Brazil Trade Mission Delegate Story: Huub Design
Wetsuit manufacturer Huub Design was poised to secure orders and distribution during a Breakthrough trip to Brazil.
Huub Design is a newly established company with long-term ambitions. Based in Derby, the three-year-old business has carved out a niche designing and manufacturing performance-enhancing wetsuits for triathletes. Combining swimming, cycling and running, the sport is increasingly popular on both sides of the Atlantic and so offers huge export potential for Huub.
With his company already distributing in Australia, North America and parts of Europe, Huub founder Dean Jackson successfully applied to attend Breakthrough’s latest Trade Mission to Brazil. He set off hoping to establish a connection with a local distributor and return home with some solid leads.
“In our first meeting we were met by a group of people who sat with their arms folded. But once they knew the Santander team were there and supporting us, their arms quickly unfolded!” Dean Jackson, Founder, Huub
After arriving in São Paulo, Dean was given time to orient himself and enjoy a welcome dinner with his fellow delegates. “There were five other businesses on the trip,” he says. “Over the weekend we got to know each other and the Santander team. Then on Monday it was a case of getting up, jumping into a cab and going off to meetings.”
A tailored schedule
As well as providing hands-on support wherever possible, the Santander team who attended the Mission ensured the week’s schedule included plenty of time for delegates to attend one-to-one meetings with their chosen contacts. “The Santander team did a great job in making sure everyone got the best out of the trip,” says Dean. “They organised the transport, made sure we got to our meetings and even worked with UK Trade & Investment to arrange translators.”
Dean also discovered that Santander were held in high regard by the Brazilian business community, no surprise given that Latin America contributes 51% of the Santander Group’s total income. “In our first meeting we were met by a group of people who sat with their arms folded. But once they knew the Santander team were there and supporting us, their arms quickly unfolded!”
His first meeting with a major distributor generated an overwhelmingly positive response. “He was very enthusiastic about our products and told me I shouldn’t see anyone else in Brazil,” he says. It was too early in the trip to commit to that kind of exclusivity, but it was a hugely encouraging start. Dean’s day went on to yield a solid order worth $8,000 from a retailer.
Santander also arranged a series of briefings that took place throughout the seven-day trip, hosted by officials and trade experts including UK Trade & Investment and the British Consulate. These briefings provided delegates with the opportunity to learn first-hand about the Brazilian market, tax regulation and product positioning. Dean learned that Brazil imposes high tariffs on imported goods, but has an increasingly wealthy middle class. “We were told that everything is very expensive but customers will pay for the products they want,” he says. “Given the interest in triathlon here, we think this is rich territory for us.”
Dean believes this confident approach to the Mission was partly influenced by his previously attending a Breakthrough Masterclass hosted by iconic creative agency Saatchi Masius, who gave a day-long workshop in branding and marketing strategy. “It gave us confidence in our brand and the approach we were taking,” says Dean. “That has helped us win orders in Europe and was important when talking to distributors in Brazil. It gave us the confidence to go in with the attitude, ‘This is who we are and this is how we’re going to grow. Do you want a piece of this?’”
Having left all his samples in Brazil, Dean returned home with a $8,000 order and is continuing to negotiate a potentially momentous distribution deal. “The value of that would be worth at least $100,000,” he says. As Dean can attest, Brazil can appear daunting in terms of culture and regulation, but Breakthrough’s Trade Mission has enabled him to make the contacts his company needs in order to sell successfully.
“The Santander team did a great job in making sure everyone got the best out of the trip. They organised the transport, made sure we got to our meetings and even worked with UK Trade & Investment to arrange translators.” Dean Jackson, Founder, Huub
To be eligible for a place on a Trade Mission you must be a highly ambitious business, which has been trading for a minimum of two years and have plans to increase your customer base, employees and enter into new markets in the next 12 months. You also need be a UK resident for tax purposes and selling or marketing a British product or service.
All applications will be judged on merit according to the criteria and we reserves the right to determine whether or not your business is able to utilise fully our support in the chosen market.
To date, Breakthrough has organised Trade Missions to Brazil, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates and the USA, with additional Missions tailored for Women in Business. Qualifying businesses can apply to take part in future Trade Missions and other Breakthrough events by contacting their Relationship Director.