Exports give Dartington Crystal a brighter future

Devon-based Dartington Crystal is expanding its operations following a successful export drive in China and South Korea.

The company – the UK’s only factory scale crystal glass manufacturer – had completed a re-organisation which put it on a secure footing in the British market when it decided to look abroad for export opportunities to help build on domestic successes.

Managing director, Neil Hughes, said:

“Although we have had an export presence for many years, like a lot of UK manufacturing, we went through a difficult time and our focus in recent years has been on the home market.

“We have now reached a point where it seemed right to start looking at export markets again and exploring the emerging markets, particularly China, for the first time. We had a tentative presence at some trade shows in China with limited success but really wanted to start making solid progress in that market.

“We contacted UKTI (UK Trade and Investment) and sat down and talked with our adviser about our frustrations and difficulties in getting into the Chinese market and she put us in touch with UKTI’s OMIS (Overseas Market Introduction Service) which got us introduced to potential clients at an important trade fair in Shanghai last October. We got some great advice on how to approach customers and do business in China and this has proved successful and we now have new export clients for all three of our brands with very significant orders which should lead to long term growth.”

As a result of the company’s initial success in China, Dartington has now made use of UKTI’s OMIS again to organize meetings with more potential clients in South Korea and appointed a local distributor there.

The company, which employs around 150 staff in Torrington and Scotland and has a turnover of around £10 million, is now looking to take on more staff in manufacturing, sales and administration to cater for the demand of its growing export market.

The company also owns the Caithness Glass and Royal Brierley Crystal brands.

UKTI international trade adviser, Emma Collum, said:

“Having successfully re-established itself in the UK, Dartington Crystal is now chasing success abroad and achieving results in some of the most challenging but rewarding markets with expert help and advice from UKTI’s dedicated experts.

“The importance of exports to growth can be seen in new jobs and investment created by Dartington in North Devon as a direct result of their decision to look further afield for new markets.”

In addition to help and advice from UKTI, Dartington also received financial help from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) towards the cost of visits to China and South Korea.


If you are based in the South West region and are interested in developing your business overseas please contact:

UKTI South West International trade Team

Tel: +(0)845 60 60 969

Email: enquiries@uktisouthwest.org

Find your nearest International Trade Advisor via our postcode search facility in “Contacts in your region”.

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Dartington Crystal


Topics: Insights & Statistics
Export Action Plan