Local musical instrument firm defies downturn

Bangor-based musical instrument company Karacha increased its turnover by 300 per cent in 2008 as a result of an export marketing drive supported by Invest Northern Ireland.

Karacha specialises in worldwide distribution of a variety of musical equipment including string, brass, percussion and woodwind instruments.

Oonagh Hinds, Invest NI’s Eastern Regional Office Manager, said: “Karacha is a highly entrepreneurial company which is harnessing the benefits of the internet to increase its competitiveness, sell its products in new markets throughout the world and maximise its profitability.

“The firm’s sustained success is also helped by it seeking to make its supply and distribution channels more efficient and cost effective, finding better equipment providers and always demanding high quality materials from them. Karacha also manages its product range effectively, regularly introducing new instruments for which there is a high demand in key markets.

“This local company’s strong performance in 2008 shows that by focusing on the right areas, businesses can achieve increased turnover and strengthen their position, even in this difficult economic climate.”

Adam Ewart, Managing Director of Karacha, said: “Karacha has grown steadily in its first few years of trading and last year was our most successful to date. Ninety-five per cent of our trade is now generated from sales outside Northern Ireland and we have reached this high level with effective support from Invest NI. Despite the global economic situation, our turnover in the pre-Christmas period was particularly high and contributed significantly to our overall increase last year.

“We have been helped with a range of projects including e-commerce implementation, international market visits, customer relationship management, market research and targeted promotional activities. These activities have been extremely useful for building new customer contacts abroad, enabling more effective sales processes, raising website awareness and communicating with key market segments. A number of new staff have also been recruited to help with our expansion.

“Schools, colleges and education authorities are amongst our most loyal customer base for bulk purchases. Our woodwind products are popular in the USA and our musical instrument accessories sell particularly well in Scandinavia,” added Mr Ewart.