Finding a niche market can be the key to business success, and for one Wolverhampton based company, the market for its greetings cards was one that was surprisingly free from competition.
The Afro Card Company provides greeting cards for the UK's African and Afro-Caribbean population.
Frederick Wisdom, managing director, started the company after being disappointed at the lack of choice for cards relevant to the African and Afro-Caribbean community in this country.
He said: "The Afro greeting card industry is still very much unchartered territory in the UK and one thing that struck me when looking around was where do Africans or Afro-Caribbeans buy greeting cards?
"That's where The Afro Card Company comes in. We want to give people what they want.
"We feel it is our duty to penetrate the mainstream market by offering products that are fashionable, unique and that reflect the personality, taste, lifestyle and diversity of the African Caribbean community."
Mr Wisdom, a classically trained musician and artist, approached Business Link Black Country with samples of his cards.
He was advised to take a stand at the NEC's Spring Fair. The event was such a success Mr Wisdom decided to launch his business.
The company has since gone on to win both the International Trade category and the overall Business of the Year 2006 titles at the African Caribbean Business Federation (ACBF) awards in October.
Dennis Christie, ACBF business manager at Business Link Black Country, said: "I first met Fred through the UK Trade & Investment's Passport to Export scheme when he was beginning to branch out into international markets. Because of his success in this area he was then put forward for the International Trade category in the ACBF awards.
"After winning that, his great drive and entrepreneurial spirit led to his company being awarded the overall Business of the Year title.
"Everyone who has worked with Fred is proud of what he has achieved and of the support we have been able to provide him."
The Afro Card Company is supplying markets as diverse as Holland, Spain and South Africa. Mr Wisdom said his priority was now to establish UK-wide distribution of his cards.
He said: "Black and minority ethnic people in the UK represent a significant cultural consumer force and it is our aim to fill this niche in the UK market and meet the needs of the growing African Caribbean community by securing mainstream outlets."