Hotbods broadens markets

LOCAL exporter of cuddly wheat-filled products, HotBods Creatures, this week sent a trial batch of its toys to Canada where it hopes to secure a major order shortly.

Following a major deal last year with a Spanish operator, the expected distribution arrangement in Canada is another coup for the Perth company with an expected turnover of $900,000 this year.

South Africa is another market where the company is negotiating with a distributor.

However, it is not all easy going.

Amid negotiations for a distribution deal in Mexico, the company is finding the negotiation process laboriously slow.

HotBods Creatures founder and managing director Susy Griffiths said the recent signing of Camees International, a distributor in Canada, should also lead to significant orders in future.

“Our delivery to Canada was about six weeks ago of 1,000 units. It was a small trial order but we are expecting them to place an initial order for 5,000 units,” she said.

Griffiths said HotBods Creatures’ turn-over had slowed in the past two years but  that growth had now picked up again. She attributes this upturn to the increase in the number of HotBods Creatures’ distributors which means more dollars for the company.

This includes the signing of an agreement last year for HotBods Creatures to supply its products to El Cortes, one of Spain’s largest department stores.

Ms Griffiths said the company’s foray into Spanish markets should prove lucrative.

“Hopefully it will mean more dollars,” she said. “If it’s anything like the UK we anticipate sales of $50,000 per month in the first year and $90,000 per month in the second year.”

Ms Griffiths said that HotBods approached Austrade to seek assistance in finding a Spanish distributor, which took about four months.

Her company is a tale of success that came about when Ms Griffiths used a wheat-filled comforter to calm her unsettled baby before deciding there was money to be made from the idea.

She started the company in 1996 and last financial year it turned over about $800,000.

This year Ms Griffiths anticipates a turnover of at least $900,000 which she said should increase to $1.2 million next year.

Hot Bods Creatures’ earnings are pre-dominantly from exports which represent  70 per cent of revenue. The remainder is sold to domestic department stores, retail outlets, pharmacies and craft shops.

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