A NORTH East firm producing bespoke bedding for the equine world is expanding its global reach, with assistance from regional export specialists.

Bedmax may have started life on a family farm in the shadow of Holy Island, but it now exports to 18 countries and recently supplied its premium-quality horse bedding for use in the Tokyo Olympic stables.

The Northumberland-based operation has drawn on support from the Department for International Trade, which has helped them attend a host of important trade shows in Asia and the Middle East, as well as securing overseas marketing support.

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With three production plants making over two million bags of dust-extracted pine shavings per year, Bedmax supplies thousands of customers in the UK and many more across growing export markets. One such market is Japan, for which the UK’s free trade agreement has proved a real boost for expanding its market share.

Tim Smalley, Managing Director of Bedmax, said: “We pride ourselves on offering horse owners a bedding of the highest quality, performance and value, and having initially established an excellent reputation in domestic markets, we have grown our global standing significantly since our first forays into overseas markets in Hong Kong and France.

“We have enjoyed a great success in the Japanese market, with the free trade agreement certainly coming at an opportune time for us.

“On average, we currently export a container a week to Japan, which is then distributed to several racing centres and studs. It is a market we are looking to grow and we are working closely our distributors in Japan and the Department for International Trade to achieve this.”

The DIT provided Bedmax with support for international travel, attendance at trade fairs and translation services, and continues to work with Bedmax as it explores other global opportunities, providing funding to help the firm attend the Asian Racing Conference, at which the first customer contact took place to secure a £160,000 contract win.

Bedmax is one of just a handful of businesses that hold not just the Royal Warrant from HRH The Prince of Wales, but also Her Majesty The Queen. Such is the company’s reputation in the UK, it has been the supplier of bedding for prestigious events including Burghley Horse Trials, Badminton Horse Trials, and The Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park for a number of years.

In the region of 20% of Bedmax’s overall business is made up of exports and it is now targeting significant growth in a number of Middle Eastern markets as well as in Germany, France, and Scandinavian countries.

Tim added: “Being able to draw on the DIT support allowed us to utilise the amazing expertise it boasts, not to mention help to pinpoint and attend some of the most important trade shows in our industry.

“The world is becoming a much smaller place and, based on our experience, we would recommend working with the DIT to draw on its expertise and support when exploring foreign markets.”

Victoria Gemmill, DIT Northern Powerhouse Regional Team, Head of Northeast Region, said: “To use an equine metaphor, Bedmax is an absolute thoroughbred of a business. From Holy Island to the Olympics Stables is quite a journey, but its success has been built on quality, safety and a drive to create the best product on the market.

“I’m delighted that the company has had such success in Japan and is now looking to grow in other areas. The free trade agreement is a real boon for businesses looking to grow their export potential.”


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