Flying the flag with the help of UKTI
incognito mosquito repellent were invited out to Hong Kong last week to share a stand with the UKTI (United Kingdom Trade & Investment) who also arranged many meetings with potential distributors mainly in HK . Because the event was Natural Products Expo Asia, we also got a lot of interest throughout the region.
Although incognito spray is well known in Britain it is virtually unheard of in some countries that have a huge problem with mosquitoes and other insects. Thankfully the UKTI have given incognito a great deal of help to export incognito to where it is needed. We negotiated with UKTI in HK an OMIS (Overseas Marketing Introduction Service) in two parts: firstly a report on HK to establish if there was a market for a high end mosquito repellent and whether there were any restrictions for importing incognito; and if this was positive, part two, introductions to at least six potential distributors. The report was favourable, and included vital market statistics as well as details on all of the competition. So we knew HK was a perfect market for us, it was just a matter of when I could travel out and combine meetings with my other responsibilities in Asia (to keep our carbon footprint below zero we always combine work together so we don’t have to fly out multiple times).
At the event we met 12 potential HK distributors, one of whom said they take companies very seriously who have been introduced by UKTI. We also managed to pick up another distributor from the UK, The Health Store, who also exhibited at Expo Asia. We all found the event a big success.
All of the UKTI staff are incredibly helpful from our own ITA (International Travel Advisor to the Trade Commissioners there is a real “UK can do” attitude. Gone are the days of the civil service, job for life, paper shufflers! We get quality advice, for free, from business professionals who know what they are doing.
Previously we obtained an EMRS (Export Market Research Scheme) grant to work out the viability of entering the States. We knew this was a massive market and we had not got a clue how to enter it! From the moment we were awarded the money, we were forced to look at the market in a structured, focused way as opposed to a haphazard approach. We undertook all the OMIS research ourselves to keep costs down, which in hindsight might not have been the best idea –UKTI project an aura of substance and diplomacy when introducing your company abroad. However, we organized the Coast to Coast trip which included a visit to Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA. What became apparent was the complexity of the American market from regulation to extra tiers of distribution.
Therefore, after completing the reports –which are a company asset- we decided that we could not replicate the retail success in the UK and other markets in the USA. Had we gone there all guns blazing incognito would have been crippled. So now we are entering the market online only with the purchase of www.incognito.us which will be live by January 2012.