Dungannon entrepreneur Malcolm Webb sold out of the entire stock of Muckys Mini Gaitors, a new product he had developed, on his very first Invest Northern Ireland trade mission.
Mr Webb, Managing Director of MJJ Sports, a sports and leisurewear business in Dungannon, secured his first sales outside Northern Ireland from the Invest NI mission to the Netherlands, which was centred on Amsterdam.
Mr Webb developed Muckys Mini Gaitors initially as a fashionable solution for golfers seeking a means to protect their trouser bottoms from wet and dirt without the need for excess clothing e.g. (waterproofs), just because the ground is wet. The gaitors, made from a waterproof fabric, are easily wrapped around the ankle without creasing the trousers. The gaitors are also now being used for other activities such as cycling and walking.
“The Invest NI mission to the Netherlands was excellent. As well as giving me vital information and experience of doing business in an export market, I was lined up with a list of companies in the Netherlands who spotted the potential of the product and wanted to do business with me.
“I eventually tied up with a young and enthusiastic sports business in Amsterdam who were so confident about the product that they bought all the stock in my warehouse in Dungannon and have since come up with a number of applications for the gaitors. Taking part in the mission enabled me to clear my overdraft, making my bank manager happy and has positioned the business for faster growth through exports.
“The mission provided training in export procedures and invaluable support on-the-ground in the Netherlands from Invest NI and Northern Ireland Trade Consultants in Amsterdam, which helped us immensely with lead generation, translation services and logistics,” added Mr Webb.
Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director, welcoming the Dutch deal for Muckys, said: “This is very good news for this small and entrepreneurial business. The experience Mr Webb has gained in the Netherlands has shown him that he has come up with an innovative product and has encouraged him to look closely at other potential markets. For instance, he is already dealing with inquiries from Germany.
“The mission was part of a series of initiatives in the Netherlands that also include our ‘Going Dutch’ programme, now one of our most popular and successful schemes. ‘Going Dutch’ offers smaller companies in particular easy access to export opportunities and very practical support in this market. This helps companies find potential customers and then gives them the knowledge and confidence to win the business,” Dr Kell added.
Mr Webb established MJJ Sports in 2006 with support from Invest NI’s Western Regional Office in Omagh. The development of the mini gaitor was the outcome of his own golfing experience. He spotted an opportunity for an easy-to-use product that protected trouser bottoms and was easily wiped clean.
The gaitors are not only hardwearingbut breathable anddurable. They can also be provided using corporate branding and in a range of colours.