Myleene Klass: ‘Don’t underestimate power of British brands’

Myleene Klass
Myleene Klass
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Myleene Klass has urged businesses to embrace exporting to capitalise on the reputation of British brands.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post ahead of the Santander SME Breakthrough Summit, Ms Klass said businesses “cannot underestimate” the power of the British brand.

In addition to her career as a musician, model and reality TV star, Ms Klass is the founder of children’s clothing brand BabyK.

Since launching the line in partnership with Mothercare seven years ago, BabyK has expanded to more than 32 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Australia.

Ms Klass said: “The power of export and the power of getting the British name out there is so important.

“You cannot underestimate the power of British made.”

Ms Klass said BabyK’s international “is not something to be taken for granted”.

“It’s not that they take you from one place to another because you’re affiliated with Mothercare,” she said.

“I have to do the franchise meetings, I have to have an understanding of what the UAE might want over Russia, what Russia are going to need over Australia.

“Everyone has different seasons, so that brings its own challenges. There are certain colours, there are certain characters you’re not allowed to use. You become very culturally aware.

“There’s also not a single festival I don’t know about if I think it’s going to affect one of my freights coming over.”

According to figures from HM Revenue and Customs, the year to December saw export values fall for businesses in all UK regions except the North East, South West and West Midlands.

Ms Klass said small businesses must be able to access the right people and the right information to expand globally, as a wider range of people look to set up their own ventures.

“A lot of these start-up businesses are mums just like myself sitting around the kitchen table changing the world while they’re putting the eggs on,” she said.

“The world of business has changed completely. You’ve got young kids, 17-year-olds, who are now multimillionaires because they sat in their bedroom and created an app that everybody wanted.

“The world of business is completely changing and the challenges it’s bringing are incredibly exciting because the business man or woman has got a different face.”

Businesses need “as much help as they can get” to get exporting.Ms Klass said. Currently, some may be “unnecessarily hindering” opportunities abroad.

Research from Santander found six per cent of business owners aim to trade internationally, up from three per cent the previous year.

However, the survey also found 22 per cent of businesses looking to expand globally do not have a website, while 57 per cent do not have the ability to take online payments.

The bank is launching a package of advice and support for small businesses looking to grow internationally.

It aims to help 5,000 more businesses to enter international markets in 2015.