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Export Champion: Wax Lyrical

In the last of our series sharing the stories of some of Cumbria’s exporters, we showcase the benefits of expanding your business overseas to drive growth. In this series, we’ve looked at some of the key considerations for any business looking to expand to trade internationally, and explained how the Department of International Trade (DIT) can support you and your business at every stage of the export process.

Wax Lyrical is one of Cumbria’s Export Champions and their inspirational story and sales strategy in international markets with the support of the Department of International Trade (DIT) shows how you can take your business globally with help from the DIT.

Business is personal.

Export Champion: Wax Lyrical

For Wax Lyrical, the UKs largest home fragrance manufacturer, based at its wind turbine powered office and factory in Lindal-in-Furness, fragrance is also personal.

Commercial Director, Warren Gell says export markets represent over 20% of sales but there are ambitious plans to continue growth. “At home there is always a significant appetite for British-made products both from the perspective of customers wishing to support local industry but also because they trust in the high-quality craft and skills. That same reputation for quality, steeped in heritage and tradition, drives an ever-increasing global appeal. Wax Lyrical has significant plans for continued growth both in the UK and across the world and we expect our 40 years of Made in England credentials, will stand us in good stead, whatever challenges 2021 has in store for the economy.”

Wax Lyrical specialises in quality British-made candles and reed diffusers and celebrated its 40th year in 2020 by expanding its worldwide reach to 46 countries and working to expand our latest export markets in Australia, South Korea and Asia.

Warren adds, “The attributes of being a British manufacturer certainly appeal to consumers, as does an authentic approach to environmental issues, but retailers have to consider all the economic factors, so we believe it’s also vital to continually refresh our product offering and grow our ranges to maintain their trust and support.”

Growth is reflected in the recent launch of two new partnerships with award winning designers Sophie Conran and Yvonne Ellen, alongside continued expansion of the Wrendale range and the ever-popular Colony, RHS and Fired Earth ranges. This years’ news also includes a new £1.5million factory extension due to complete in spring 2021 and ready to roll-out a brand-new range of hand care products.

Quality is king.

Demonstrating the commitment to quality, Wax Lyrical previously invested more than £200,000 in a state-of-the-art laboratory to meet increased capacity. “All our products go through rigorous research, development and testing.” Says Dr Will Locke, the research development and compliance manager. Dr Will is one of the UK’s leading home fragrance scientist whose CV includes a PhD in chemistry and working with a joint Nobel Peace Prize winner at Oxford University. He is also chair of the technical committee for the British Candlemakers Federation and sits on the equivalent European body, advising on quality and safety.

“Many candle and home fragrance companies don’t have the resources to do the level of research, development and testing which we do.” said Dr Will. “At Wax Lyrical, we pride ourselves on the fact that because of our testing process our candles will burn efficiently and our candles and reed diffusers will throw their fragrance all the way to the end of their lifecycle. When a customer buys a Wax Lyrical candle or reed diffuser, whether that is for themselves, or as a gift for a friend or relative, they have total confidence that they are buying a high-quality British-made, high performing product.”

Looking forward

Wax Lyrical was the first company to take diffusers to the European market and introduced an odour-neutralising agent in its candle and diffuser HomeScenter® range. This year, as part of its parent Company, Portmeirion Group UK, it is the first in the industry to adopt virtual reality and offer customers an immersive digital platform, to view the showroom, host events and live appointments.

Jacqui Gale, CEO at Wax Lyrical Ltd said, “We are fortunate to be part of the Portmeirion Group which continues to invest in facilities and employment in Cumbria. At the heart of everything Wax Lyrical does, is the workforce. The designs and trend setting, the science in our fragrance, the quality of our craft – that is the heart of Wax Lyrical and that’s what Made In England truly means.”

“Last year, we conquered the gargantuan achievement of producing a new medical grade product, with completing new packaging, in just 10 days, during a global pandemic, under strict movement and handling protocols. We produced 1 million units in the first 3 months. Business awards tend to shine a spotlight on leaders, and I was honoured to receive the In-Cumbria Award for “Businessperson of the Year” recognising the leadership and drive demonstrated to overcome challenges and significantly transform a business. I proudly accepted on behalf of everyone. Every single person put their heart and soul into doing their bit for the nation. We achieved great things, whilst keeping everyone safe.”

This year home fragrance has cemented itself a matter of personal choice. We continue to spend more time in our homes and place more importance in creating distinctions from the living room to the space now referred to as the office or to focus on schoolwork. We know fragrance can lift the mood or focus the mind, it can help us relax and unwind, or help us feel cosy and safe.

Jacqui added, “Home fragrance is a personal choice, and all of our products are 100% fragranced. Our 40-year story is about innovation, our people, our environment, and our high-quality, British-made products. Commitment, quality, passion; products to wax lyrical about.”

Wax Lyrical would recommend that any business wishing to sell their products overseas should contact DIT to learn more about the journey to exporting. For information and assistance on trading internationally, please get in touch with our Export Manager, Sarah Peak, who joins our team on secondment from the DIT. She can help with any enquires you may have and enable your business to export and grow into global markets:

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