Please provide a company background including when it was established, where it is located, how many staff you employ etc.
Jelly Products, established in 2006, is the company behind Loopwheels - shock-absorbing bicycle and wheelchair wheels. We are a tiny company of 4 people, based in North Nottinghamshire. Originally working from home in Eakring, we then moved to our Boughton office in 2012 when we started gearing up for transformation from a product design consultancy into a manufacturer of our own products.
Please provide an overview of the products and services offered and areas of specialisation.
In 2013 we launched our Loopwheels for folding bicycles on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter. Loopwheels are shock-absorbing wheels with integral suspension, designed for enhanced performance and greater comfort. We've just been nominated for Designs of the Year 2015, a prestigious international design award. Carbon composite springs replace conventional spokes, providing a suspension system that constantly adjusts to uneven terrain. Loopwheels are more comfortable than standard wheels: they absorb tiring vibration, as well as bumps and shocks. They’re extremely strong and durable, needing little or no maintenance.
This March we launch our Loopwheels for wheelchairs, which help the user push over uneven streets, soft ground and gravel paths, with less effort, and the carbon springs give you extra power to get up or down kerbs. With quick release axles and several sizes, Loopwheels fit most active wheelchairs.
How did you find out about emita and what benefits do you find the most valuable?
I heard about emita by searching online for export advice - and it was recommended to me almost immediately afterwards by East Midlands UKTI too. As a small company new to manufacturing and export, we need to learn fast! I've found the seminars incredibly useful over the past two years. The quality of the speakers is generally very high and there is plenty of relevant content which is directly applicable to my situation. The recent presentation by Mark Shaw on international brand identity was particularly enjoyable and useful.
How long has your company been active in the export / import market and which countries do you currently trade with?
Despite being a young company, we've been exporting right from the start. Because we launched our product on the international site Kickstarter, we immediately got orders from overseas and we have continued to export to customers in the USA, SE Asia (primarily Hong Kong and Singapore), and northern Europe.
What made you decide to expand your business overseas?
We got interest from end-users overseas right from the start - in fact, just 3 days after showing the wheels at our first bike show, in Bristol, we were featured on a big US bike blog, and this was before we'd even launched on the international site Kickstarter. We'd always decided to target an international audience because our 20 inch bicycle wheel is quite niche, but very innovative. We believed we could generate more interest internationally than in a conservative and highly price-sensitive UK market.
What has been your biggest exporting / importing challenge?
Starting with zero knowledge and experience was a big challenge! Our biggest headache initially was probably getting packaging and shipping right and finding affordable solutions for both these. But the world is a small place these days and there is a wealth of readily available support for businesses if you're not shy about asking.
What’s the most helpful piece of international trade advice you have received?
To take advice from other people who've done it before you. (I nearly said: don't reinvent the wheel. . .)
What does the future hold? Any particular markets you are looking to target next?
We're just starting to get some interest from Japan, and we're delighted to have been given the opportunity to showcase our Loopwheels at an Innovation is GREAT exhibition in Tokyo. Japan is a market we've always believed could be good for us, and we've been taking small steps towards it in the hope that one of the lines we throw out will deliver results in the long term.