LittlePod was launched in a May 2010, inspired by founder Janet Sawyer’s desire to encourage people to use real vanilla when cooking.
With a product range in place Janet attended trade shows across the country and quickly built up a loyal customer base of farm shops and delis as well as local chefs and restaurants.
It was at a trade show that Janet was approached by the first of many international buyers keen to distribute her products overseas. Janet said:
“It was never our intention to export, but the reaction we received from overseas buyers led us to re-think our strategy and embrace the opportunities to take our products to a much wider audience.”
With a growing international customer base Janet realised she needed some additional support and so she attended a Department for International Trade event for new exporters.
Since then she has worked with a number of local international trade experts to create an export strategy that has taken the LittlePod story and its products all over the world.
“The most important thing we realised was that we didn’t have to do it all by ourselves! As a small company it can rather overwhelming dealing with the many rules and regulations around exporting food products but we soon realised that there is a great deal of support out there for new and first time exporters. We’ve been given help and guidance every step of the way.
“We’ve found Meet the Buyer events particularly helpful and have also made use of the various tools on offer to research particular markets.”
Today LittlePod employs 13 people at its HQ in Farringdon and offers a wide range of products from vanilla pods, paste and extract, to vanilla beer and even a vanilla recipe book. Their newest product is a vanilla beer ice cream which has already generated interest from the UK and beyond.
LittlePod currently exports its products to 15 countries with ambitions to take its range, and the LittlePod story to many more. Janet continues:
“Exporting our products hasn’t just boosted our sales it’s given us with the scope and confidence to develop our product range and provided us with a platform to tell the story of real vanilla.”