Cream O' Galloway
“SDI staff in South Korea gave me a local perspective, explaining cultural differences in things like approaches to contracts.”
– Wilma Finlay, Managing Director of Cream O' Galloway
Founded in 1994, Cream O' Galloway is one of Scotland’s leading luxury ice-cream makers, using only high quality, natural ingredients and organic milk. Its factory in Dumfries and Galloway has also become an award-winning visitor attraction. The company sells into several multiples and independents across the UK.
Cream O' Galloway has enjoyed a relationship with Scottish Development International (SDI) and Scottish Enterprise (SE) from day one. But since the economic downturn sales of both of its original range ‘Simply Natural’, and new organic fairtrade range ‘Made Fair’ had started to suffer.
Then, in 2009, Cream O' Galloway was approached by a South Korean businessman who had previously worked with another Scottish organic ice-cream manufacturer, and was now looking for a replacement. Wilma Finlay, Managing Director, saw great potential in the opportunity but, with no existing relationship with the potential distributor, and little knowledge of the export market, was unsure how to proceed.
“This really wasn’t something I had planned,” admits Wilma, “he came to us, so we took advice from SE on how much of a risk it might be for us as a small company, applying common sense to the business and the situation we were in.”
How SDI helped
“Exporting to South Korea is a lengthy process, as the legislation is incredibly complex,” says Lynn Grieve, Account Manager. “Initially, payments, for example, were being made up front by the distributor based purely on trust, which wasn’t entirely sustainable.
“After a while, we made Wilma aware of our concerns and brought in Scottish Development International (SDI) to find out more about the Korean market and complete a check on the individual involved and his company.”
SDI organised a surgery session with an innovation specialist who provided the company with vital information on importing food products, labelling, trademarks, licensing and international payments. SE funding also supported a visit by Wilma to South Korea last August and provided access to the UK Embassy and their approved lawyer list.
“SDI staff in South Korea gave me a local perspective, explaining cultural differences in things like approaches to contracts,” states Wilma. “It was invaluable to have somebody with me who was Korean but understood Scotland as well.”
As a direct consequence, a trade agreement has now been drawn up protecting both parties in the relationship.
Another opportunity has now emerged in Korea, through Mister Donut, a fast-food chain similar to Dunkin’ Donuts in the US, and there is interest from the Japanese market, with the fact the company is already trading in South Korea a distinct advantage.
Aside from export growth, SE has provided general input and support to Cream O' Galloway over many years, including innovation workshops, training needs analysis, and the Leadership for Growth programme.
“One of my managers attended Leadership for Growth and she found it very useful,” says Wilma, “Working one-to-one with a mentor worked particularly well for her, giving her confidence that what she was doing was right.”
With assistance from SDI and SE, Cream O' Galloway has tapped into a broad range of expertise and knowledge, allowing them to expand, safely and successfully, into new and entirely unfamiliar markets.
“The signposting and support provided has been excellent,” adds Wilma. “SE’s input and advice has protected us, helping to make us a stronger long-term business. Without it, perhaps the increased sales would have been a blip rather than a sustained increase going forward.”
Although it’s still early days, the anticipated additional revenue received from overseas exports will rise from £100,000 to £300,000 in two years.
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