Suffolk handbag-maker whose customers include Emma Watson, Keira Knightley and Dame Judi Dench now looking to Asia

Mary Jardine, of Jardine of London. Picture: ALISON HARRIS PHOTOGRAPHY

Mary Jardine, of Jardine of London. Picture: ALISON HARRIS PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Alison Harris Photography:

An East Anglian fashion brand which counts Hollywood A-listers among its customers has boosted its exports by 10% since launching online sales - and now has the Asian market in its sights.

Luxury handbag maker Jardine of London produces leather products in a range of designs and colours, and has made bespoke handbags for film stars including Emma Watson, Keira Knightley and Dame Judi Dench.

The business, launched in 2015, currently exports to Australia, Switzerland and the USA. From autumn, it will export its products to Asia with its new style of handbag, created specifically for that market, after getting export support through the Department for International Trade (DIT)’s Exporting is Great campaign.

Founder Mary Jardine said: “Exporting has always been at the heart of our business model as we were initially planning to launch our brand in Asia before anywhere else. However, we decided to build our reputation domestically first so we could approach potential overseas buyers with an already established and trusted brand.

“We’ve found trading with the US and Europe complementary to our existing operations, given the fact that many of our buyers speak English. The Asian market, with its different languages and complex business culture, will be more of a learning curve. We’ll be relying for support and guidance from DIT as we work towards getting our products to Asia this year.

“The best advice I could give to a company looking to export for the first time is to do your research. It’s a balancing act between complying with legal requirements for your target market, finding the right buyers and navigating business culture. But with the help of DIT, you can reap the rewards. If we can do it, so can many other local firms.”

Alan Pain, regional director at the East of England DIT said: “It’s great to see established brands in the East of England like Jardine of London target new international markets as part of its growth plans.

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“The benefits of exporting are huge. Businesses that sell their products overseas are more profitable, resilient and successful. Jardine of London is a leading example of what can be achieved when you tap into markets overseas.”