British manufacturer Frog Bikes is ramping up production and creating new jobs to meet soaring global demand.

The family-owned firm, whose customers include the British royal family, is expanding production following a strong year of international orders.

Established in 2013 by husband and wife team Jerry and Shelley Lawson after they struggled to find suitable bikes for their children, Frog Bikes originally planned to focus solely on trade within the UK, but immediate overseas interest saw the company start exporting.

The bikes used to be assembled in China using components from around the world, however, following the lead of other manufacturers in moving the bulk of their production back to the UK to get better control over lead times and quality, the Pontypool-based company is now reaping the benefits.

Today, the factory in Wales produces around 300 bikes a day, facilitated by 54 employees and a further 35 staff members in an office in Ascot. All bikes are now designed and built in Great Britain and exported to over 50 countries.

Exports now account for 55% of the Frogs Bikes business and more than half of turnover. The British company currently has around 1,800 retailers worldwide, including in America, Australia Canada, China, New Zealand and a number of European nations.

During the pandemic, Frog Bikes has also seen international demand for its products skyrocket, with pipeline sales for the next year more than double current figures so it is now looking to recruit additional staff, including 15 factory workers and five to ten international reps, to enable it to ramp up production and keep up with the increased demand.

Jerry Lawson, Director and Co-Founder at Frog Bikes, says:

“Exporting is a fundamental part of our business and has played a key role in our growth over the last few years. The global market for children’s bikes is huge and offers plenty of opportunities for us, which is why we are looking to place even more of a drive on the international side of our business going forward.

“France, Germany and the USA are particularly exciting markets for us as they are some of the largest in our sector. The children’s bike industry in the USA for example, sells three million kids’ bikes a year, compared to three quarters of a million in the UK, so focusing on these regions will help us continue to grow.”

Speaking about the company’s export journey, Jerry adds:

“Opening our factory in Pontypool was a defining moment for us as it enabled us to be more responsive to the international market and have greater control over the quality of our products, so we are grateful the Welsh Government helped us with this venture.

“Since setting up our manufacturing headquarters in Wales five years ago, we have received a range of support from the Welsh Government through Business Wales, including financial aid to ensure our presence at major international trade shows, grants to recruit more staff, and help identifying potential contacts in new territories, which is really important for us.

“Over the last few years we have attended trade trips funded by the Welsh Government including Sweden, Denmark and Norway all in the same week. Part of our model relies on trusting our resellers and partners to promote our products so it’s essential for us to travel overseas and build relationships with them, as well as to get expert knowledge on their suitability.”

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