That was the message at a high-level meeting between the company and the UK government’s Department for International Trade (DIT).
Gillian McLean, Managing Director of Ulster Weavers, met with DIT director Rupert Daniels - who is responsible for helping UK organisations grow globally by developing their exports - at Ulster Weavers’ Northern Ireland headquarters when she outlined the historic company’s strategy to increase its sales by 100% over the next three years.
Established in 1880, Ulster Weavers is a home textiles company producing a range of homeware and textiles for international markets. It works with prestigious clients across the world, designing and manufacturing customised private label and Ulster Weavers’ branded products.
At the centre of the company’s business strategy is sustainability so that it can ensure it is minimising, eliminating, or off setting its environmental impact as it grows. It has therefore aligned its strategy with UN Sustainable Development Goals 9, 11,12 and 14.
A key component of the plan to grow sustainably is ‘onshoring’ more manufacturing, with the goal of making approximately three quarters of the company’s new retail products in Northern Ireland. Ulster Weavers also intends to become a mainstream home textile business, adding a wide range of home furnishing items to its product offering.
Gillian McLean said that these are exciting plans that will increase its sales significantly and add to the company’s local workforce.
“Ulster Weavers is one of Northern Ireland’s longest established businesses and a global brand with customers on six continents. Our goal is to ensure that every household in the world has at least one Ulster Weavers product and we are repositioning the company to achieve that objective in a sustainable way. This means a new strategy, new products, new customers, and a commitment to ongoing innovation. It also means that we will increase our team here in Northern Ireland. We were really pleased to have the opportunity to outline our strategy to Rupert Daniels and to have the support of both DIT and Invest NI to implement our ambitious plans to grow significantly,” she added.
Ulster Weavers currently employs around 40 people in Northern Ireland and is headquartered at Lissue Industrial Estate in Lisburn.
As Director, Services, Exports & UK Trade, Digital, Education, Creative, Consumer & Sports at DIT, Rupert Daniels is responsible for helping UK organisations grow globally by developing their exports and attracting inward investment.
His portfolio covers diverse sectors from sports, film, and television, to music, gaming, fashion, and education. He works with teams across Government and the international network to promote international trade, drive export growth and secure investment in UK companies from overseas.