The CompanyDirect_Designs_Ltd


Direct Designs began exploring the US market in 1999, having already become Britain's leading design company for contemporary inside and outside lifestyle products. Offering a full selection of innovative, quality, designer lifestyle accessories, from patio heaters and lighting to cooking grills and fire pits, the potential for sales in the American market was huge. Having achieved the prestigious 'best product' and 'innovation' awards at major European Trade Shows, as well as reaching the finals at the British Design Awards, they proceeded to tackle the American market in a strategic manner. After closing a couple of deals with US retail stores, they were approached by SALES DIRECT ’s American office, and subsequently met up with their UK based staff.

The Challenge

Direct Design’s goal was to break into the US market with their Hotspot range and develop it into a well known brand. The challenge of identifying the best fit retailers and, further, the appropriate decision makers within these establishments was very difficult and time consuming.

Setting up their own office would have cost at least ₤100,000 in the first year, with the necessary set-up and running costs. Employing a full time US sales rep alone would have cost in the region of ₤50-60,000 (including benefits). On the other hand, marketing from the UK would have been costly in terms of telephone bills and traveling expenses, not to mention the inconvenience of the 5-8 hour time zone difference!

Direct Designs reached the conclusion that they needed a team in the US who could tenaciously pursue this end on their behalf.

The Solution

Direct Designs chose SALES DIRECT’s Customer Direct Service. We located the top 100 best fit retailers in the US market. We contacted each decision maker by phone and introduced them to the Hotspot range. We also obtained the names of their current preferred suppliers and information on their buying seasons, etc.

ResultsThe Customer Direct project proved highly successful for Direct Designs in that a number of major retailers in the Department Store and Home and Garden Store sectors expressed serious interest in their products. Twenty-five companies requested further contact from Direct Designs after hard copy literature had been sent out. Companies began requesting samples. In fact, the success of the Customer Direct project exposed the need for Direct Designs to have a more permanent on-the-ground presence in the US. The logical route was for Direct Designs to acquire a State side sales arm.

The Satellite Office Service was deemed the most appropriate means by which Direct Designs could continue to grow their sales in America. Following the completion of the two month Customer Direct project, Direct Designs, together with SALES DIRECT LLC, established a Satellite Office in Wisconsin USA. The Satellite Office has been operating since June of 2004 and, to date, the following has been accomplished: completed 5 major email campaigns to the top 180 companies, spoken to each decision maker directly – housed all samples in SALES DIRECT’s warehouse – shipped requested samples to 20 companies, mailed over 200 hard copy brochures, sold 1 container of stock, arranged meetings and met with buyers at exhibitions.



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