Image by Parkway Photography.
Pictured (left) is Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI, with Celine Magill, Art on Fashion.
Belfast-based Art on Fashion has won its first business in the Middle East with assistance from Invest Northern Ireland.
The fashion business is supplying bespoke designed tunic tops for sale by a prestigious client in Doha, Qatar as a result of its participation in a recent joint Invest NI/UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) workshop.
The company, which employs four people in south Belfast, followed up contacts from the seminar and the British Embassy in Qatar in June. It was then assisted by Invest NI to visit the client in Doha to present design samples that subsequently led to the award of the important contract in September. The tops, featuring a digitally printed design supplied by the client, will be delivered in November.
Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director, commenting on the export business for Art on Fashion, said: “This is an excellent example of how a small business offering an expert service can secure sales in an international market by taking part in one of our targeted trade events and by responding quickly to opportunities outlined during the event and by our experts in a particular market.
“Art of Fashion attended our most recent workshop on Doing Business in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with UKTI which led to some specific contacts, particularly with retailers, being pinpointed for the company in Qatar. Our own team in UAE assisted the company with further contacts in Dubai and to visit the potential customers and to begin the negotiations that led to the first business there.”
Celine Magill, Art on Fashion’s Managing Director, said: “The Invest NI event was extremely informative and the very practical support provided by the marketing experts turned out to be very rewarding.
“I initially emailed the contacts provided by the British Embassy in Qatar and received a positive response from several of them overnight. I followed up with further information about my company and niche services and arranged to visit them with samples of our unique wearable art during the Invest NI trade mission.
“Once again Invest NI was very supportive and enabled me to travel to Qatar for discussions. It’s certainly a very competitive marketplace and the negotiations were challenging. But the initial customer was impressed with the quality of the samples, our digital design technology expertise and the speed of our response to the opportunity they offered.
“An initial contract was agreed for delivery in November, and we are also discussing further business with this influential client as well as with other retailers in the region. Our in-house design team is already developing the tunic tops which will be sold by this customer in high-end retail outlets in Doha and further afield.”
Formed in 2012, Art of Fashion is a leading niche online fashion retailer incorporating original and creative designs based on the work of contemporary artists. The company is a specialist in digital printing has an established network of artists in the UK, US and Europe for its limited edition clothing. It has export sales in Europe.