Onesie manufacturer The All-in-One Company has plans to expand its presence in Germany by creating a new website.
The comfy clothing specialists have sold more than 50,000 onesies since the firm was established by Kate Dawson six years, with orders coming in from more than 100 countries and territories across the globe.
The Ashington-based firm has customers from Andorra to Uzbekistan, but the firm’s largest markets are in the UK, US, Australia and Germany.
With the help of Northumberland Business Service Ltd (NBSL), it is creating a German version of its website, while UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) has also been lending advice on how to develop its business overseas.
“Germany’s our fourth biggest market – behind the UK, Australia and the United States – so it makes sense to launch our first non-English language website there,” said Mrs Dawson.
“Over the past few decades the UK’s fashion industry has suffered a devastating decline because of cheap, and in many cases, low quality imports.
“We’re doing our best to turn that around by producing a high quality product, made by hand here and available to anybody anywhere in the world.”
When Mrs Dawson launched the company she looked after customer services, marketing, inspection and packing and had just one cutter and two machinists.
Since then the firm has grown to employee more than 20 people, with turnover topping £1.2m for 2012/2013.
She said: “I couldn’t find fleece sleepsuits for my children, so decided to set up a company where you could design your own and have them hand made to order in the UK.
“The aim was to make 25 suits per month. We sold 25 a day as soon as the website went live! I am very proud of the business and the team.
“We have been through high growth and market saturation and are still standing firm on our values and beliefs which have made us the company that we are – unique and market leaders.”
Looking ahead, the firm is looking to grow its global appeal, increasing overseas sales from its current ratio of 20% of all turnover.
Mrs Dawson is also focussed on growing the business-to-business work, which will hopefully mean new recruits joining the firm as well as an increase in turnover to £1.75m within five years.
She said: “Having just partnered with Weetabix brand Ready Brek we are keen to grow the B2B side of the business as we can offer companies some unique marketing opportunities.
“We’re constantly looking for ways to introduce new products and increase sales at different times of the year.
“As soon as it gets cold or snows we are inundated with orders. So the January to March season is always good for us. Our sales peak in Australia in our summer – their winter - but Christmas is by far the busiest time for us.
“Sales can be five times as much in the lead up to Christmas than they are for the rest of the year, so staffing in the past has been an issue.”
The All-in-One Company is one of a handful of North East firms that has spearheaded the return of the rag trade to the region, after it was decimated by off-shoring in the 1990s.
Mrs Dawson believes this resurgence can be maintained, so long as we are unique and don’t try to compete with the cheaper products made abroad.
She added: “There is a lot of support for businesses here in the North East, along with a fantastic work force with the ‘I can’ mind-set and community spirit and a strong sense of ‘team’. All of these factors together create a winning situation for each entrepreneur to take their ideas and turn them into reality.”