Cornish lifestyle brand Celtic and Co has received the Queen’s Award for International Trade.
The Newquay-based company, which launched in 1990, exports its products to over 90 different countries and has recently seen a significant boost in sales since growing its presence in the United States, Canada and Australia.
The brand’s recent focus has been on profitable growth and expanding its turnover by 5 – 10 per cent every year. To achieve this it focuses on a wide range of markets and opportunities rather than one market or territory. “A key part of this strategy is international growth,” says co-founder Nick Whitworth. “This is demonstrated by our growth from 1 per cent of total turnover being through exports in 2014/15 to 12 per cent in 2016/17.”
Wholesale is also a key growth area for the brand as it increases its network of stockists both in the UK and abroad. The company recently secured its first major trade customer in the US with a $44,000 order.
Celtic and Co’s success is also bringing benefits to the UK economy. Co-founder Kath Whitworth explains: “Currently our business model is to run all overseas operations from our UK-based head office. We utilise the knowledge and experience of our logistics partners to ensure that we are exporting goods in the most efficient and cost effective way. By operating in this way we are keeping employment opportunity and supplier partnerships in the UK – supporting our local economy.”
She adds: “As we grow our international business we will continually look at innovative ways to use natural fibres to create long lasting, timeless pieces that help transform us from a throwaway society into one that values sustainability. The manufacturing part of the business definitely has its heart in Cornwall and that’s where our boots and slippers will always be made.”
Celtic and Co originally traded under The Original Ugg brand name before selling the rights to Deckers Inc. Today it still specialises in sheepskin footwear and has also branched out into premium womenswear, menswear and homeware made from natural fibres such as cashmere and merino wool.
The Queen’s Award for Enterprise is one of the UK’s most prestigious business accolades and has been awarded to 230 companies this year – with a record 152 receiving awards for international trade.