A family run men’s grooming and shaving products business from Staffordshire is cutting it in international markets with help from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).
The Shavedoctor of Little Haywood, Stafford specialises in products for men with sensitive skin, or who consistently experience shaving rash, razor burn and ingrown hairs.
In August last year, the firm decided to focus seriously on exports. Shavedoctor started working with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and quickly joined UKTI’s Passport to Export Programme for new exporters. In just six months, the firm’s exports have gone from 5% to 55% of annual turnover.
In October 2013, the firm launched its products in 80 retail stores in Australia. Now Shavedoctor is also exporting to Hong Kong, Canada, Poland, Scandinavia, Germany, Greece and Ireland and will shortly be supplying its range of products to 1,000 retailers across The Netherlands and Belgium.
The business supplying shaving products and wet shave training was set up in 2006 by husband and wife team, Mark and Geraldine Sproston. The pair spotted a gap in the market for a new brand of specialist shaving products after countless men told them they couldn’t shave, when really the problem was the products they were using and the technique. The firm soon realised the international sales potential of their lemon and tea tree oil shaving products and so began to sell online, but volumes remained low.
CEO Mark, who has been a mentor on the MTV reality show Beauty School Cop Outs says:
“The success in international markets has been fantastic and has seriously contributed to our bottom line. Thanks to funding through Passport to Export, we have been able to meet with a large retailer in Holland who would like to supply our products in more than 1,000 stores across The Netherlands and Belgium – we have a memo of understanding and are awaiting confirmation of the order this month.
The 44 year old father of two continues:
“Only last summer, our exports were a side line to our business, now they account for around 55% of our annual turnover. UKTI has helped us access funding for visits to meet with potential customers, attend trade missions, as well as provided advice and support on a whole range of export related matters. We have found our UKTI international trade adviser, Becky White extremely helpful and very sharp in business ideas. Not only does she advise on our export side of the business but has also proved extremely helpful with our UK markets too. She treats our business like it is her own and we have welcomed her into the Shavedoctor family.
“I would definitely encourage others to contact UKTI and target overseas markets to insure their business against the UK recession. We are now looking at employing one or two additional members of staff to cope with the workload.”
Becky White, UKTI International Trade Adviser says:
“Mark and Geraldine are passionate about what they do and their enthusiasm is infectious. They have had the courage to invest in their own formulations to create a product with a strong and appealing brand. Their hard work and commitment to growing exports has seen orders coming in from across the globe. By working with us at UKTI, we are able to formulate a focused export strategy that allows them to grow at the pace they need, while delivering the quality they demand.”