How UKTI helped Tangle Teezer to make headway in China

By Kelly Dolan, Digital Communications Specialist, UKTI Retail Team

The Tangle Teezer® hair brush was created by London-based hair colourist Shaun Pulfrey to glide through wet or dry hair, flicking tangles apart with no painful tugging or yanking.

Since it was launched in the UK in 2008, Shaun’s company Tangle Teezer Limited has worked closely with UKTI to break into new markets. The company took part in Passport to Export, the UKTI programme that helps businesses to prepare for international markets. It also used UKTI’s Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) to research the South African and German markets and find distributors there.

Heading East

Always on the lookout for opportunities in new markets, Tangle Teezer was soon ready to tackle China. The company was generating online sales through its own web shop and had secured distribution deals with some of the most prestigious department store groups in China and Hong Kong. Market briefings by UKTI and seminars run by the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) provided further information about how to access this vast market.

In February 2014, Tangle Teezer attended a seminar in London organised by UKTI. The company met directly with Chinese representatives, including TMall, the Chinese equivalent of Amazon. Things moved quickly after this. Four weeks after the chance meeting at the UKTI event, the Tangle Teezer® Official Store was up and running on the Tmall site. Here is a video that was produced after this seminar to help UK companies find out more on access China through Tmall.

Sales after four weeks

Having established an outlet for sales direct to the consumer, the next step for Tangle Teezer was to build brand awareness and online demand in China. The company turned to Hot Pot Digital, a digital marketing agency with offices in London and Beijing that it had also met at the UKTI event, and who specialises in the China consumer market. Within four weeks, it had sold more Tangle Teezers® than it had sold over the previous 12 weeks. By creating fan pages on two of the biggest Chinese social media platforms, weibo and weixin, the company had over 6,000 followers in China within one week. According to current forecasts, sales are now set to triple in China year on year.

“UKTI work with us as an extension of our own team, giving us an insight into our target markets that we simply wouldn’t get from an off-the-shelf report,” says Shaun. “Thanks to the support we’ve had from UKTI, the CBBC and our other contacts we have approached China in exactly the right way. We’re making real headway and this is set to become our biggest international market by the end of 2015.”

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Countries: China
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