Footstools Direct

Footstools Direct Ltd managing director, Andrew Lydon and Chamber International, international services manager, Lucy Jones, at the company’s headquarters in Leeds.

Yorkshire furniture manufacturer aims to double European exports despite Brexit

A Yorkshire bespoke furniture manufacturer is aiming to double its exports to Europe over the next 12 months as Britain prepares itself for Brexit negotiations.

Leeds-based Footstools Direct, which manufactures bespoke branded furniture and upholstered footstools, has turned to Chamber International to help it expand its European footprint.

The SME, which was founded in south Wales in 2007 and relocated to Leeds the following year, has a £150,000 turnover, three full-time staff and several part-time workers to cover busy periods.

As well as supplying businesses, often through interior designers and specifiers, Footstools Direct sells unbranded products to the public through an e-commerce website and has an additional brand.

Footstools 2U, its sister brand, supplies footstools and cube furniture through a well-known global website to customers in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Director, Andrew Lydon, said: “Our hand-crafted drum stools, seating cubes, benches and footstools, produced by craftsmen and women, have real appeal and potential in overseas markets and we are pleased with how we have built the business in a relatively short time.                                   

“The global website has been the springboard for export sales across Europe. We have negotiated preferential freight rates with logistics partners to deliver our products with two-to-three day lead times to both France and Germany, where we made our first overseas sale in 2011 and which accounts for 85 per cent of all our exports.

“Overseas sales currently account for five per cent of our turnover but we hope to double this in the next 12 months. Chamber International has huge expertise and a raft of experienced people it can call on for assistance. We’ve initially asked them to help create French and German language versions of our website and for overseas business contacts and details of relevant trade shows.”

 Lydon says European customers like Footstools’ in-house designed ‘Classical English Footstool’ manufactured in Leeds, which the company aims to develop at a competitive price with cost-effective export delivery and the product is likely to spearhead its European export drive.

Chamber International, international services manager, Lucy Jones, says “Well-made traditional products crafted by British manufacturers have wide export appeal and we look forward to working with overseas and industry contacts to help Footstools Direct develop sales in Europe.

“Small businesses like Footstools are right to press ahead with developing a European exports strategy now rather than waiting to see what trade arrangements are made with Brexit. Those that start to plan now will be best place when the UK leaves the EU.”

Chamber International helps hundreds of new and experienced exporters with a wide range of specialist services to make exporting easier and more cost effective each year and is exclusively partnered with London headquartered global testing organisation, Intertek, to assist with a wide range of issues including product conformity.