporting since our inception in 2014. Whilst living and working overseas I met many expats who reminisced about the food they missed from back home, from traditional strawberry jam to shortbread or good chocolate, which spurred us on to investigate overseas delivery options.
“The business was designed from inception to export and we received our first export orders when we began trading in May 2014 and continue to see an increasing interest from businesses and individuals overseas sending to their clients, friends or family to other parts of the world.
“The most exciting part of exporting for us is receiving orders from a business or individual living overseas who are sending to a recipient in another part of the world as we get to share with the world the wonderful delicacies created by small British producers.
“We now export our luxury gift hampers containing food sourced from Britain’s best artisan producers to over 50 countries worldwide. We export to the whole of the EU and outside the EU our largest markets include the USA, Canada, Australia and far east Asia including Japan, Singapore and South Korea to name a few.”
Two thirds of The British Hamper Company’s business now amounts to export orders and the business is continuing to grow its share of the market. However, despite their early success, exporting hasn’t come without its challenges for the family.
“Understanding the customs and excise import procedures for each country requires a lot of research and can be quite time consuming, however a sound understanding is paramount to ensuring our export customers are provided with a superb customer and product experience,” James says.
“As a positive customer experience is also key to our success we only commence exporting to countries once we have researched the import customs procedures and sent trial hampers to individuals within the country to ensure the route is achievable.
“To limit the issues, we may have communicating with overseas customs brokers or delivery drivers we ensure we only use large global couriers so that all communication can be made in English with one party.”
Researching their markets before selling to them has proved to really work for the family and has been pivotal to their success. Another boost for the company has been working with the Department for International Trade, who have worked with the company hand-in-hand throughout their export journey.
He added: “We have received support from the outset from our trade advisor, Dale Atkins, at the Department for International Trade (DIT). The advice provided by our trade advisor at the DIT was incredibly helpful and included advice on potential export markets as well as advise on worldwide e-commerce market place platforms and wholesale trade routes to market.”
In the space of just three years, The British Hamper Company has established itself as a solid exporting business and a real ambassador for British business and produce. And looking forward, James wants to keep building on the momentum they have already generated.
He said: “As a young business we’re busily expanding and continue to add to our product range for both the UK and overseas markets. We aim to begin exporting to more countries in the Middle East later this year and hope in five years’ time to have become the international gift delivery specialist known worldwide which couples high quality British food gifts with speedy international delivery and superb customer service.”
We also asked James what advice he would you give to someone just starting to explore overseas markets, to which he concluded: “In the first instance I would thoroughly recommend business’ get in touch with the DIT as their trade advisors will provide invaluable support with overseas market reports, export marketing advice and will highlight potential avenues for grant funding to develop export within the business.
“From our e-commerce experience I would strongly recommend e-commerce business’ aim to integrate any export paperwork within their order management systems to reduce admin time and to choose a single courier with a global network to reduce the chance of delays in delivery and ensure there is a single point of contact in the UK in case a delivery issue needs resolving.”