By Daniel Hunter
It is said ‘whatever your dream is you can realise it in New York City’. For one London-based company, City Delights, their premium selection of chocolates has reached new heights as they secured orders from New York’s top premium department stores.
With the assistance of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) - the government department for exporting - this small London firm has expanded into the international market and with it has expanded its revenue - £100,000 of which the company’s owner directly attributes to the help received by UKTI.
City Delight’s unique ‘Chocolate Tourism: Delivered To You’ concept means that they gather the best brands and tastes from a region or country and put them together into one box, then deliver it directly to the customers wherever they are in the world. Sourcing from the best chocolatiers, the mix of flavours and ingredients gives the taste of a nation, which they call an ‘edible flag’.
Paul Boon, Managing Director, created the concept over three years ago where he spotted a gap in the confectionery market. His background in Engineering from Oxford University gave him a flare for design. This innovative flare can be seen in every product he and Creative Director Vilmos Kuhajda make - the crown-shaped trays allow the chocolates to sit aloft, elegantly and practically presented within their own mini-thrones!
With experience in London’s financial district Paul Boon said: “Having worked on acquisition projects for many years in the City, I knew exporting interested me and that I wanted to take my own company international”
Paul and Vilmos, with the help of UKTI and the New York Embassy, targeted the New York market. Their first visit in May this year, sponsoring the Royal Baby Shower event in celebration of the birth of the new Royal baby, gave them the platform to excel at the Fancy Food Fair exhibition in July.
Being part of the British Pavilion, they managed to secure orders and interest from four premium New York department stores, led by Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus.
Paul added: “The Royal connection is huge in the US, so the concept of buying into British premium products and producing our ‘Royal Crown collection’ made strong business sense. This is why our unique selling point of ‘Chocolate Tourism: Delivered To You’ works well internationally.
These orders are just the beginning, and we hope the company grows into also supplying hand-picked seasonal products such as for Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.
With the help of UKTI, we were fast tracked into growth. It would have taken us years to get to the stage we are at now where we are getting recognition from the top department stores in the world, including in the UK; for example, City Delights will be available in House of Fraser from mid-October. It is like a door being opened for us which otherwise would have been kept shut.
The support of UKTI and the New York Embassy has been unprecedented. Without their guidance we wouldn’t have considered exporting to US. Now we are tailoring our products for the different US markets such as the New York collection, which is also available to UK customers in various stores and online.”
For those who are considering exporting, Paul’s advice is: “Be highly targeted. Wanting to sell to more people isn’t enough; you need to focus and tailor your product or service to the market. By being receptive to cultural differences you can ensure a better chance for success.”
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