International success

Designer Michelle Taylor.
Designer Michelle Taylor.
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THE owner of a fast-expanding lingerie business admits she is “amazed” by the success of her internationally renowned company.

Michelle Taylor, founder of luxury lingerie label Tallulah Love, has seen her firm’s products exported to 11 countries including France, Italy, Germany, Dubai and more recently Japan.

The soaraway success of Tallulah Love comes less than three years after she won the Hartlepool leg of the If we can, you can Challenge and was crowned the Hartlepool Mail’s Face of Entrepreneurship.

She also won the UK Trade and Investment’s Passport to Export Award last year for her accomplishments in France and Italy.

Michelle, from Hartlepool, said: “It is amazing how quickly this has all happened for the business. We only officially launched the business in January 2010 and, in the last year alone, we have seen so much interest from all over the world for my luxury designs.

“After launching in Paris, we started to get a few inquiries from European buyers looking to stock the products. I got in touch with UK Trade and Investment to see how they could help me start exporting. Their support and advice was absolutely fantastic and I probably wouldn’t be doing so well if I had not had their help.

“While there have been a few cultural barriers to overcome and issues with exchanges in currency, for the most part, it was largely easy. If there is anything I don’t know, I am so fortunate that there are so many organisations in the North East that will help.

“At this stage, around 75 per cent of Tallulah Love’s incomes is brought in from overseas.

“It can be a daunting to divert a business’ focus away from the market in which it is currently operating to a new one but the opportunities and returns exporting can bring makes it worthwhile. Undoubtedly you face new challenges, but it is almost always worth the effort.”

She urged other keen entrepreneurs to enter the 2011 If we can, you can Challenge.

The Entrepreneurs’ Forum, which organises the Challenge, says now is a great time to move into industry.

Chief executive Carole Beverley said: “One of the most positive outcomes of the challenge is that regional entrepreneurs gain valuable insights from experienced peers to help them grow their business.

“With the recent Government investment into exporting, businesses in the region should be seriously considering the opportunities of trading internationally.”

Anyone who is interested in entering the challenge should visit www.ifwecanyoucan.co.uk or call 0870 8502233.