THREE Huddersfield firms had just 48 hours to make their mark on potential customers on a trade trip to Italy.
Paxman Coolers, Equine Evolution and Olicana Textiles were among 30 export-minded companies from Yorkshire taking part in the two-day trade mission to the fashion capital of Milan.
Slaithwaite-based Olicana Textiles, which makes luxury fabrics for soft furnishing and interior décor kicked off in style with an appointment at Versace, the famous Italian fashion house.
Sales director Sarah Stringer said: “We were extremely well-received by the people at Versace who took a real interest in our sample fabrics and wanted to see more.
“Since we already supply the Italian soft furnishing industry through some of our other customers, we know that our high quality fabrics have a special appeal to the Italians.
“That’s why we felt it was high time we explored the possibility of entering the market directly.”
Graham Percival, deputy regional director for the Government’s UK Trade & Investments service, accompanied the delegates while colleagues at the British consulate in Milan helped line up one-to-one meetings for the firms with potential Italian partner companies.
Fenay Bridge firm Paxman Coolers, which makes a cooling system to combat hair loss in people undergoing chemotherapy, was seeking potential distributors in Italy.
General manager Paul Paxman said: “We have already used UKTI’s export services in France and Germany. This was a chance to meet potential business partners eye-to-eye on their own turf as well as do some general networking, not least with the variety of Yorkshire companies who were involved.”
Shelli Perkins, of Equine Evolution, based at the Media Centre, was in Italy to introduce her Equisafe Easiloader system.
The firm has already won orders from South Africa, Australia and Dubai for her invention for the safer loading of horses.
She said: “Italy was on my radar for its significant equine industry, so when I heard about this event, things just fell into place.”