Exports unlock growth for Hull manufacturer

Export | Growth | Manufacturing | North East

A Hull-based family business is expanding its international reach after signing two new export deals in France and the Republic of Ireland, with support from the Department for International Trade (DIT).

GOH Trading manufactures whatlock, a magnetic safety locking system for domestic and commercial use. The business already exports to customers in Germany, Lebanon, Italy, Denmark and Romania.

Following an introduction from its Yorkshire-based DIT International Trade Adviser, the business has now secured its first sales agent in France, who will market whatlock to the French DIY, construction trade, nursery and general retail sectors.

This is in addition to a new deal in the Republic of Ireland with distributor M&E Supplies. The business was introduced to M&E Supplies at a DIT-run ‘Meet the Buyer’ event for the Irish construction and hardware sector earlier this year.

In the 12 months since launching a new version of whatlock last May, GOH Trading’s turnover has grown by 73%, with 50% of this growth attributed to international sales.

Plans are in place to more than treble turnover in the next three years as the firm continues to work with DIT to identify new opportunities, with deals anticipated in markets including Spain and the Czech Republic.

The whatlock product was invented 20 years ago by the father of GOH Trading’s managing director, Suzanne Hall. GOH Trading, a family business, was established in 2014 to take over whatlock’s distribution.

Suzanne Hall, managing director at GOH Trading, said:These new deals will open up outstanding opportunities for our business and will boost our performance in turn.

“We’ve enjoyed tremendous growth in recent months and we’re laying the foundations for further success by introducing new packaging designs and formats, and investing in our digital marketing, including translating our website into a number of common languages. We’ll also be visiting numerous new territories, including the United States, to widen our sales footprint.

“DIT has helped us meet new partners cost-effectively, which has been a real benefit for us as a small business. I’d encourage others to make the most of this support. If we can export, you can too.”

Mark Robson, Head of Region, Yorkshire & the Humber, at DIT, said: “GOH Trading has a product with global appeal, and has plans in place to further deliver on its international ambitions.

“Our region is home to a wealth of businesses offering products and services that are in strong demand overseas, and exporting can help them to become more profitable and resilient.

“Identifying overseas partners is just one example of how DIT can support those looking to start or grow their exports. Our team of local ITAs, along with our colleagues based in embassies and consulates around the world, can help local companies with everything from market research to local tax and labelling requirements. Anyone interested in seeing how we can help them make the most of opportunities overseas should get in touch with our team today.”

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