Case study

UKTI helps Stateside Skates increase exports to 50% of total sales

Stateside Skates successfully uses UKTI’s export services to protect its brand and develop their business in Europe and further afield.

Stateside Skates (c) Tim Bizz Photography
Stateside Skates (c) Tim Bizz Photography

Buckinghamshire based sports products company Stateside Skates has taken advantage of many UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) schemes to help them build their international offering.

Alistair Crichton, Operations Manager, Stateside Skates said,

UKTI has been a great support throughout our international sales growth. They have provided training, advice on languages and great contacts.

Working with a UKTI trade expert helped Alistair and the Stateside Skates team start the exporting process.

After UK success, the business entered the Spanish market. This was soon followed up across Europe. They have also now begun to open up markets further afield, in South Korea, Canada and Russia.

Alistair Crichton said,

Before becoming involved with UKTI, our export sales accounted for around 5% of our total sales. Now that figure is around 50%.

UKTI has helped us enormously in our journey over the last few years.

Their help to establish a clear strategy going into overseas markets has been the foundation of our success.

Arrange a face to face meeting with an International Trade Adviser (ITA) and find out more about UKTI services.

Protecting Intellectual Property (IP)

Wide-scale exposure and an expanding customer base have meant Stateside Skates has had to work hard to keep their products desirable. They’ve done this by protecting their IP.

Stateside Skates felt their unique products made investment in IP worth the time and the money.

Alistair Crichton said,

We would urge SMEs to invest in IP early on, even if it seems like money that could be better invested elsewhere.

The business owns 10 different brands. Each has their own unique design and selling point.

Protecting our IP ensures we can produce, market and sell our brands safe in the knowledge that we are the owners. We can take action if anyone tries to copy or pass off their products as ours.

Having our brands as registered trade marks assures customers that they are getting the original product.

Stateside Skates has 18 UK registered trade marks, but they’ve also protected each of these with European registrations. Further worldwide applications are also in the pipeline.

Find out how to register your trade mark in the UK to protect your brand.

How Stateside Skates protected their brand

Stateside Skates has put a lot of effort into product development with each product unique. Top tips for protecting brand include:

Stateside Skates considered each case and applied as business needs required.

This was either by UK registration first then Europe, or immediately with a European registration. They sell their products to almost every country in Europe. Stateside Skates found it much more efficient and cost-effective to apply for multiple countries at once and in one application.

Alistair Crichton said,

With all the hard work it takes to establish your business overseas, it’s vital that you protect your IP assets in those regions too. Without protection, IP infringers could end your international dream before you’ve begun.

Seeing our product and IP copied is frustrating and counterproductive. We are always concerned about customers being misled and about possible damage to our reputation.

Over time we have refined a very systematic approach to registering our brands.

Developing an export strategy

Stateside Skates realised in 2010 that the Internet was breaking down geographical barriers. They then made a strategic decision to move into the European market.

Alistair Crichton said,

We found the idea of ‘culture’ essential to understanding export markets. It’s essential to understand the product demands and way of working in each market before attempting to break into it.

The business has taken advantage of many UKTI schemes to help them build their international offering, making the most of UKTI training and support. This includes UKTI services such as Passport to Export and Export Communications Review (ECR).

Alistair Crichton said,

Their support and advice has been invaluable in shaping our export sales strategy. They gave us an insight into how we should approach markets outside the UK.

Future exports

Thanks to the help received, business is now booming worldwide for the company. They’ve even expanded their workforce, employing staff with language skills in local markets to help them cope with the increased business.

Alistair Crichton said,

UKTI has helped us enormously in our journey over the last few years.

Their help to establish a clear strategy going into overseas markets has been the foundation of our success.

We’re continuing to design our products under our house brands and to make them more desirable in the European market. We also plan to take the brands across the world and sell into Asia, Australia and North America.

About Stateside Skates

Stateside Skates Ltd was founded in 1981 to plug a gap in the market for roller skates. It featured in the 2015 Sunday Times BT Business SME Export Track 100.

Its product range includes skateboards, scooters and skates. They also own the Rio Roller fashion skate which is seen on the feet of many high-profile celebrities.

Fast facts

Company Stateside Skates Ltd
UKTI Services Passport to Export; and Export Communications Review
Published 9 September 2015