Founders of Celtic & Co, Nick and Kath Whitworth are thrilled to announce that their Cornish company has been awarded the Queen’s Award for International Trade. Set to be officially announced on Her Majesty’s birthday – Saturday 21st April with a reception held at Buckingham Palace later this year.
Based in Newquay, the couple have been running the business for nearly 28 years, originally trading as The Original UGG®, before selling the rights to Deckers Inc in order to purchase the factory and warehouse space at Treloggan Industrial Estate where Celtic is still based to this day.
The business began trading as Celtic Sheepskin Ltd, and expanded into a premium womenswear, menswear and homewares brand, specialising in natural fibres, from the finest cashmere and merino to British sheepskin boots and slippers, still manufactured by hand in our workshop in Newquay.
Operating as a direct to consumer retailer, through our website www.celticandco.com and our dedicated call centre, we now sell to over 90 different countries, but have most recently seen a significant boost in sales since growing our international presence in the United States, Canada and Australia.
Overall Growth Strategy
Nick Whitworth states – “Since 2014, our strategy has focused on profitable growth to protect the business in the long term by building up our equity. We are still aiming to grow between 5-10% of our turnover year on year but focusing on a wide range of markets and opportunities to ensure we are not over reliant on one market or territory.
A key part of this strategy is international growth. This is demonstrated by our growth from 1% of total turnover being through exports in 2014/15 to 12% in 2016/17. Business to Business (both in the UK and international) is another area of growth and diversification for Celtic & Co. We have recently partnered with trade agents in the UK and the US to drive this area of the business forward and are delighted to have secured our first major US trade customer with a $44k order.”
The Benefits Brought to the UK
Kath Whitworth explains – “Currently our business model is to run all overseas operations from our UK based head office here in Cornwall. We utilise the knowledge and experience of our logistics partners to ensure that we are exporting goods in the most efficient and cost effective way for our customers and the business. By operating in this way we are keeping employment opportunity and supplier partnerships in the UK – supporting our local economy.
As we grow our International business we will continually look at other ways of doing business which may include central storage and shipment of stock from within other countries. However, the manufacturing part of the business definitely has its heart in Cornwall and that’s where our boots and slippers will always be made.”