A Bath-based toy maker has now established itself in the US market with its educational toys expected to generate £350,000 in sales over the next five years.
Buddy & Barney was founded in 2016 by Jeremy Boreham who had worked in the toy and publishing industry for over two decades. Jeremy named the family-run operation after his two children, who act as chief product testers, with his wife Ling joining the team two years ago.
The business’s educational toys and books educate and engage children whilst nurturing their development. Since 2017, Buddy & Barney has received support from the Department for International Trade (DIT), including funding to attend trade shows overseas, such as the Nuremberg International Toy Fair in 2019 and 2020.
These events enabled the business to establish important relationships in several countries, and now exporting accounts for 60% of Buddy & Barney’s total sales after a growth of 35% in the last year with the US quickly becoming one of its key markets.
Buddy & Barney Owner Jeremy Boreham, said: “The past few months have definitely been challenging for us. In the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic, our business almost completely shut down.
“However, we have seen increased sales to the US post-lockdown, particularly through e-commerce which we are currently looking to grow further. We have also used this time to develop new products and are now really excited to take these to our retail partners overseas.
“Without the important connections forged through trade fairs, supported by the Department for International Trade funding, we might not have gained footholds in these crucial markets.”
Still only in its fourth year, Buddy & Barney’s international expansion has already taken its toys to the other side of the world, with the business securing deals with large retailers in Australia and New Zealand in 2019.
With its busiest season yet to come, as preparations begin for Christmas orders, Buddy & Barney toys will also be on shop shelves in Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa and across Europe.
In 2019 the UK exported £46.1m worth of toys to the US, an increase of 11% on the previous year, and 7% of the UK’s total toy exports.
Exports Minister Graham Stuart, said: “Buddy & Barney’s fantastic success in the US demonstrates the strong demand for high-quality UK goods overseas, and it’s fantastic to see them thriving and helping to educate children all over the world.
“Trade will play a vital role in our economic recovery and businesses like Buddy & Barney are a great example of how British SMEs can benefit from increased export opportunities, which ongoing US negotiations aim to create.”