Shining lights in the export game

Robert Chelsom MD of Chelsom with some of the company's lighting
Robert Chelsom MD of Chelsom with some of the company's lighting
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EASTERN promise has been fulfilled for a Blackpool company which has seen a 15 per cent increase in its export sales.

Chelsom, which designs and makes decorative lighting and furniture for hotels and cruise ships, has boosted sales thanks to its latest international expansion.

Left to right, Rachael Slack, Peter Thomson ,Jules Davenport, Mark Williams ' Regional Director and General Manager, Tanja Spatar ,Sean Winters, Sue Bamber and Carly Easter.

Left to right, Rachael Slack, Peter Thomson ,Jules Davenport, Mark Williams ' Regional Director and General Manager, Tanja Spatar ,Sean Winters, Sue Bamber and Carly Easter.

The family-owned business based in Clifton Road, has opened a new office in the Far East to allow its export customers to benefit from better lead times and reduced freight costs.

Chelsom’s export sales now account for 35 per cent of its £7m turnover, up from under 20 per cent two years ago.

The company recently opened a Middle East office and expanded further into North American market with a new 16-strong sales force based in the US.

Managing director Robert Chelsom said: “We recognised quite early in the recession we needed to significantly increase exports if we were to continue growing.

“With the recent changes we’ve made we’re now exporting to over 70 countries worldwide.”

Chelsom was advised on the opening of its Far East operation, trading as Chelsom Hong Kong Ltd, by North West accountancy and business advisory firm, Moore and Smalley.

Damian Walmsley, partner at Moore and Smalley, said: “Developing new export markets is a great way for manufacturers to remain profitable in these challenging times.

“We have been advising a number of businesses on international expansions and Chelsom could be a text-book example of how to go about boosting international trade.”

Chelsom, which has 50 staff at its Blackpool head office and factory as well as regional sales consultants, has provided lighting to many of the world’s top hotels including The Savoy in London, the Turnberry Resort in Scotland and the George V Paris, as well as for Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 and P&O cruise liners.

Robert added: “Lighting for many of the world’s top hotels and cruise ships is specified by designers in the US, which is why we’ve decided to get closer to that market by growing our sales force there.

“Opening an office in the Far East also moves the company closer to its manufacturing sources, ensuring constant quality and cost control.

“The Hong Kong base means customers in the Far East, Middle East, Asia, Russia and elsewhere can opt for direct shipment of consignments from China to the final project destination with complete confidence, guaranteeing the most competitive export pricing.”

The business was established in 1947 by Robert’s parents Reg and Kay as an antique lighting shop called The Golden Age.

Robert took over the business in 1973 and refocused on the contract market. Robert’s son Will has worked for the company for the past five years.

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