A leading West Midlands designer of wedding shoes is hoping to expand her brand across North America and beyond when she attends a major bridal fair in New York next month. Rachel Simpson, of Rachel Simpson Ltd, is heading to the trade show, as part of International Bridal Week (8-10 October), thanks to support from the Department for International Trade team in Birmingham.

It follows a successful trip in March to the spring edition of the bridal show in the US city, when she attracted the attention of more than four independent bridal boutiques, including stores in New York, Chicago and Ohio. From that one show alone, the company took significant revenue in orders, a substantial increase on their debut show the previous October.

Rachel, whose headquarters is at Kings Norton Business Centre where she employs 13 people, said:

“We went to the bridal show in October last year for the first time, knowing that it would take at least three shows to really start to get decent interest. The March show proved to be a great second show for us and thanks to assistance and support from the Department for International Trade, we are able to attend the show again this year.

“This is a key show, and a great international platform, and we’re hoping to get even more orders this time. We’re focusing our efforts on the North America market but there are also buyers from the Far East and Europe attending, so it could potentially introduce us to a number of new markets.

Since working with Jane Matty, an international trade adviser (ITA) in the Department for International Trade team in Birmingham for the past six years, the company’s international profile has grown significantly.

After taking advice on its eCommerce platforms, attending masterclasses and learning export basics, the company now exports about 30% of its wedding shoes and accessories, which is worth approximately £300,000 year.

“Exporting is becoming a very big part of our business and we are looking far more strategically so that we can attract bigger accounts that need higher volumes,” added Rachel. “Jane has been incredibly supportive – she’s been with us every step of the way.”

Christine Hamilton, interim regional director of the Department for International Trade West Midlands, said:

“By helping businesses such as Rachel Simpson Ltd to grow their exports, we’re also helping to create successful and stable companies here at home, which can only be good for the local economy.

“There are dozens of leads for UK fashion companies right now on the Exporting Opportunities database, from wedding dresses and accessories in the Czech Republic to sports clothing and fashion in Colombia.

“Our export teams across the region are working tirelessly with companies that are keen to get their brands known in overseas markets. With our support and through the Exporting is GREAT campaign, we can help businesses – whatever their size – to achieve global success.”