Around the World in 80 Trades: Paragon Inks
What does your company do?
We manufacture UV inks and coatings for the web printed decoration market and supply service and support to global printers, encompassing optimisation, minimisation and staff empowerment.
When was your company launched, who by and why?
The company was founded in 1985 by Mr. Gerry Merten, who is our CEO.
How long has the company been exporting?
We have been exporting for over 15 years.
What do you currently export, and where to?
We export our product and services as mentioned above, by way of direct sales, distribution and strategic partners. Our overseas markets include Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Macedonia, Mauritius, Montenegro, Malaysia, Mexico, Malta, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Nepal, The Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Slovenia, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, South Africa, Tanzania, United States, UAE, Vietnam.
What motivated you to start selling overseas, and how long did it take?
The impact of corporate competition entering our home market and our desire to grow our global brand. We are still learning and developing our export strategies to fuse with our ever-changing markets.
What is the easiest part of exporting?
Supplying the product and meeting our global customers face to face, so developing relationships within business. Using our network of our global supply chain and their experiences.
And the most challenging part?
Dealing with country import regulations, cultural differences, language barriers and currency all pose a challenge.
Have language barriers, currency changes, etiquette and culture ever caused you any difficulties? How did you overcome them?
Yes, in a word. There is no magic formula for overcoming these issues, but as a company we approach these aspects pragmatically, using our distributors, strategic partners and co suppliers’ knowledge and influence in their own markets, so ensuring we have a supply, service and support model that works in all regions.
Did you get any support when you wanted to trade abroad? Who from, and was it helpful?
As discussed, we use the whole supply chain to gain knowledge and experience. From raw material suppliers to brand owners, each segment of the chain has had an input in our export development.
What advice would you give to someone just starting to explore overseas markets?
Understand your international market not only from a potential basis, but one of a cultural and trend one too. Deal with distributors or direct businesses with the same values as your own business and above all else, keep it simple.
Where next? What markets are you looking into and where do you see the company in 5 years’ time?
To continue to develop our existing markets, with focus on South America, Australasia, Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Eastern, Central and Western Africa.
Paragon Inks have been shortlisted in the Scottish Export Team of the Year category at the HSBC Scottish Export Awards 2017 in association with Scottish Enterprise. Join us on 22 March to celebrate international trade across Scotland.
Published: 14 March 2017