Stanningley flat cap designer joins export network to grow overseas sales

6 March 2019

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Exclusive hat designer Kempadoo Millar has become the 100th business to sign up to an overseas trade network for Leeds City Region businesses.

The Stanningley-based headwear firm, whose customers include Prince Charles, Idris Elba and champion boxer Anthony Joshua, currently exports to 28 countries and overseas trade makes up 20% of total sales.

It has joined the ExportExchange network in a bid to boost overseas connections and sales.

Hainsworth Stanningley

Historic: AW Hainsworth at Stanningley bottom. Photo: Chris Allen Used under CC Licence

Based at the historic AW Hainsworth woollen mill at Stanningley Bottom, the business, which was set up in 2013 by designer Rhian Kempadoo Millar, specialises in designing and manufacturing unique flat caps and baker boys, created from traditional Yorkshire tweeds but with a modern twist.

Ms Kempadoo Millar said:

“We’ve certainly learnt a lot along the way about overseas sales and we’re excited to be part of ExportExchange because it will enable us to receive first-hand advice and support from businesses that have so much more experience of successful exporting than we currently do.

“We have been developing our export strategy for five years now and it’s an area where we see huge potential for growth. We’ve had particular success in the US, which is now our largest overseas market.”

Last summer Kempadoo Millar was commissioned by a US TV sports channel to create a custom-made flat cap for Anthony Joshua before his fight with Alexander Povetkin, which has helped to boost the brand’s presence in the States.

She added:

“We are hoping to exhibit our hats at an international luxury menswear trade show in Italy in June. There is undoubtedly a demand worldwide for quality British-made headwear and we are excited to be part of the Yorkshire textile industry’s resurgence.”

The ExportExchange programme, which is backed by the European Regional Development Fund, matches fledgling exporters with firms from the Leeds City Region that are selling successfully overseas and can offer free personal advice on all aspects of exporting.

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