Please provide a company background including when it was established, where it is located, how many staff you employ etc.
Zatchels can be best described as a UK leather goods manufacturer, we specialise in bags for women, men and kids and the company’s foundation is built on Fashion, Quality and Colour. The business was started just over four years ago by Brian Brady and Dean Clarke, on the back of the Dean and Brian’s combined 40 plus years in English shoe manufacturing they realised the skills they had honed at companies such as Dr Martens, Grenson and Cheaney where transferable and they started to make bags for other clients then started the Zatchels brand. All the products we make are handmade in our Leicestershire factory, in the heart of England. We use some of the oldest known saddlery skills and still use a machine that is over 100 years old to rivet the bags. We are so confident of our workmanship we offer a lifetime guarantee on all our products
We have around 70 employees, most of whom work in our Leicester city centre factory, we have Zatchels store staff in York and London’s Westfield Shopping Centre and have plans for several pop up shops.
Please provide an overview of the products and services offered and areas of specialisation.
As a UK leather goods manufacturer, we specialise in bags for women, men and kids. All the bags are made by hand in our Leicester Factory by expert craftspeople some with up to 40 years sewing experience.
How did you find out about emita and what benefits do you find the most valuable?
We were introduced via the UKTI’s passport to export programme, I found the Cracking the Dragon meeting very useful, with regards to understanding the Chinese business culture.
How long has your company been active in the export / import market and which countries do you currently trade with?
We have been exporting since we started via our transactional website www.zatchels.com and are currently exporting to about 80 countries. We also wholesale the brand via agents and distributors in China, Japan, Germany, Italy and Russia.
What made you decide to expand your business overseas?
It was a natural progression from the success we had in the UK
What has been your biggest exporting / importing challenge?
Finding the right partner to work with is very hard, as there are so many to choose from both good and bad.
What’s the most helpful piece of international trade advice you have received?
Make sure you do your research on the market and go in with at least some knowledge of the market place and who you are dealing with.
What does the future hold? Any particular markets you are looking to target next?
We are looking to expand the network of agents and distributors to include North America, Mexico, South Korea and the Middle East this year followed by expanding in to Europe and the Nordic markets in 2016/17. We are also active in the UKTI’s Cross Border Trade programme which is a great way to improve both margin and global footprint.