Woolly Shepherd makes noise in Europe with new exporting deal

Woolly Shepherd, an acoustics solutions firm, has tripled its sales in the Netherlands after securing a new contract with Zilenz.

The Wellington-based company, founded in 2011, makes products using natural fibres and British wool to treat noisy, reverberant rooms. The business currently exports its range of acoustic panels to eight countries including Austria, France and Italy. 

The business secured the initial contract with e-commerce retailer Zilenz in 2016 with support from advisers at the Department for International Trade (DIT) South West. Since then, the company has been able to triple their overseas sales. The Woolly Shepherd’s products will now be sold in the Netherlands and Belgium through the retailer. 

The Woolly Shepherd currently exports 15% of its products to Europe and is expecting to increase this to 25% in the next three years. 

DIT’s Exporting is GREAT campaign aims to help more businesses explore new markets overseas. The campaign is currently showcasing 30+ UK businesses – from a range of sectors and regions – to inspire and support firms up and down the country to export.

Tim Simmons, Managing Director at The Woolly Shepherd, said:

“We’ve come a long way since launching the business seven years ago. Starting with just two members of staff, we now employ eight people and export to many different countries.

“Exporting has always been an integral part of our growth plans. But, for a small business like ours, it can sometimes be hard to find the headspace to focus on international growth. Our trade advisers at DIT have supported us every time we’ve secured new orders in foreign markets. The team has provided clarity on business culture, import rates and regulations for each country we’ve targeted. 

“The U.S. is our next target and we’ve already received great advice from DIT on how to approach American buyers. The best tip I’d give to businesses looking to export would be to seek guidance from expert organisations to help navigate the process, particularly if you’re short on resources. If we can do it, so can many other local firms.” 

Paul Shand, Regional Director, Department for International Trade (DIT) South West, said:

“Demand for UK goods in the Netherlands is booming, making the opportunity for British businesses huge. It’s encouraging to see local companies like The Woolly Shepherd experience such success in the Netherlands, tripling its profits in the country in just 18 months.

“The Netherlands is a highly competitive market, which can make carving out a niche for your products more complicated. However, businesses should not be put off by this. Our 25 International Trade Advisers in the South West are here to help with the entire exporting process and I would encourage the region’s businesses to take advantage of support available via DIT.”

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