Belfast-based Target Dry secured new business worth around £250,000 in Finland for its branded waterproof and outdoor clothing on a recent Invest Northern Ireland trade mission to Scandinavia.
Target Dry designs, markets and distributes innovative garments from Belfast which it then manufactures under contract in China.
The company, which is on target to achieve a 25% growth in sales in the current trading year and has doubled its turnover since 2000, currently sells 93% of its garments outside Northern Ireland, with its export markets concentrating on Western Europe the US and Japan.
Noel McAneary, Target Dry’s managing director, says the deal with the distributor in Helsinki, the company’s first business in Finland, will introduce its range of clothing to outdoor, sport and leisure retailers throughout the country.
“Taking part in the Invest NI mission enabled us to identify a suitable distributor in a marketplace that, I believe, offers a substantial business opportunity for our extensive range of garments. Interestingly, the initial lead to the business contact came from another mission member.
“As a result, we’ve now established the Target Dry brand in this important market and will seek to build our presence there by providing quality garments that combine innovative designs and fabrics which address specific niche market requirements. We’ve also found Invest NI missions to be very useful in helping us to explore other international markets and for strengthening our supply chain.
“Our business model is based on a strong focus on design, new product development, marketing, including the management of our main Target Dry and subsidiary brands such as ‘mac-in-a-sac™’,t-dry™ and logistics, all of which are centred on Belfast, with manufacturing in China. This strategy enables us to compete aggressively on product innovation, quality and, of course, cost,” adds Mr McAneary.
Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade director, welcoming the company’s success on the trade mission to Scandinavia, says: “Target Dry’s achievement in Finland is an excellent example of the benefits that can result when a company uses elements of our extensive trade programme within an international marketing strategy.
“The company is demonstrating how textiles and clothing companies can compete successfully by investing in knowledge-based activities, such as design, brand management and logistics, and harnessing low-cost manufacturing opportunities.
“It shows too that contacts made with other companies taking part in a mission or exhibition often provide important business leads,” he adds.