MARK/GIUSTI started in 2009, the brainchild of accessories designers and entrepreneurs Mark Farhat and Tiziano Giusti. Dedicated to the production of luxury bags and leather accessories, with a focus on Italian craftsmanship, the brand started trading in the United Kingdom in 2010, and is now exporting to seventeen countries.
How did MARK/GIUSTI achieve international expansion and success so quickly?
Passport to Export
MARK/GIUSTI started trading solely in the UK, then branched out to Paris. About a year after they set up, they applied to take part in Passport to Export, a programme set up by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).
“The UKTI website has a lot of resources, but we needed specialist advice that was targeted to our business,” say the duo.
“We were assigned an International Trade Adviser (ITA) who helped us through the stages of exporting. Being able to pick up the phone and ask someone for specific advice has saved us a lot of time.
“Besides helping us to plan a 12-month export strategy, our Adviser also forwarded our business details on to other UKTI offices abroad, just in case they heard of anyone looking to source bags and other leather goods from the UK.
“Our ITA also referred us to a UKTI trade mission. Once accepted, we travelled with other UK companies to Japan for a three-day showcase for fashion businesses. Held at the British Embassy in Japan, the event was attended by high-profile buyers as well as the press. UKTI helped us to present our collection, and we signed up as suppliers to United Arrows, a prestigious concept store with branches throughout the country.
“Since then, we’ve also been on UKTI trade missions to Denmark, Turkey and the UAE (Abu Dhabi and Dubai). It’s a lot of work knowing how to start exporting to a country, and even then, there may be issues that you’re not aware of without the relevant experience. UKTI has staff in countries all over the world, which makes them the best people to advise us on exporting to those countries.
Saving on Currency Costs
“We’ve come a long way from trading in Kensington, London to expanding to countries all over the world. Exporting to so many different countries means that we need to save on currency costs when purchasing supplies, bringing profits back to the UK.
“We learnt about Smart Currency Business through the United Kingdom Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT), whom they work closely with. Working with Smart Currency is easy. There’s no need to go to the bank or constantly sign mountains of paperwork, which allows us to focus on other aspects of running our business. The team at Smart Currency understand how fashion companies work and what we require – and they’re easy to get along with, too.
“We now export to countries as diverse as South Korea, Nigeria, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Venezuela, Turkey, the US, the UAE, France, Italy, Spain, Norway, Hong Kong, China, Vietnam and Taiwan – thanks to UKTI. We’re proud that we’ve achieved our initial milestones, but this is where it gets more exciting: in some ways, the journey has just begun.”
For more information, get in touch with the team at Smart Currency Business, contact us on 020 7898 0500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org