Replensis from Belfast is being assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to develop business abroad. The company is aiming for growth in the US by signing up a sub-contract manufacturer and distribution deals in Chicago and Los Angeles. Negotiations to distribute the products in New York are also at an advanced stage.
Replensis specialises in functional environmental furniture for the growing global trend towards smoke-free buildings. The first Replensis planters, which feature a unique intelligent cleaning system, will be on sale in the US within the next few weeks.
Replensis is aiming to build on its success with the attractively designed planters in the UK and other parts of Europe, where it already supplies ‘blue-chip’ clients such as Accor Hotels, Claridges Hotel and Grosvenor House Hotel, both in London, as well as Crowne Plaza Hotels, Hilton Hotels, Marriott Hotels and Radisson SAS. Other high profile clients include Hugo Boss Store, Stockholm, Louis Vuitton and Kenzo, Paris, Nobu and Gordon Ramsay restaurants in London.
Welcoming the company’s latest success, Invest NI Trade Director Dr Vicky Kell says: “This is a young and ambitious company which has come up with a simple but highly innovative solution for an environmental problem – how to deal with cigarette waste. Replensis has created an eco-friendly ashtray that is attractive, easily cleaned and also helps combat air pollution through the use of plants.
“Invest NI have been working closely with the company in a number of areas that will help it to maximise the global potential of its products.”
The US deal is the outcome of a strategic decision to explore opportunities in this important marketplace in 2007. Replensis is also dealing with approaches for the distinctive planters from India and the Middle East. The company currently supplies 95 per cent of its planters to clients outside Northern Ireland – almost half going beyond the UK.
Kyle Gallagher, who formed the business in 2003 with wife Ally, says: “Exploring the US was a logical move for us because most of the hotel chains we already supply in Europe have substantial operations in North America. While I knew there was a market for our smoke-free solutions I also recognised that some detailed market research was required and I turned to Invest NI for guidance. Practical advice from the Invest NI US Trade team about doing business there, and current data from the Invest NI Business Information Library enabled me to start working on a market entry strategy.
“A key focus for us now is to strengthen our financial base by attracting the private finance required to enable us to grasp the global opportunities that clearly exist for current products and the new ones we are planning,” he adds.