Luxury cutlery firm Arthur Price is carving out a slice of the chopsticks market – with lucrative orders in the likes of Mongolia, Singapore and other Far East countries.
The Lichfield company, which was founded in 1902, is cutting a distinctive path into the Orient's centuries-old chopsticks tradition with a batch of orders for its home-grown UK cutlery products.
The chopsticks challenge followed highly successful stands at the NEC Spring Fair and Frankfurt's Ambiente trade show, picking up a string of new orders from Mongolia, Finland, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria and Iceland.
The most exotic order from a total of £500,000 of new exports for the firm was for £20,000 worth of Arthur Price goods from the Khanburgedie department store in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator, which stocks everything from Boss to Barbour.
Simon Price, Arthur Price chief executive, said: "This is a case of British products going over to Mongolia. The order came from a nice department store over there, where they sell cutlery and giftware.
"The two shows together were the most successful we have ever done and we are looking at a number of new relationships, such as Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.
"These countries do not traditionally use cutlery, they use chopsticks.
"But we are looking to fly the British flag. Europe can sometimes be a bit of a struggle because they have really strong national businesses. They are much more nationalised in Europe than we are."
Mr Price said the firm's cutlery was also growing in popularity in the Middle East, including Lebanon, Jordan, Qatar and Bahrain.
"I have just sent two sets out to the Middle East. Ten years ago, apart from one or two countries, we were dealing with one-hit wonders," he added.
"Now we are approaching 20 per cent of our turnover through exports. We are exporting to 40 to 50 countries, and we have almost doubled exports in two years."
He added: "People look up to Britain and trust quality products. They like the Sheffield silver plate, the traditional products.
"The Arthur Price brand helps and the fact that we are a family-owned company. It is surprising how many people like that because it does bring trust.
"I don't have a team of eight people running around to go on trade missions but we have a team of people who do everything (with exports). You can make decisions quickly, you can change direction."
The company, which over its long history has supplied the Titanic through to David Beckham’s wedding, also exports to shops and restaurants across Russia.
The £8 million turnover company supports 160 jobs, with outlets in Lichfield, Birmingham and Sheffield.