BIDBI launches new label as export demand climbs

SUSTAINABLE cloth bag manufacturer Bag It Don’t Bin It (BIDBI) has launched its own brand bag label after seeing export demand rise.

The Sheffield business said the value of its exports has risen by 114% since last year to £124,000 after seeing strong growth in mature markets such as Japan, the US and Canada.

BIDBI which produces eco-printed branded bags for some of the UK’s leading retailers, including Waterstones, Hobbs, Liberty of London, as well as Converse and Twitter, said the latest figures reflected the launch of its own-brand bag label, Talented Totes, which has opened up new markets for the business.

BIDBI chief executive Julia Gash said: “Being heavily reliant on a home market I recognised a potential vulnerability for BIDBI, which could curtail its future growth.

“I believed that the quickest route to market was to develop our own brand label of ethically focussed, canvas bags, bringing together emerging designers from Britain. Talented Totes was born and is now stocked by department stores and destination boutiques worldwide including Fenwick and Joy in the UK.”

BIDBI employs 20 people at its site in Neepsend. Its turnover to the end of June last year was more than £970,000 and this year, it is looking to see a turnover of £1.3m.

To help it grow, BIDBI, which was founded in 2007 by Ms Gash, was offered a “holistic package of support” worth £400,000 from Santander Corporate and Commercial.
Ms Gash said the company has seen an increase in business of more than 30%, part of which has been because of this funding.

Ms Gash said she signed up to the UKTI Passport for Growth training programme to improve her export knowledge and commissioned a report to connect her to key Japanese distributors and retailers. Over £60,000 of business from Japan has been generated from the report alone.

Talented Totes is now focussed on finding new markets for the brand in South Korea, Hong Kong and the UAE.

The brand is now stocked in high-end department stores and designer shops around the world. It was included in a prestigious fashion show recently at Hankyu Department Store, Japan, representing the best of British design. 

Earlier this year, BIDBI invested in a new screen making room to make photographic quality screen printed bags, tea towels, t-shirts and other textiles.