The English Art Co. goes to Paris
"It's been a speedy start to the year and it's all been about export - DIT (Department of International Trade), Northern Powerhouse and Export Exchange - and making the most of the incredible, free, exporting resources available to SMEs. Last month, I took The English Art Co. on a taster trade mission to Paris, which was hosted by DIT as part Northern Powerhouse. It was a three day event packed with visits, seminars, networking and tours to help us understand the French culture, meet retailers, agents and distributors and see what trends and innovations are coming through.
Day One: A visit to the international lifestyle show MAISON&OBJET and meeting the team at BEDG (British European Design Group) who spent time with us and our businesses, supplying advice on exhibiting, grants and funding. We toured the exhibition (which was huge), meeting fellow British exhibitors and gaining inspiration.
Day Two: A visit to the British Embassy where we all pitched our businesses to the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce and partner businesses - all were very willing to advise and help. They explained the size of the French market, the positive effect of President Marcron and how he is reinvigorating France. They shared tips on various routes to market, the French culture and interesting facts - the French will spend on quality and luxury British product - and that there's a focus to buy from the creative industries in the UK. We networked over lunch with business partners, agents and distributors then visited retailers, galleries and concept stores (Empreintes La Marketplace des Metiers d'Art, Merci Merci, BHV Marais, and Fleux) and met managers and buyers to experience the retail culture within France. Apparently, there are many more indie boutiques in France than the UK.
Day Three: A workshop on social media and how to deliver an international social media plan. And then home.
Results? I’ve gained a huge insight into exporting into France and Northern Europe; I'm in the process of signing up a French distributor; I experienced the amazing Maison & Objet and all the design-led products; I met an incredible bunch of creatives from the north who are on this same journey, so collaborations are likely.
On top of all this invaluable knowledge and introductions, "Entrepreneurial Spark" was the buzz word too as two fellow alumni ESparkers from the Newcastle hub (PowderButterfly and Tilly and Blue) were also on the mission.
So that's a huge thanks to the team at DIT, Sue, Phil, Bev and Sam for organising such an informative, beneficial business trip. Also to Entrepreneurial Spark and it's resources, Dan and Natasha and to Victoria at Export Exchange, as without their mentoring, connections and introductions to the DIT and export community, we wouldn't have got there. You never know where this journey will take you..."
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- Pitching within The British Embassy to the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce and partners
- Confirming a French distributor who works with department stores, bookshops and museums
- Touring the various types of retailers
- Inpired by Merci and Empreintes La Marketplace des Metiers d'Art and the huge range of unique French crafts and arts
- Meeting all the other delegates from the creative industry in the North East