Sevenoaks start-up firm shines with 2.5m European contract wins

Sevenoaks start-up firm shines with £2.5m European contract wins

A Kent company that produces realistic artificial candles has an even brighter future, after clinching sales worth more than £2.5m in Europe, thanks to help from local export experts, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).

Candella Limited, a start-up company based in Sevenoaks, produces battery powered realistic-looking wax candles, known as Luminara. The product’s versatility and safety compared to conventional candles means they are a popular choice in both home and commercial environments.

With confidence in their brand, Candella brought in experts from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) South East to help them reach global markets.

Candella, a team of four, has generated sales worth more than £2.5m from deals struck up across the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and France over a 12 month period and expects rapid growth over the next few years.

Paul Obey, Managing Director, for Candella said:

“We have worked closely with UKTI and our designated adviser for more than a year to develop an export strategy for our start up business.

“As well as valuable advice for financing options, marketing, legal issues, web-site design and communication strategy, we’ve benefitted hugely from financial support.

“The UKTI Passport to Export programme helped us fund attendance at overseas trade shows and visits to international clients.

“Our company has managed to generate sales of more than £2.5m – I cannot recommend UKTI resources highly enough.”

Candella’s product recently got the royal seal of approval after taking its product to the British Embassy in Brussels as part of a UKTI showcase of Britain’s high end quality products in home accessories and gifts. The showcase, at the British Ambassador’s Residence, was attended by the Prince of Belgium (pictured above) and also led to the company being featured in the local media, including a live interview on Radio Bruxelles.

Paul added:

“On the back of this UKTI event, the awareness of the product across Benelux countries – Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg – has significantly increased and we are seeing a rise in not only retail orders, but also from those in the commercial sector.

“We were delighted by the response we got in Belgium which shows the strength of the British brand on the continent. Despite all the issues with the Euro, trade opportunities are out there.

“We have also recently re-launched our website as we recognise that a credible on-line presence is essential to expanding awareness of the brand.”

Candella were supported by UKTI International Trade Adviser, Terry Dunk.

Terry said:

“I first met Paul Obey shortly after the company was setup. At our first meeting, a few of Candella’s artificial candles were on display, but I had no idea they were not real until Paul invited me to take a closer look; the artificial naked flame effect is that realistic!

“Joining the Passport to Export programme has helped Candella to develop its overseas sales in a structured way. The company has also benefitted from UKTI’s extensive overseas network to support this growth and help introduce Candella to new business opportunities.

“I’m confident that Candella’s growth will continue with further support from UKTI and our Gateway to Global Growth programme, which is helping the company diversify into new markets.

“Whether a business is new to exporting or experienced, my role is to give impartial advice and support to help Kent-based companies successfully sell to overseas markets. Exporting is a key way to significantly increase the profitability and growth of a business.”


Firms keen to follow Candella’s success could attend a free half-day workshop being run by UKTI and global logistics firm TNT Express on Friday 25 July 2013 at the Royal Wells Hotel in Tunbridge Wells.

For further information and to book a place visit:

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Passport to Export


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

UKTI South East International trade Team

Tel: +44 (0)8452 789 600

Email: [email protected]

Sectors: Giftware, Jewellery & Tableware
Countries: Europe and South East England
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