- Protect your brand
It’s worth researching how you can protect your brand through thorough IP and copyright procedures. For advice, visit the websites of ACID (Anti Copying In Design) or turn to specialist intellectual property solicitors, such as Briffa Legal: ‘Registering your design in the UK is always a good idea, but there is no centralised, worldwide or comprehensive system for easily protecting intellectual property – each country may need a separate application.’
2. Identify the right markets
Think about where your website traffic is coming from and what feedback you have already had from customers abroad before homing in on specific countries. If you are looking for overseas retailers or galleries, connect with them via social media, and ask if they have stocked UK makers before.
3. Choose trade fairs carefully
If you are going down the trade fair route, be sure to research which would most suit your work. Ask your peers who already work internationally if they can share tips on which have been most successful, and visit the fairs if you can to check they are the right fit. If you are familiar with doing trade events in the UK, then seek out international events with a similar profile. If you mainly work directly with private clients or on site-specific work, your route to market will differ and you will need to identify individuals who can support you, such as galleries or retailers.
Textile designer Majeda Clarke recently researched the NY NOW trade fair, but soon realised the smarter route for her work was through retailers, so she explored local shops and galleries on the same trip. ‘I asked journalists and designers where they shop in New York and I visited small boutiques in the Greenwich Village and Soho areas, and managed to get interviews with all of them,’ she says. The Department for International Trade offers funding support for some fairs; they have advisers and provide training events to help you with your business and export ambitions. For details, visit gov.uk